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Ilitch Holdings, Inc. | VP, Operations, Comerica Park | Detroit, MI


Ilitch Holdings, Inc. (IHI) provides professional services to the companies founded by Mike & Marian Ilitch (Ilitch companies). IHI is a family-owned company and the umbrella holding company of the Ilitch family of companies. Headquartered in Detroit Michigan, IHI encompasses leading brands in the food, sports and entertainment industries, including:

Sports & Entertainment Group (“ISEG”)

  • Detroit Tigers & Comerica Park

  • Detroit Red Wings & Little Caesars Arena

  • Olympia Entertainment, including the Fox Theatre

  • Entertainment Joint Venture w/Detroit Pistons

  • Other Civic, Charitable & Business Initiatives

Other Interests

  • Little Caesars Pizza

  • Blue Line Foodservice Distribution

  • Champion Foods

  • Little Caesars Pizza Kits Fundraising Program

  • Olympia Development/The District Detroit

  • The MotorCity Casino & Hotel

  • Other Civic, Charitable & Business Initiatives

Built as part of a downtown revitalization plan for the city of Detroit, Comerica Park began construction in late October 1997 and officially held it’s first Detroit Tigers game on April 11, 2000.  With beautiful views of the city’s skyline from the upper deck, Comerica Park has fully-engrained itself into the fabric of the city and the fanbase, often incorporating the history, features and atmosphere at old Tiger Stadium into the ballpark.  Having hosted two World Series, an All-Star Game and numerous concerts, sporting and special events, the ballpark continues to thrive in the sports and entertainment landscape of Detroit. As the park approaches its twentieth season, the Tigers and Ilitch Holdings are preparing for a number of renovations that will reinvigorate the ballpark into one of the more contemporary ballparks in baseball.

As a charter member of the American League, the Detroit Tigers played their first major league game against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 25, 1901 before more than 10,000.  In 1905, the team acquired Hall of Famer Ty Cobb and won their first American League pennant in 1907.  While their first World Series victory didn’t come until 1925, the team has four titles to their name, 11 American League Pennants and seven division titles, and have been home to Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Hank Greenberg, Al Kaline, Jim Bunning and Jack Morris, among others.  With superstar Miguel Cabrera and 2016 American League Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer joining forces with former AL Manager of the Year Ron Gardenhire, the 2019 Tigers look to build the team back to a perennial playoff team.

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

Position Summary

The Vice President of Operations (“VP”) will drive the strategic and operational initiatives of the ballpark, including all ongoing security, event operations and guest experience programs for Comerica Park and surrounding property. The VP will be responsible for the execution of a best-in-class event experience for fans, customers and partners. The VP will drive the short- and long-term planning for the ballpark, ensuring the Tigers’ needs and expectations are met while driving the future masterplan for both the facility and ballpark experience. In addition, the VP will provide advice and assistance to affiliated Ilitch Holdings facilities.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership and direction with regard to all operational aspects of Comerica Park, including capital projects, process evaluation and optimization, fan experience and engagement amplification, and internal team-building and collaboration.

  • Develop and maintain ongoing strategy and operational plans to include annual budgets, operating pro-formas, operational policies and procedures, hiring/training and employee development of full-time staff.

  • Serve as a driver of innovation, both in the development of service policies and infrastructure, to fully maximize an exemplary guest, partner and customer experience; consistently identify opportunities to build the business and/or revenue lines with a focus on efficiency, engagement, and emerging industry and social trends.

  • Provide leadership and direction with regard to staging and managing special events, including conversions and facility operations.

  • Oversee the operation of the Facility in providing stadium maintenance, systems operations, capital improvements and housekeeping to the highest industry standards.

  • Oversee the Grounds and Landscaping Operations of Comerica Park.

  • Develop and maintain key relationships to include local and federal law enforcement and local fire departments, etc., as well as other affiliated Ilitch Holdings facilities and properties to drive overarching efficiency, collaboration and sharing of best practices.

  • Ensure the highest level of customer service, security and fan experience for all events at Comerica Park; responsible for identifying, monitoring, and managing all experiences that impact the fan experience.

  • Serve as the primary contract manager and operational liaison for the parking and housekeeping operators, as well as the operational liaison to the food & beverage operator and merchandise department, to include developing measurable performance standards, quality and inventory management expectations for the Parking and Housekeeping operations.

  • Establish and adhere to detailed operating standards, policies, and procedures.

  • Represent the organization in all applicable industry/trade organizations, and serve as the primary point of contact for all MLB related security and facility issues.

Qualifications, Skills and Education Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree.

  • 10-15+ years of progressive management experience in the field of facility management, preferably in a professional sports stadium or arena.

  • Previous experience managing top quality convention, arena, stadium or other high-volume event facilities.

  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.

  • Highly organized with excellent project coordination and project management skills, and able to meet tight deadlines and work effectively in a high-pressure environment.

  • Extensive understanding of all facets of facility management, including crisis management, event sales & marketing, event operations, building engineering, security, guest services and food & beverage operations.

  • Committed to the development of an exceptional Stadium Operations Department, focused on providing excellence in customer service, a positive working environment for all employees, and the ability to effectively manage the revenue and expense objectives of the department.

  • Excellent people skills, with an ability to interact effectively and in a professional, diplomatic and mature manner with VIP’s as well as internal and external clients at all levels within an organization and throughout the community.

  • Member of IAVM or SMA preferred.

  • Knowledge of and a passion for professional baseball and live entertainment.