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Churchill Downs | Vice President & Assistant General Manager | Louisville, KY


Background

Horse racing in Kentucky dates back to 1789 when the first race course was constructed in Lexington. Nearly 100 years later, in 1875, Churchill Downs officially opened its gates in Louisville and began its tradition as the “Home of the Kentucky Derby,” the longest continually-running sporting event in America. The Founding of Churchill Downs began in 1872, when Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark traveled to England and France in 1872. Clark attended the Epsom Derby in England, which sparked his ambition to create a spectacle horse racing event in America. Upon his return to the states, Clark began the development of the racetrack, with intentions to showcase the Kentucky breeding industry that eventually became known as "Churchill Downs." Today, Churchill Downs spans 200 acres with its most significant structure being the Twin Spires, an architectural feature which sits atop the grandstand and has become the universally recognized symbol for Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. 

Known as the home of the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks, Churchill Downs Racetrack conducts Thoroughbred horse racing in Louisville, Kentucky during three race meets in the Spring, September, and the Fall. The venue occupies 200 acres, featuring a one-mile dirt, oval racetrack and a seven furlong turf race course. The clubhouse and grandstand include 1.7 million square feet of hospitality space that spans the track’s ¼ mile front stretch. The stable area includes 1,500 stalls at Churchill Downs and 500 stalls at a satellite training center that house the horses that train at the racetrack every morning. Thoroughbred racing, the Kentucky Derby, and the Kentucky Oaks have run continuously at Churchill Downs Racetrack since 1875. In addition, Churchill Downs Racetrack has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships nine times.

Over the course of three centuries, the track has completed several massive renovation projects to modernize its venerable grandstand and clubhouse and to accommodate its more than 165,000 guests on Kentucky Derby Day. Modernization projects have included the construction of private luxury suites, premium hospitality areas, permanent lights to operate night-time race programs, and building The Big Board – the world’s largest 4k video screen. The Twin Spires that sit atop the grandstands remain the most recognizable architectural feature of Churchill Downs and serve as a symbol of the racetrack. The spires were designed by architect Joseph Dominic Baldez and were built in 1895 – they shine across the world’s most legendary racetrack each night.

Churchill Downs is the flagship property of Churchill Downs Incorporated (“CDI”) (Nasdaq: CHDN), headquartered in Louisville, KY. CDI is an industry-leading racing, gaming and online entertainment company. CDI operates the largest legal online account wagering platform for horseracing in the U.S., through its ownership of TwinSpires.com. CDI also is a leader in brick-and-mortar casino gaming with approximately 8,000 gaming positions in six states. CDI recently launched its BetAmerica Sportsbook at its two Mississippi casino properties and has announced plans to enter additional U.S. real money online gaming and sports betting markets. Derby City Gaming, the first historical racing machine (“HRM”) facility in Louisville, was opened in September 2018 with 900 HRM machines. Additional information about CDI can be found online at www.churchilldownsincorporated.com.

Any interested candidates should contact Turnkey Search directly. Contacting Churchill Downs will only delay consideration of your qualifications.

Position Summary

A new role within Churchill Downs, the Assistant General Manager (“AGM”) will centralize the operational elements of the ever-evolving venue with an unrelenting eye towards flawless collaboration, communication and execution.  A leader of a highly-skilled, long-tenured and knowledgeable staff, the AGM will serve as the strategic leader for the operation, evolving and streamlining processes and procedures and operational protocols to allow for a more efficient, cohesive back-of-house operation that best serves horsemen, clients, customers, partners and vendors.

The AGM will be responsible for the daily oversight of back of house operations, including but not limited to Operations, Facilities, Housekeeping, and Track Surfaces, as well as IT and Construction, to ensure the enjoyment of employees, clients and guests. The AGM will be an excellent communicator with experience operating large, complex venues that operate hundreds of events annually with modern systems and procedures. The AGM will provide exceptional leadership to the Operations and Facilities staff and establish the group as a servant leader who strives to assist all departments at Churchill Downs in meeting their goals through superior customer service and event execution.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Responsible for the planning and preparation of all facility operations to ensure that all events and day to day activities are flawlessly executed.

  • As a member of the Executive team, actively participates in the discussion and decision-making process relative to all areas of business operations.

  • Create and oversee Standard Operating Procedures (“SOPs”) for all venue operations and event setups. Develop and implement operating procedures customized to the specific needs of the facility and consistent with the goals and the objectives of the facility and operation.

  • Create and manage an operational focused facility management system that incorporates capital projects, routine maintenance, event setup logistics and an incident response system to integrate with sales calendars and events that provides transparency for all departments.

  • Review and make recommendations to the operations and assist in overseeing event implementation with the department heads.

  • Create and implement efficient staffing plans to ensure a superior guest experience for all facility events.

  • Coordinate with senior management to develop strategic plans to address clients' needs and formulate new ideas that promote exemplary guest services, increase revenue and/or reduce operating cost.

  • Prepare annual department operating budget and recommend an annual capital budget for long range repairs and improvements to the facility. Authorize the requisition of equipment and supplies within budget guidelines.

  • Know and guarantee all laws, codes, ordinances, policies, procedures, risk management, safety precautions, rules/regulations and emergency procedures are followed. Working with the Sr. Director of Security, develop a program to train all employees on fire/life safety and emergency procedures.

  • Investigate, analyze, and resolve operational problems and complaints. Conduct regular staff meetings to discuss procedures, problems, and policy changes.

  • Prepares and negotiates venue service agreements. Review contracts for compliance with events and/or government specifications and suitability for occupancy.

  • Working with the Sr. Director of Facilities, develop and implement preventive maintenance schedules, emergency procedures, safety and risk management policies in compliance with all corporate and governmental regulations.

  • Create and maintain the venue sustainability efforts.

  • Working with the Director of Housekeeping, oversee and direct the housekeeping department to ensure all day-to-day operations are being met including event set-ups, changeovers and cleaning.

  • Working with the Sr. Director of Facilities, direct, supervise, and schedule all aspects of building maintenance, including engineering, building and ground maintenance, Public Facility ADA compliance.

  • Partner with the Sr. Director of Security to prepare and operate the facility fire and life safety plan.

  • Develop and monitor service-related Key Performance Indicators.

  • Maintain and update a document library of all building site plans, construction documents, and venue procedures.

Qualifications, Skills and Education Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree (B.A.) or equivalent from four-year College.

  • At least 10 years related experience managing the operations of a large event venue or complex resort facility.

  • Candidate should be proficient with Microsoft Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Project, CRM and facility management systems.

  • Experience working in a union environment preferred.

  • Advanced certification from a venue management association preferred.

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, as well as demonstrated professionalism and diplomacy. 

  • Exceptional organizational and project management skills with an ability to handle multiple assignments in a fast-paced environment with tight deadlines. 

    Must demonstrate a team player spirit with an exceptional customer service attitude.