AT THE TOP?
From the Desk of the President
It’s the People!
As you will see in this quarter’s issue of the Pinnacle, the tradeshow and events industry is truly back on firm footing with major events occurring in all of our venues coast to coast. And even beyond the west coast to Hawaii!
When the year kicked off back in January, we were cautiously optimistic that 2022 would be a return to some version of normal, despite omicron variant fears that were swirling about in those early months. Fortunately, our industry, venues, and the events themselves, took a measured and safe approach to reopening and now we are realizing the benefits of those efforts.
This issue highlights a wide range of different events, from the iconic Comic Con in San Diego to the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City to all the prep that is currently being done at the Phoenix Convention Center to get ready for the 2023 Super Bowl. These events may vary in content, but the common theme is our stellar teams both onsite and at corporate who have really stepped up to deliver excellent service across the board.
So, in this issue, we want to highlight the work of our people and the accomplishments and milestones of many of our team members. This includes Tommie Beltz and Antoinette Ibarra, our 2 new general managers in St. Louis and Kansas City respectively. We celebrate significant work anniversaries including Julia Slocombe at 25 years and Tina Shields at 18 years. We welcome a new crop of talented new hires after diligently working this quarter to fill available positions. And we shine a special spotlight on Kevin Patch, our General Manager in Anaheim, who was named Man of the Year by the Anaheim YMCA for his work throughout the Orange County community. All that and so much more can be found in this issue.
As mentioned above, one of our core business principles is ‘It’s the People,’ meaning we have great people who want to do well, who are capable of doing great things, and who come to work fired up to achieve them. I think this issue really reflects that ideal and shows that at its core, Smart City is filled with amazing, wonderful, talented individuals who will continue to take us to the very top!Sincerely, Mark Haley
It’s the people...
It’s the People. We have great people who want to do well, who are capable of doing great things, and who come to work fired up to achieve them. Great people flourish in an environment that liberates and amplifies their energy. It’s the People. We have great people who want to do well, who are capable of doing great things, and who come to work fired up to achieve them. Great people flourish in an environment that liberates and amplifies their energy. It’s the People. We have great people who want to do well, who are capable of doing great things, and who come to work fired up to achieve them. Great people flourish in an environment that liberates and amplifies their energy. It’s the People. We have great people who want to do well, who are capable of doing great things, and who come to work fired up to achieve them. Great people flourish in an environment that liberates and amplifies their energy.. It’s the People. We have great people
SMART CITY CELEBRATES NEW GENERAL MANAGERS
This past quarter, two members of the Smart City family were promoted to General Manager positions in key locations across the United States. Thomas (Tommie) Beltz and Antoinette Ibarra have both done a stellar job in their Smart City careers and their hard work and leadership abilities made their promotion a smart choice. Tommie is now the General Manager at the America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis, Missouri and Antoinette is now the General Manager at the Kansas City Convention Center (KCCC).
Antoinette started relatively recently at Smart City Networks. She was hired as the Event Coordinator at the KCCC in 2021 where she quickly proved herself a valuable asset in the center’s success. She was a key figure in helping the convention center continue to grow during the pandemic and we are all confident that she will lead the KCCC to even greater heights in the future.
City Convention Center
Tommie on the other hand has been a respected member of the Smart City family since 2010, where he started as a Customer Service Representative at the Las Vegas Convention Center. In 2016, Tommie made the move from Las Vegas to Denver Colorado, where he took on the role of Customer Sales and Service Manager for the Colorado Convention Center (CCC).
In his six years in Denver, Tommie was an important figure in shaping the CCC’s customer service team. He established countless connections with people in the building, new clients, and the city itself. Overall, he will be missed. Taking on a new role in St. Louis is a big step, but we know that Tommie is the right person, and he will bring the same level of commitment and passion that he has always shown in his Smart City career.
Congratulations to our new General Managers!
THOMAS (TOMMIE) BELTZ
Smart City Networks would like to congratulate our cybersecurity warriors! We operate in an increasingly dangerous digital world. Cybersecurity threats can come from everywhere, so it is important for all our employees to undergo proper training to be better prepared against certain cyberattacks. Once a quarter, we hold a raffle for those who pass our cybersecurity tests and a winner from each region is chosen. We would like to give a special shoutout to Crystal Daniels, Bill Duke, Mitchell Hughes, and Michael Hertweck for being the big winners this quarter! Thanks to our winners and all of our employees for staying vigilant against potential threats!
SANTA CLARA CONVENTION CENTER
Smart City would like to congratulate Naveen Ayyappan, a Technician II at the Santa Clara Convention Center for passing the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) exam. We are so proud of this accomplishment and the dedication to achieving it.
Santa Clara Convention Center
KANSAS CITY CONVENTION CENTER
At Kansas City Convention Center, our employees continue to reach exciting new heights! We are thrilled to announce our Technician I, Andrew McCoy, has been accepted into VET TEC. The program matches eligible participants with a military background to a leading training provider to develop skills. Andrew served in the Navy for 4 years as an Information Systems Technician, and after his application and interview process, he was granted acceptance into the program. Andrew will complete a 3-month course through the United Training Academy where he will gain both his CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certifications. Congratulations Andrew!
ESTABLISHING A GOOD RAPPORT
We would like to congratulate Enric Escuer, Alexis Mayfield, and Christopher Clark, our newest Rapport Leadership Breakthrough One (LB1) graduates.
Beach Convention Center
TAMPA CONVENTION CENTER
Madison Grimes has been with Smart City since April of 2017 and has recently celebrated her 5-year anniversary. In that time, she very quickly became an integral part of the Smart City and Tampa Convention Center (TCC) fabric as she fell in love with the industry. Throughout her time with Smart City, she has had the opportunity to grow and develop new skills as she traveled to different facilities and interacted with other Smart City employees. When the TCC was hit by the pandemic, Madison unfortunately was unable to continue working in the center, but she used that time off to focus on her hobbies, including photography, camping and other outdoor activities.
As soon as business returned, Madison returned much to everyone’s joy. She has had a positive influence on her Smart City team and the TCC, so we cannot wait to see where her career goes next. She has already continued to expand her horizons. In Q3, Madison was promoted to Event Coordinator, a goal she has been striving for since her early days with Smart City. Everyone at Smart City would like to congratulate Madison on her promotion and to thank her for all her contributions to the Tampa team and the Smart City family.
MADISON GRIMES Tampa Convention Center
Jennifer (Jen) Way is celebrating her new role at Smart City Networks as the Director of Products and Services. With her promotion, Jen is focused on new product development and updated global technology initiatives, both of which are geared toward enhancing the customer experience. Field Efficiency is essential to Jen, and she has already taken strides to provide new tools and resources to help the field immensely. She has increased the speeds on Exhibitor Internet, Standard Wireless Hotspots, and our Standard Wireless Buyouts, she has worked with our dev team to create an application that streamlines the management of wireless accounts and data analytics, and she has helped deploy innovative new portal splash pages for Complimentary and Exhibitor Internet.
JENNIFER (JEN) WAY
Smart City Networks
In her new position, Jen is responsible for all system testing of new enhancements before field implementation. This requires collaboration with all areas of Smart City’s leadership to ensure everything runs smoothly. That means working closely with the Quality Assurance and Finance departments to better drive new product development paired with the appropriate pricing strategies. All these improvements help Smart City Networks remain a leading voice in the telecommunications industry.
COLORADO CONVENTION CENTER
“I worked with Tori Hatton at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. She was great to work with. She was very professional and handled my needs and requests very quickly. I look forward to working with her again in the future.”
AREMA 2022 Annual Conference & ExpoSkip Gmeiner – Director of IT Services Colorado Convention Center
HENRY B. GONZALEZ CONVENTION CENTER
“Good morning, Robert and thank you for this thorough analysis. If only we received this information in every city! The data below is a great tool, and something we will be using again in 2024. Keith, as always, thank you for all the assistance you, Liliya and Alex provide on-site. By all accounts, the 2022 Inspection and Mechanical Integrity Summit was a HUGE success!”
2022 API Inspection and Mechanical Integrity Summit Camille Stern-Senior Director of Meetings & Events Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
SAFE CREDIT UNION CONVENTION CENTER
“Jalen really came through for our group on the day of the event. When we were discussing terms ahead of the event, I wasn’t sure if what I had ordered would be correct for our needs, but Jalen assured me that come event-day everything would be good. Sure enough, even when speeds weren’t meeting our needs and other issues started arising, Jalen stepped up to make sure our customers had a flawless experience with our technology. THANK YOU, JALEN!”
Slakey Plumbing Contractor Meeting 2022
Trevor Silva - Digital Marketing Specialist
SAFE Credit Union Convention Center
MINNEAPOLIS CONVENTION CENTER
“Tim Taylor and Brian Clear had great communication with our team. I knew exactly what I was signing up for and how to reach them with any questions.”
2022 Conventional Expo
Sarah Donnelly – Senior Events Manager
Minneapolis Convention Center
ORANGE COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER
“Dear Mr. David Ingram,
On behalf of the HFTP, Producers of HITEC, I would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to you and the staff at the Orange County Convention Center for helping make HITEC in Orlando a tremendous success this year. For the past two years, Smart City has performed very well for our HITEC event. Our 2021 event in Dallas set a new bar, and the Smart City team in Orlando for 2022 met and exceeded that bar. This also makes the second year in a row that I have not received one known onsite complaint from an exhibiting company, and for that reason, I am very grateful.
I had the pleasure of working with both Jennifer Mezquita and Mark Thompson at the Smart City Networks office. They were truly knowledgeable and extremely professional. The whole Smart City team was very helpful throughout our time at the Orange County Convention Center. And the data usage reports provided post-show will be an invaluable asset in planning our future events.
Thank you again for going above and beyond for our show. The effort that was put in, aided in a smooth-running event. We want to thank you for the constant dedication to this event. We appreciate the diligence, prompt service in last minute needs, monitoring the network utilization, etc. We look forward to collaborating with you again soon. Thank you!”
Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference
Bryan Wood – Chief Learning and Events Officer
Orange County Convention Center
JENNIFER (JENNY) MEZQUITA
Orange County Convention Center
Pictured with Bryan Wood (R)
Sr. VP Operations & Industry Relations
SMART CITY SPOTLIGHT
Smart City’s Senior Vice President of Operations & Industry Relations Julia Slocombe recently celebrated an incredible milestone. She has been with Smart City Networks for 25 years and in that time has established herself as a major player in the industry. We took a moment to catch up with her and asked her to reflect on her time with the company. She is an inspirational leader in both her personal and professional life.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO CELEBRATE 25 YEARS WITH SMART CITY?
J: It’s been great seeing the company grow all these years. We’ve changed a lot and gone through some major growth spurts, and it’s been a truly amazing experience to witness that evolution over time.
WHAT WERE YOUR BEGINNINGS AT SMART CITY LIKE?
J: Initially, I was nervous because it was so different for me working in the convention center industry since I came from a different background. But I remember my boss at the time sat me down and reassured me by saying “I didn’t hire you to have any technical skills, I hired you because you had service in your background and a lot of those skills are transferable. So relax, you got this.” And he was right!
HOW DID YOUR POSITION GROW AT THE COMPANY?
J: I just started learning as much I could, absorbing as much information as possible. I walked into a switch room one day with the technicians and they looked at me like “what’s this lady doing in the switch room? She’s supposed to be in the office taking the orders!” But I said nope! I want to learn how to program the phones and that’s how I cut my teeth. And then I said look, I need to have additional technical knowledge, so I went to every class that was offered. I was learning, I was productive and I’m here 25 years later. Who would have thought? And I can still install a line if I need to!
RECENTLY YOU HAVE TRANSITIONED INTO A NEW ROLE AS SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS & INDUSTRY RELATIONS. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH?
J: Oh, so much. We’ve come a long way in this company and always want to reach that next level. I think with all my years of experience, there’s a lot of contributions I can make to grow our
company and grow our visibility as an industry leader. I’m hoping to ensure we’re on as many panels as possible, that we’re seen as the subject matter experts in our field and that we’re the go-to company for telecommunications services. We are the #1 company that does what we do, and I want to showcase that. So yes, I’m looking forward to what’s coming.
WITH ALL YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO NEW EMPLOYEES WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT AT SMART CITY?
J: Be a sponge and spend time with your coworkers, whether that’s on-site, through Teams, on the phone, anything. In my early days, my coworkers were all at other centers, so I was forced to reach out by phone to ask questions. Keith McNeely, Bob Sutton, and David Langford were all there to help and we paved the way for strong working relationships today. So always ask questions and learn as much as possible.
Tina Shields recently celebrated 18 years with Smart City Networks. She is the company’s Circuit Analyst, a key figure in bridging communication between our corporate offices and our centers. Our company deals with both data and voice circuits and Tina’s responsible for keeping everything organized in terms of orders, disconnects and overall bill payments. We took time to meet with Tina and asked her to discuss her Smart City history.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO CELEBRATE 18 YEARS WITH SMART CITY?
T: It has been a great 18 years. It’s a wonderful company. They’ve been very supportive, not just with my career here but also outside of work. They’ve been very encouraging during my time here.
WHAT WERE YOUR BEGINNINGS AT SMART CITY LIKE?
T: I actually came from managing doctor’s offices, but soon got fed up with doctors! So I came here, and started in customer service. I just wanted something where I was answering phones, no pressure, keeping it low key, that kind of thing. And then they created this position. Prior to me doing it, each center was ordering their own stuff and we were paying for it here at the corporate level, but nobody knew if they matched up. That meant we could have circuits that we were paying for that we weren’t utilizing. So it was kind of a mess and there was no real order to it. When I took over the position, I created an inventory, we got rid of services we didn’t need, and overall, we just put some structure to everything.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO NEW EMPLOYEES WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT AT SMART CITY?
T: You know, just stick with it. Like I said this is a great company and they are very supportive. There are days, especially when you first start, you go “What am I doing?” But each day you get more and more into it, and you’ll continue to learn new information and new skills as your career progresses.TINA SHIELDS Circuits Analyst
Teams Work. Teamwork means focusing on the team’s success, realizing ultimately that the teams success if you success. It also means that you succeed by helping other members of the team to succeed. Teams Work. Teamwork means focusing on the team’s success, realizing ultimately that the teams success if you success. It also means that you succeed by helping other members of the team to succeed. Teams Work. Teamwork means focusing on the team’s success, realizing ultimately that the teams success if you success. It also means that you succeed by helping other members of the team to succeed. Teams Work. Teamwork means focusing on the team’s success, realizing ultimately that the teams success if you success. It also means that you succeed by helping other members of the team to succeed. Teams Work. Teamwork means focusing on the team’s success, realizing ultimately that the teams success if you success. It also means that you succeed by helping other members of the team to succeed.
ANIME EXPO MAKES TRIUMPHANT RETURN TO LOS ANGELES
After two years of absence because of the pandemic, the Los Angeles’ Anime Expo made its much-anticipated return to the Los Angeles Convention Center. More than 100,000 fans from over 70 countries gathered to geek out over anime, video games, merchandise, and just overall celebrate Japanese culture. The continued popularity even after the pandemic is a statement on the resilience of Japan’s cultural influence in the United States, and its ultimate impact on the West. Thanks to passionate fan engagement, the event saw record-breaking numbers for 2022. Over the course of the four-day event, the expo reached overcapacity, with the Fire Marshall having to deny entrance on the first day due to the number of attendees
When situations like this arise, it is important for the infrastructure to be in place to accommodate the needs and demands of such a popular event, and Smart City Networks remained on standby to deliver exceptional customer service to make sure everything went off without a hitch.
The Expo itself was jam-packed with exciting content for attendees. Over 30 exclusive world/North American premieres and over 250 industry panels, special performances, concerts, celebrations and so much more were all available to deliver an ultimately unforgettable fan experience. The Anime Expo is a yearly event and will return to the Los Angeles Convention Center in 2023 with hopefully even bigger numbers than before.
THE SAN DIEGO COMIC CON ASSEMBLES!
The San Diego Comic Con has cemented itself as the biggest pop culture event of the year. It is a world-wide cultural phenomenon and the event transformed downtown San Diego into something magical and incredibly nerdy (In a good way!). Comic book superfans, cosplayers, and a whole range of celebrities got to interact and share their love of comic book culture with one another during an unforgettable four-day experience. No corner of geek fandom was left unexplored in this celebratory extravaganza!
Amidst all the iconic Hall-H panels, the themed parties, and incredible displays, it is the San Diego Convention Center that deserves a special shout out for its role in housing such an important event. At its peak, the convention often attracts over 130,000 attendees, and while some may have wondered how the San Diego Comic Con would bounce back after a two-year pause due to the pandemic, it is clear that the team at the city’s convention center continues to adapt to modern times and supply signature, unparalleled service to ensure attendees had the most memorable Comic Con of their lives!
WI-FI FOR SCI-FI AT MIAMI BEACH
One of the largest fan expos on the east coast made its return this summer at the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC). Florida Supercon 2022 saw Sail Stormers, Ninjas, Trekkies and so many more descend upon Miami to celebrate their favorite fandoms. The hotly anticipated 3-day event saw major attendance this year, with numbers doubling from 2021 as fans flocked to different panels, events, and special presentations to learn more about comic books, anime, animation, video games, fantasy and sci-fi.
Such an important event required extra attention from Smart City Networks. Our teams worked diligently throughout the day and afterhours to meet Supercon’s super needs. With exhibit halls open all day and a wide variety of booths and displays like Photo ops, DJ booths, Dance floors, specialty car events, a tattoo pavilion, escape rooms and even a robot arena, Smart City had to make sure everything was running smoothly to ensure the ultimate fan experience.
But the partying did not stop there! Supercon After Dark catered to adult themed topics of discussion and activities like Late Night Karaoke and Pride Lounge among other things. It operated at different hours, starting at 6pm and lasting until midnight. That meant Smart City Networks had to kick things into overdrive to supply around the clock service and it was an opportunity to show off exactly what we could do.
As the MBCC wraps on 2022, we notice that specialty expos and tech-events like Supercon are on the rise and we look forward to meeting the challenge for whatever comes next. With the Metaverse, NFTs and VR popularity continuing to grow in numbers, Smart City Networks continues to expand its services to accommodate.
THE NATIONAL IS A HOME RUN FOR ATLANTIC CITY
Since 1980, The National Sports Collectors Convention (or The National for short) has been one of the premier expos for anyone in the collectibles industry to showcase one-of-a-kind trading cards, specialty autographs and other related sports memorabilia. It is one of the largest events of its kind and moves around the United States every year, bringing joy to sports fans everywhere. The Atlantic City Convention Center was honored to host this year’s convention, having previously hosted the event back in 2016, and looking at attendance, it is clear that this popular gathering only continues to grow over time.
Over 55,000 were in attendance, a stellar number that reflects the largest crowd since the 1991 convention. It was overall the largest event the show has ever done. The National is a show that benefits from the ever-increasing advancement of technology and this year saw the live streaming of packs of collectible cards being opened on camera, which connected fans from all over the world. An event like this needs advanced technological services and it is why Smart City Networks was the perfect partner for such an event. For Smart City, we sold 4x the services than we did in 2016 and among other things provided more ethernet lines than almost any other event in the center’s history.
The National is a rotating event so over the next few years it will visit Chicago and Cleveland, but when it is ready to come back to Atlantic City, the convention center and Smart City Networks will be ready.
THE REAL MAGIC: BEHIND THE SCENES AT D23
I am Jacoby Bancroft. I work in the Marketing Department and as a relatively new hire, I was grateful for the opportunity to travel to the Anaheim Convention Center (ACC) to see firsthand how Smart City Networks works with show management to put on such a massive event like D23. I will admit, I was a little nervous and did not quite know what to expect. But seeing our team in the days leading up to an event and watching a show move-in was an incredible experience that gave me an entirely new perspective regarding company.
Early on, I met with Kevin Patch, the General Manager for Smart City at the ACC and for three days I got to see him and his team in action as they prepared for what would be the biggest show the convention center would see this year. I had a few goals while attending the expo. On a professional level, I wanted to get a sense of the relationship between Smart City and Show Management and how the two work together to better serve those in attendance. On a personal level, I wanted to meet a Marvel Cinematic Universe actor. And while I did not cross paths with Paul Rudd or Charlie Cox, I did accomplish my professional goal and it was an eyeopening experience.
For the first two days, I was a fly on the wall, following Kevin around while he handled various tasks that arose during the move in. We would zip around from location to location, checking on wire placement, drop points and internet connections. Kevin’s background as a technician gave him the knowledge of what needed to be done and how to accomplish it. It was fascinating watching him work. Kevin exemplifies Smart City ideals. He does not just talk about leadership, he shows it. He is in the trenches with his team and knows immediately how to solve any potential problem. His team in place at the convention center deserves special recognition as well. They were diligent and ready to jump from one installation to another to get everything ready on time.
All that is only half the job. At Smart City, our commitment is to make sure the clients, like Disney, are taken care of and all their needs are met so their show runs smoothly and efficiently. That includes adapting on the fly and always being flexible. Kevin continually analyzed data usage levels for the client and made recommendations to services that would result in a better D23 experience. It is a snapshot of how our on-site teams go that extra mile to ensure the best event for our clients.
Finally, it was show time. And having been there through the setup, the actual show offered another unique experience. As I walked through the crowded exhibit halls, watching excited attendees buy merchandise, take pictures, enjoy celebrity panels, I was struck with the thought of how attendees never knew how much work it took to make it all happen. Nobody thinks about the wiring that runs underneath the carpet. Nobody notices the access points that provide internet connection. And if Smart City has done their job correctly, then no attendee ever will. It really brings into perspective the work we do and how we know we are operating at our best level when nobody knows who we are.
And that leads into my final takeaway from this event. It is easy to get swept up in the spectacle of the show, but I had to learn to not get too attached. D23 was one of the most successful events of the year, but by weekend’s end, the show had wrapped, and the convention center had to quickly pivot to the next show. We give it our all for every show, and then quickly move on to the next one as soon as it is over. I am very grateful for the opportunity to travel to Anaheim for D23 and would like to thank Kevin and his entire team for letting me be a part of such an incredible event!
OTAKON’S RECORD-BREAKING ATTENDANCE IN D.C.
OTAKON at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. exceeded all expectations and delivered not only one of 2022’s largest events for the center, but one of the biggest events in its history. OTAKON is an annual anime event celebrating mainly East Asian pop culture. It results in thousands of fans flocking to the center every year. It stands for Otaku Convention and it is a wonderful blend of anime, manga, music, and film. This year’s OTAKON surpassed anything the convention center could ever imagine. Realistically, their goal was to reach 30,000 attendees. However, the final attendee count was closer to 40,000! Fans lined up around the convention center three times over just for the chance to get in. This year’s attendance smashed the previous record for OTAKON, was set in 2013 at approximately 34,000 attendees.
Originally, OTAKON was held at the Baltimore Convention Center, but it moved to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in 2017 to better handle the rapid expansion the event was foreseeing and now as we move out of the pandemic, the event is only forecasted to continue to grow over the coming years.
Of course, it takes a talented team to bring events like this to life and on top of our incredible Smart City Networks staff in place at the center, a special thanks should be given to Walter E. Washington’s amazing team for coming together to pull off this year’s OTAKON. Obviously, the content is what draws people to this type of event, but once people are in the door, it is important that everything works efficiently and effectively. It is why Smart City is proud to have offered telecommunications services that included 30 Mb bandwidth wired services for the event’s registration and meeting rooms, on top of wireless services for all their staff.
NRG STADIUM KICKS OFF ANOTHER YEAR OF TEXAN FOOTBALL
The Houston Texans take the field once more! The NFL season has officially kicked off, which means another year of nervous nailbiting and finger-crossing as sports fans flock to NRG Stadium to support their favorite team. There is a deep connection between Texans and football, and Smart City is honored to be part of that history.
We supply services to NRG Stadium, making sure everything is ready for game day. The majority of audiences do not know the amount of work our technicians put in to delivering quality service on a weekly basis. Our on-site support team is available around the clock and put in the time to make sure everything is ready to go. It is a testament to our commitment to service and we look forward to cheering on our Houston Texans this year with the rest of the city’s fans.
HORTICULTURE EVENT GROWS IN COLUMBUS
AmericanHort, the national association for the horticulture industry, returned in 2022 with their signature event, Cultivate ’22, hosted by the Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC). This was their first full event since the start of the pandemic and the leaves have certainly resprouted once more! This year’s event brought in over 650 exhibitors and welcomed international guests from around the world. The overall event proved why it is one of the premier events in the horticulture industry.
Over 140 educational sessions, hands-on workshops, and tours of some of the local gardens in Columbus were all highlighted over the course of the event, with one of the main attractions being a tour of the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The Conservatory is located approximately 2 miles east of downtown Columbus and sits on close to 13 acres of the larger Franklin Park. Attendees were able to observe a large variety of exotic plants, seasonal exhibits, and outdoor gardens.
In addition to all the exhibitor and attendees that arrived to help make the show a success, AmericanHort also turned the entire convention center into a greenhouse experience! The GCCC was decorated with thousands of plants. At the end of the show, AmericanHort generously donated most of those plants to local non-profit groups including Habitat for Humanity, the Franklin Park Conservatory, and the city of Columbus to just name a few. These plants are used for fundraising and beautification projects in the Columbus area.
Columbus has always been a beautiful city and its proud to welcome such events like Cultivate ’22 that emphasis the importance of greener future. The seeds for next year have already been planted and the GCCC looks forward to the event returning in 2023.
ARE WE READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL??
Time to start preparing for the biggest sporting event of the year. It is the culmination of a hard-fought season leading to the ultimate trophy and a cherished, expensive ring. Every year, over 100 million people tune in to watch the Big Game and see the two best teams in the league go head-to-head, which means its venue must be spectacular. In 2023, football’s biggest night will be held at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona and preparations are already underway to make this the best one yet. The Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee is the group responsible for getting the city ready and the long drive to the endzone has officially begun. It is Football Season everyone!
For 2023, the Phoenix Convention Center will host the media headquarters, which allows major networks to broadcast from the venue and Smart City Networks will be responsible for ensuring everything runs smoothly. Right now, we are working on installing a 5G cellular system in the areas that will service the NFL Experience and will provide a state-of-theart facility with the most advanced technological solutions possible. It not only helps Smart City provide excellent service to the NFL and its media affiliates for the Big Game, but also assists in bolstering all the other large events hosted by the Phoenix Convention Center in the future.
Smart City Networks has delivered technology services to the NFL’s Big Game since 2003, making 2023 our 20-year anniversary. This will be the 13th game we have provided services for the surrounding community, and we could not be more thrilled. One of the biggest perks of being the nation’s leading telecommunications and technology provider in the United States has been establishing ourselves in almost all the major cities. So, while the Big Game may jump around to a new stadium every year, Smart City Networks has remained a consistent presence for the event and has enjoyed helping the media headquarters bring the big game to life for its millions of fans.
This is a familiar situation for Smart City and the Phoenix Convention Center. History is repeating itself as the Big Game was previously held at this same stadium in 2015. A lot has changed since then. The last time this event was held in Arizona, Smart City Networks successfully installed a new distributed antenna system that boosted mobile broadband coverage, enhanced network capacity, and improved reliability. We rose to meet the demands of the venue in 2015 and now we look forward to doing it again in 2023 with a new 5G cellular system.
Upgrading our facilities for the Big Game continues the trend Smart City has set forth in previous years. For example, the 2021 event in Tampa saw us install a massive new infrastructure to the Tampa Convention Center that provided access to Wi-Fi 6 Technology and changed the game in terms of features like high-density wireless capabilities. It shows how we always look for opportunities to bring our facilities to the next level, and the Big Game is a perfect launch pad for new and enhanced technologies and services.
This event is a large undertaking. As the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee works diligently to prepare for the biggest sports event of the year, Smart City will be taking the necessary steps to make sure everything is ready on time. We may not know yet which two teams will be making the trip to Arizona on that fateful Sunday, but we can guarantee Smart City’s team will be on-hand and ready for kickoff.
Seek the Best!
Seek the Best. We seek the best in two ways: We cast wide nets to find the best people to hire and the best ideas to adopt, and we base decisions regarding them on facts. We acknowledge, appreciate, and capitalize on our diverse work force. Seek the Best. We seek the best in two ways: We cast wide nets to find the best people to hire and the best ideas to adopt, and we base decisions regarding them on facts. We acknowledge, appreciate, and capitalize on our diverse work force. Seek the Best. We seek the best in two ways: We cast wide nets to find the best people to hire and the best ideas to adopt, and we base decisions regarding them on facts. We acknowledge, appreciate, and capitalize on our diverse work force. Seek the Best. We seek the best in two ways: We cast wide nets to find the best people to hire and the best ideas to adopt, and we base decisions regarding them on facts. We acknowledge, appreciate, and capitalize on our diverse work force. Seek the Best. We seek the best in two ways: We cast wide nets to find the best people to hire and the best ideas to adopt, and we base decisions regarding them on facts. We acknowledge, appreciate, and capitalize on our diverse work force.
HAPPY BIRTHDAYto you!
Alexia Dillon Nicholas Urquiza Kenneth Nguyen
Bryan Flores Raquel Boyd Robin Bruce James Zarharchuck Angel Hernandez Francisco Cruz
Timothy Overall Donald Brewer
Cary Rose Gamil Abd-Elmalek
Aaron Michael Amon Carthan Christopher Wharry Reynaldo Crespo Rivera
Tami Perez Shawn Lowery Mohammed Nouwass Samuel Reeves Tracy Gorman Keith McNeely
Salvador Bernal Flores Heidi Alcantara Samuel Pierre Samantha Morales Crystal Daniels Alexis Mayfield Vahe Oundjian Benjamin Behnkendorf Christy Hogan
Juan Lopez Madison Grimes
Jennifer Roeder Isaac Vazquez
Stephen Martin James Erickson
Jennifer Way Dayshaun Womble
Danielle Castillo Elvis Charlton Jr
Sean Naylor Arnold Chavez William Duke Kevin Patch
Terrell Collins Gerald Dangelo Jennifer Mezquita
It has been a rollercoaster ride for recruiting since January 2020. Smart City Networks, like the rest of the industry, has adapted and bounced back from the pandemic and our numbers continue to grow. In February 2020, the unemployment rate was 3.5%, two months later in April 2020 it was 14.7%. Thankfully we are back to 3.7% but the lower the unemployment rate goes, the harder it is to find quality candidates which means our company must be diligent in its hiring processes in order to see the best possible results. It means moving quickly to not lose candidates to other companies. But the results have been transformative. 2021 saw 23 new hires and as of September 2022, we have 67 new hires. It has been an incredible turnaround that we hope continues into Q4.
Ryan Kraber - Technician I - Minneapolis
Sergio Ramirez - Event Coordinator - Santa Clara
Cyril Yumang - Help Desk II- Corporate
Mohamad Sumren - Technician I - St. Louis
Erika Rios - Staff Accountant I - Corporate
Samantha Morales - Event Coordinator - Hawaii
Cary Rose - Manager, Operations - San Diego
Alexis Flores - CSSR I - Los Angeles
Michael Rupprecht II - Technician I - Denver Gamil Abd-Elmalek - Network Admin - Corporate
Christian DeJesus-Cruz - Technician - Orlando
Steven Sepulveda - Technician - Orlando
Elvis Charlton Jr. - Technician - Orlando
Nathaniel Backus - Technician I - Seattle
Clifford Brown III - Technician I - Columbus
Clayton Gowiski - Systems Admin - Corporate
Courtney Diem - Technician - Tampa
Jose Hernandez - Technician I - Houston
At Smart City Networks, we are all about empowering our teams and creating an environment where solutions are architected through collaboration. We have learned that everyone thrives when we celebrate team success, recognize innovation, and embrace individuality. To learn more about a career at Smart City Networks click here!
TAMMERA CLARK - 15 YEARS
JENNIFER WAY - 14 YEARS
NICHOLAS URQUIZA - 12 YEARS
ALEXIS MAYFIELD - 9 YEARS
DAVID LANGFORD - 22 YEARS
CHRISTOPHER DELANE - 13 YEARS
JESSE GALLEGOS - 10 YEARS
BRIAN CLEAR - 9 YEARS
CODY CAMPBELL - 6 YEARS
ALEXUS GAMMAGE - 6 YEARS
MATTHEW CHITWOOD - 6 YEARS
BRAINARD PABALAN - 5 YEARS
MICHAEL GARTRELL - 3 YEARS
MICHAEL BROWN - 1 YEAR
DINA BOWER - 4 YEARS
SARAH FINNEGAN - 4 YEARS
ERIC MOWREY - 4 YEARS
JULIA SLOCOMBE - 25 YEARS
GREGORY SMITH - 23 YEARS
TINA SHIELDS - 18 YEARS
ROBERT CARTAGINE - 13 YEARS
DEBRA GREEN - 12 YEARS
PAUL RUSSELL - 11 YEARS
JENNIFER MEZQUITA - 10 YEARS
ALICE TAYLOR - 9 YEARS
NYCOLE SMITH - 8 YEARS
EARVIN CLAROS - 1 YEAR
CRYSTAL DANIELS - 1 YEAR
JOSHUA GUAJARDO - 1 YEAR
ANTOINETTE IBARRA - 1 YEAR
KARINTIA MARISCAL - 1 YEAR
SEAN NAYLOR - 1 YEAR
ALLEGRA QUIBAN - 1 YEAR
WALTER QUINTANILLA - 1 YEAR
TANIA RAMOS - 1 YEAR
RICHARD ZARZOSA - 1 YEAR
RENNIE BROWN - 6 YEARS
VAHE OUNDJIAN - 5 YEARS
SAL BERNAL FLORES - 5 YEARS
JOSH BALDWIN - 4 YEARS
CARA KROENKE - 4 YEARS
ALEJANDRO PATINO - 4 YEARS
HASSAN BROWN - 1 YEAR
RAQUEL CHAVEZ - 1 YEAR
MICHELE POPP - 1 YEAR
We Care and Give Back. We believe that with our success comes the responsibility to give back to our communities. We seek to contribute to our communities in ways that reflect broadly held values, have meaningful impact, draw on our unique strengths as a company, and whenever possible reinforce our business objectives. We Care and Give Back. We believe that with our success comes the responsibility to give back to our communities. We seek to contribute to our communities in ways that reflect broadly held values, have meaningful impact, draw on our unique strengths as a company, and whenever possible reinforce our business objectives. We Care and Give Back. We believe that with our success comes the responsibility to give back to our communities. We seek to contribute to our communities in ways that reflect broadly held values, have meaningful impact, draw on our unique strengths as a company, and whenever possible reinforce to contribute to our communities inss objectives.
SMART CITY AT KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON RE-TIRES! (BUT NOT HOW YOU THINK…)
Sustainability is important in our industry. As we continue to evolve thanks to the latest technological advancements, it requires us to look at the materials that have become outdated and find alternate uses for them. With that in mind, the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas (KBHCCD) decided to hold their 1st Annual Upcycle contest! Teams were challenged to look around their homes and the convention center for items no longer in use and give them a second life. Anything ranging from wood, metal, old packaging, glass, plastic, etc., could all be used to create something unique.
The Dallas Smart City team rose to the challenge and put their creative skills to work. Together they collected old tires and used Cat5 cable to create a series of ottomans, which is perfect since tires are usually an extremely difficult product to recycle. Now they have been turned into something more useful. At the time of writing this article, we are still waiting to hear back from IKEA regarding our new million-dollar idea for a “Tire Ottoman” winter showcase, but fingers crossed! If they do say yes, we know the right people to suggest for construction! Thanks to the KBHCCD for holding this event and Smart City looks forward to participating again next year.
DUKE ENERGY CENTER PAINTS A PRETTY PICTURE
This year, the Duke Energy Convention Center (DECC) tapped into their inner Picassos to support a great cause during Earth Day. The center volunteered with 3CDC, a non-profit organization focused on the community, to help paint a mural on a well-known graffiti wall in an OTR alley. OTR (or to non-Cincinnati residents OverThe-Rhine) is an important piece of Cincinnati history that dates back to the 1850’s. It was once a working-class neighborhood with a significant German immigrant population. Over the years, the neighborhood has seen its fair share of struggles with crime and economic woes, but in the last decade, it is enjoying a successful resurgence.
Arnold Chavez, our General Manager in Cincinnati, volunteered with the DECC for this Earth Day project, highlighting his commitment to the local community. Even though bad weather saw this event postponed twice, that did not stop the group and at the end of the day, a beautiful piece of art is now a permanent downtown fixture. Click here to watch!
ANAHEIM GENERAL MANAGER HONORED FOR COMMITMENT TO SERVICE
Our General Managers at our Convention Centers are great leaders to their teams, and we are always thrilled to see how those inspirational leadership qualities carry over to their communities. Kevin Patch is the General Manager for Smart City Networks at the Anaheim Convention Center, and recently he was honored by the annual YMCA Vince Taormina Golf Tournament for his many years of service and commitment to helping those in need.
For twenty years, Kevin has been chairman of the tournament and has shown an extraordinary dedication to making the event a success. It brings together community members and donors to support the YMCA and its programs and this year, the tournament was able to raise over $30,000. Proceeds went to the YMCA 2022 Annual Support Campaign, which ensures that the Anaheim Family YMCA continues to have the resources to make an enduring impact in the local community. One of the YMCA’s missions is to build healthy, confident youth and its events like these that allow them to keep accomplishing that goal.
For his service, Kevin was the honoree of the 2022 Mike O’Donnell Service Award and Smart City Networks is extremely proud to call him part of our Smart City family. Kevin’s hard work is the perfect representation of the strong community values our company continually strives for and overall Smart City is honored to have been able to support this incredible event.
Continually Improve Processes
Continually Improve Processes. How do we know if a process needs improving? The answer: It always does. We can always get better. We strive continually to improve our processes, help people do their jobs better, and produce higher quality at lower cost. Continually Improve Processes. How do we know if a process needs improving? The answer: It always does. We can always get better. We strive continually to improve our processes, help people do their jobs better, and produce higher quality at lower cost. Continually Improve Processes. How do we know if a process needs improving? The answer: It always does. We can always get better. We strive continually to improve our processes, help people do their jobs better, and produce higher quality at lower cost. Continually Improve Processes. How do we know if a process needs improving? The answer: It always does. We can always get better. We strive continually to improve our processes, help people do their jobs better, and produce higher quality at lower cost.
MAJOR UPGRADE AT VIRGINIA BEACH
The Virginia Beach Convention Center is undergoing a major network upgrade. The convention center is receiving new equipment to provide better coverage and an overall better experience for exhibitors and attendees.
The upgrade will consist of a new core, 14 new edge switches, the installation of 70 new access points and a new VoIP phone system. The center will also be upgraded with next generation highdensity Wi-Fi and a redundant Single Mode Fiber installed throughout the facility. The team at the Virginia Beach Convention Center has always emphasized Smart City’s expertise and unparalleled customer support, but now thanks to this new upgrade, the center will reach new heights like never before.
SAN DIEGO UPGRADES ITS MOST ICONIC SPACE
The Sails Pavilion at the San Diego Convention Center (SDCC) recently completed a new wireless upgrade that will provide better service and increased coverage for attendees. Before the upgrade, the space relied on 35 access points to deliver wireless coverage to 90,000 square feet. While that worked for a time, the SDCC sought a more permanent solution. The SDCC is one of the west coast’s premier convention centers, so it is important for the location to be equipped with the most up-to-date technological solutions available.
To increase the coverage of the area, the decision was made to install additional access points in the ceiling and by the end, the AP count had increased in the Sails Pavilion from 35 to 61 access points. The team delivered beyond expectations and overall, it will lead to a better user experience.
CHARLOTTE NETWORK UPGRADE NEARS COMPLETION
The Charlotte Convention Center is proud to announce that it has finished its 50K square foot expansion. Our team has been working to increase our network capabilities throughout the expansion, and the end results are cause for celebration.
This upgrade began in 2020 as we set out to replace our core and edge equipment to accommodate our new high-density Wi-Fi network. We increased our backbone capability tenfold from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps. We expanded our Wi-Fi coverage from 91 access points to an incredible 459 access points. We added a total of 8 new IDF closets, four in the expansion area and four to improve the coverage in our existing footprint.
Our subcontracting team, ComDesign, has been great with their flexibility, taking advantage of the empty center due to COVID-related cancelations and then being willing to work around in-house events now that we are back on a full schedule. With this upgrade now finished, we look forward to providing our customers way many years of peace of mind thanks to our new, reliable network.
2022 Smart City Networks. All Rights Reserved.
STAY CYBER SAFE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
The holiday season is fast approaching, and cybercriminals are ready. Are you? Every year around the holidays, bad actors increase their efforts. There is a documented 30% increase in ransomware attacks during this time. During the holidays, there is more advertising going on, more people are on vacation or distracted and most everyone is in a “holiday mood” aka not paying as much attention as they normally would. To better protect yourself, here are some tips to have a safe cyber holiday season.
• THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK! During the holiday season, legitimate companies up their marketing emails. So do cybercriminals. And they are getting better at imitating legitimate emails and websites. Watch out for anything triggering fear, urgency or greed, as these are three of the major emotions attackers prey on. Ads and links on websites can also be malicious. The same rules apply to these as to emails.
• CHECK LINKS AND WEBSITES THOROUGHLY. Use Google or another search engine to find an unfamiliar website instead of clicking a link. Watch out for misspellings! Google.com is not the same as gooogle.com; Amazon.com is not the same as anazon.com.
• RESIST THE URGE TO SEND OFF A ‘QUICK REPLY’. You should always vet your emails before sending a reply as this can reduce the risk of a reply leading to a phish.
• USE STRONG AND UNIQUE PASSWORDS. Use a different strong password for each website / company you interact with. Do not store your passwords (or your credit card info!) in your browser. Use a password manager instead.
• USE MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION. Wherever possible, enable multifactor authentication on the websites / companies you interact with. That way, if your password gets compromised, you have a second line of defense. In order, the strongest MFA solutions are:
• Hardware Dongle and App Generated OTP Codes
• App Authentication Prompts
• SMS MFA
• Email MFA
Speaking of MFA, don’t approve an authentication request in an app if you are not sure of its origin, or if you initiated it. There is a technique going around where bad actors will spam an MFA app until the user approves the access just to get the app to be quiet.
• DON’T USE FREE OR PUBLIC WI-FI. When working with personal or sensitive data never use free Wi-Fi. If you need to conduct transactions over an untrusted network, use a high-quality VPN. But in all reality, be on a trusted network when shopping or banking online.
• BEWARE OF “SHOULDER SURFING”. Someone watching over your shoulder while you are online.
• KEEP UP-TO-DATE. Enable the auto-update feature to update regularly and always run a reputable security suite.
• USE A CREDIT CARD. When shopping online, credit cards generally offer more fraud protection than debit cards more fraud protection then debit cards.