What’s the Latest at the Warner?

by Barry Copple, Operations Manager

Hello, Erie!

Another year has come and gone, and what a winter we had! Typically, we don’t do very many concerts in the summer, so there’s not a lot to report on the concert scene at this time. However, that doesn’t mean we aren’t busy here at the Theatre. The month of June is extremely busy with our local dance companies such as Little’s, Long’s, Marguerite’s, and Spotlight Dance Studios. With graduations, wedding receptions, dance rehearsals and load-in days all happening as well, June generates 19 event days. Busy, busy!

Something new to the Theatre this past year was the addition of sippy cups. I know what you’re thinking — sippy cups? — but hear me out. While we don’t allow food or drinks in our auditorium, you can purchase the Warner Theatre cup for $3. After purchase, you can bring it to the Theatre for most shows and refill it for the cost of the drink only. You’ll be able to use it again and again for just the cost of the drink. Not bad! This has been a great success for us and for our patrons, making it more convenient for all involved. Next time you’re here, ask one of our servers about it.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with a little history lesson about the Warner Theatre. It was built by the Warner Brothers (yes, THOSE Warner Brothers) and opened in April 1931 at a cost of $1.5 million. Other than a few weeks during ownership changes, the Theatre has been in constant operation. I have had the privilege of giving tours of our Theatre to many artists and their staff from around the world, and I get the same response over and over: “This is one of the most beautiful theatres I have ever seen.” That means a lot not just to me, but to this community. Erie, we have our problems, sure, but there is so much to be proud of. I consider it an honor and love being the caretaker of this magnificent treasure.

So get up and go, Erie! Have a great summer.

We’ll talk again. Until next time!




Work, Life, and What I’ve Learned

by Lisa Di Luzio, Director of Marketing and Sales

Each morning, I wake up, say goodbye to my husband, and then I head home and see my family.

No, I’m not living some sort of double life. I’ve been the Director of Marketing & Sales here at Erie Events for five years now, and for me, the Bayfront Convention Center feels like home, and the people I work with feel like family.

It’s truly a pleasure being here. You’re surrounded by a lot of great people. Here at the Bayfront Convention Center and at our other Erie Events locations, we have some of the best employees the area has to offer. In my years here and in my 23 years at the Bel-Air, I’ve learned a few things about work, relationships at work, and life in general that I would like to share. I don’t think I know it all, but I’ve certainly been through a lot!

Be Comfortable with the Uncomfortable – No two weeks, two days, or even two minutes are the same at the Bayfront Convention Center. We consistently have meetings, conferences, conventions, dinners and other events that our team is involved in. The staff has to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and be open to change. Our constant is change, and especially when we have multiple events, we have to leave our comfort zones. That might mean assisting with set up, tear down, being out on the floor, and more.

During my time at the Bel-Air, I had a moment where I didn’t want to accept change. A superior had me read “Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life” by Dr. Spencer Johnson and it changed my outlook on change. I highly recommend the book!

Even within our staff we’ve had to be comfortable with change. Since January 1, I’ve re-transitioned an employee, developed others, and hired a new event coordinator. Through all of it, our staff has been amazing.

Respect Your Employees and Build a Relationship – As I mentioned earlier, my Bayfront Convention Center family feels like family just as much as my real family. But it doesn’t become like that overnight. There’s a few elements that go into it. The people I work with here mean the world to me. We have a close relationship, but the respect is also good. I set the tone right out of the gate with an open-door policy. I don’t do drama – if there’s a problem, I’m here to talk. I’m of the mindset that you go right to the top with problems. But when you come with a problem, also come with a solution. It’s easy to have an issue, but it’s more productive to also have an idea of how to solve it.

We have an open and communal area, so good, bad, and otherwise, it’s all out there! When something happens, good or bad, we make sure to let it be known and use it in the future. As an example, we had Kwik Fill come in for a convention last week. It was a home run and the client described it as “perfect.” So when Country Fair came in this week, we were able to use that as an example and have a blueprint for how to provide them with their own “perfect” experience.

My management style has been to let my employees do their job. It sounds simple, and it is when done right. That means no micromanaging. I empower everyone to make choice and do their job, though it all comes across my desk eventually.

In the end, everyone who knows me knows I’m a “kumbaya” type of person. I’m high energy, I get excited about my work, and as I’ve been told, I always have that patented Lisa smile on. We all work hard to respect each other and have an open work environment. We spend so much time here, you better darn well get along!

Appreciate Your Clientele and Build Relationships – The common denominator we all have here is doing what’s right by our building and by the client.  We have a clientele that we’re blessed with. It’s awesome to walk in and out of here each day knowing that you were able to provide an experience for everyone who came in.

When we have weddings, galas, conventions – that’s when we network and build relationships. Our location and our building help us to sell, certainly, but our relationships with people are what makes the difference. It’s one thing to have someone fill out a survey and give us a high rating – it’s another to have them come back again and again or recommend us to others. It’s the “show, don’t tell” of event coordinating. The biggest compliment we can get is when our clients come back.

There are so many times you leave here and you can hold your head high – even if you can’t do much else because you’re physically exhausted from a long day. I am so, so lucky to have the job I have and be able to work with the people I do. I’m often the last to leave, and usually it’s dark and I’m always parked far away to keep close spots available for our guests. It gives me time to reflect as I’m walking back to my car, and only one word comes to mind at the end of my day: Wow.

Graduation at Erie Insurance Arena

By Brandon Boyd, Coordinator of Communications


That’s me (left) with my friend, Mike, outside of the Erie Insurance Arena after graduating. Apparently I had not yet learned how to directly show off my diploma.

Five years ago today, I walked across the stage at Erie Insurance Arena and received my diploma from Penn State Behrend.

Graduation is a special time for all, and I can still remember the pride I felt seeing my hard work in college finally reach its culmination. It was an honor to have my family in the crowd to see me graduate, too.

For those graduating this year, you may have been counting down to graduation day for quite some time. Well, that time is just about here, and all of us here at Erie Insurance Arena want to make sure your day goes as smooth as possible.

Parents and friends of graduates need to remember that all patrons entering the Erie Insurance Arena need to go through a metal detector. At every event, this comes as a surprise to some, but it is simply the standard at facilities today.

When going through metal detectors, we ask that you remove your phones, keys, electronic devices (including a camera to take a picture of your smiling grad!), and large metal objects.

However, you don’t have to remove your belt, your watch, jewelry, wallet or coins.

We also ask that if at all possible, avoid bringing a bag or purse to graduation. Bags and purses at any event at the Erie Insurance Arena are subject to additional screening, slowing down the entry process. Bring only essential items!


Some tips for you to remember when going through our metal detectors.

One last note: While there are plenty of things you CAN bring, there are some items that you just CANNOT bring. Those include bottles or cans, outside food and beverages, flasks, noise makers, selfie sticks, weapons, and other dangerous or unlawful items. Safety first!

We look forward to having you for graduation at Erie Insurance Arena and we can’t wait to be part of your special day!


Staying Environmentally Friendly

By Ariana Malizia, Event Coordinator

Is Mother Earth as happy to host our existence as we are to inhabit her? Probably not. As a proud tree hugger, I do my own individual part to lower my carbon footprint, by either using environmentally-friendly products or recycling paper, plastic, glass, aluminum and steel; unfortunately, though, I am guilty of not always doing so.

While I am an alum of Edinboro University, I recognize and appreciate Gannon University for their role in generating GreenEriePA.org back in 2012. Through their efforts, the movement gained momentum and is now responsible for an abundance of Green activities that take place around our humble city. Their mission is to educate new environmentalists (and businesses) of tips and how-to instructions for a cleaner world and a better, more sustainable future.

There are a number of businesses in the Erie Area who have chosen to go Green. One of the which is the obvious example of Whole Foods Co-Op: Natural Foods & Café. Not so obvious examples include Romolo Chocolates, Smith Provision Company, the Brewerie at Union Station, the Erie Art Museum, Erie Insurance and so many more. Most, if not all, of the mentioned companies (and others not mentioned) are a part of RecyclErie, an initiative that provides the following items to those who sign up:  Staff training on proper recycling procedures, indoor recycle bins, a certification of participation, a window decal, and free advertising.

During my free time, I genuinely enjoy biking, kayaking, hiking and camping, and visiting Presque Isle. Other green activities consist of geocaching (if you have never tried it, DO!), gardening, swimming, bird watching, fishing, hunting responsibly, and more.

As active citizens in this wonderful community, we alone are responsible to repair and maintain the atmosphere, and to provide proper care instructions for future residents.

Recycling centers in Erie:
Liberty Iron and Metal, at 1413 East Avenue, Erie, PA 16503
Lincoln Recycling, at 1602 Selinger Avenue, Erie, PA 16505
County Recycling Convenience Center, at 1624 Filmore Avenue, Erie, PA 16505
Geosource, at 1631 East Avenue, Erie, PA 16503
Millfair Compost and Recycling, at 2301 Millfair Road, Erie, PA 16506
Dirt Works Organics, at 4735 Shannon Road, Erie, PA 16510

Grant Request Vital For UPMC Park Future

by Casey Wells, Executive Director

Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) Grant request for UPMC PARK (request was submitted by the City of Erie to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s RACP Program)

In 2002, the Erie County Convention Center Authority (Erie Events) completed a Master Plan for the Erie Sports, Cultural and Entertainment District.  This document was an outgrowth of the Authority’s strategic planning efforts and was developed with extensive input from various stakeholders, community and civic groups, elected officials, citizens, facility users and tenants including the Erie Otters and the Erie SeaWolves.  It comprises a sports and entertainment complex consisting of UPMC Park, Erie Insurance Arena and the Warner Theatre.

Since the Master Plan was completed, many critical elements envisioned in the plan have been realized including:

  • Acquisition and improvements to numerous blighted properties in proximity of the Erie Events Complex
  • Upgrades to UPMC Park
  • Ongoing restoration of the Warner Theatre
  • Construction of a 1,000 car parking deck by Erie Insurance Group used by attendees to the Complex
  • Complete Renovation of Erie Insurance Arena

The next major step in completing the Master Plan consists of:  (1) the renovation of UPMC Park (now 25 years old); and (2) the full integration of UPMC Park with Erie Insurance Arena.  The integration of these two venues will create first-class facilities that are utilized to support both UPMC Park and Erie Insurance Arena, thus maximizing the year-round economic benefits of this undertaking.  At the same time, it will address two important elements that were deleted from the Erie Insurance Arena renovations due to budgetary constraints:  (1) team offices for the Arena’s major tenant, the Erie Otters; and (2) a team store for the Otters which is incorporated within the Arena and accessible on a year-rouupmcparkgrantnd basis.

This UPMC Park $12 million grant request essentially completes the vision of the 2002 Master Plan by providing critical elements to the Complex, ensuring the Otters and Seawolves remain in Erie. In fact, if this grant is fully funded, the Otters and Seawolves each have committed to extending their leases for an additional 10 years!!!!  This commitment is enormous in terms of job retention, economic impact and the quality of life in NW Pennsylvania.

The completed Downtown Sports, Cultural and Entertainment District is an integral part of the Erie Downtown Development Corporation’s investment and provides the critical amenities necessary to make Erie’s Downtown an exciting place to live, a viable place to work and an enticing place to visit.

I hope you support our efforts in securing RACP funding for UPMC PARK.

Ignore the Weather: Things Are Heating Up At Erie Events

By Brandon Boyd, Coordinator of Communications and Client Relations

If looking out your window and seeing April snow makes you melancholy, don’t worry, we’ve got just what can cheer you up.

While the weather has yet to make the turn, all of us here at Erie Events have our sights set on a bright and sunny future.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with our very own Erie SeaWolves. The SeaWolves have already taken to the field and their bats are beginning to finally heat up even if the weather hasn’t. We look for the SeaWolves to have another successful year both on and off the field. Just in the month of April, the SeaWolves have a fleece blanket giveaway, fireworks, catch on the field, and more. Personally, I’m excited for all the Buck Nights this year. In late April, one of the SeaWolves’ opponents, the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (what a name!) bring Tim Tebow to the field. That will be a series you won’t want to miss!

On Friday of this week, Casey Wells, our executive director, will have information on a possible grant that will bring funding for renovations for UPMC Park and Erie Insurance Arena. If the grant is received, the Erie SeaWolves and Erie Otters will commit to 10 more years in Erie. Talk about a bright future!

Our events schedule for the upcoming months looks promising, too, with a number of concerts and performances ready to wow the Erie crowds. Our schedule of events includes:

  • April 19: Gov’t Mule, Warner Theatre
  • April 26: Brian Regan, Warner Theatre
  • May 12: Lloyd and Layton Greene, Warner Theatre
  • May 12: Brantley Gilbert, Erie Insurance Arena
  • May 16: Peppa Pig’s Surprise, Warner Theatre
  • June 29: Dierks Bentley, Erie Insurance Arena
  • September 25: REO Speedwagon, Warner Theatre
  • November 9 and 10: Monster Jam, Erie Insurance Arena

We also have a few family-friendly events that we’ll be announcing in the coming days.

As always, tickets are available at http://www.erieevents.com. We look forward to hosting you at any number of our events and we hope you have a great time! All said, despite the weather forecast bringing us down, the forecast for Erie Events is clear skies, sun, and a whole lot of entertainment!


Event Planning (And Planning When Things Don’t Go According to Plan!)

by Danielle Steffan, Event Coordinator

Event planning is a very fun and exciting field to work in! There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your clients happy and overjoyed about their event being perfect.  While most of the time the industry is very rewarding, there are also unexpected things that can come up. In order to ensure our events go as smooth as possible, there are several issues coordinators need to be prepared for. From my experience, there are several common situations that may come up while planning an event: poor weather, miscommunication, and a budget gone wrong.

The weather is something that we have no control over, but it is something that we should consider when planning an event. If the event is using outside space, it is always best to have a back-up plan in mind. As event coordinators, we should always be thinking of alternative solutions in case something happens. Luckily for us at the Convention Center, we have plenty of space if Erie weather does not cooperate. We also have a large, versatile space called the Anchor Plaza which has a large tent with sides; if there is bad weather, we can still utilize the space.

Another situation I have run into is miscommunication with the client. It is our job to make sure we are getting every detail from the client and making sure that nothing is over-looked. Forming a great relationship with the client is very important. We want to turn the client’s vision to life and try our best to do this. Although we try our best to make sure the event is perfect, sometimes there is a miscommunication between us and the client. If this does happen, we just need to make it work!  Here at the Convention Center, we have a great operations and food/beverage team and we all work together to make sure the clients vision is successfully executed.

Lastly, another struggle event coordinators often face is the client’s budget. Whether it’s small or large, we as coordinators need to make sure that we stay within the budget. If the client wants more than what the budget allows, we need to be creative and think of options that would work for the client in their budget. The budget can sometimes be the most challenging part of the event, but making sure we communicate exactly what the client can get within the budget will help the entire event run successfully.

These are just a few things to be aware of, but the majority of the time events run smoothly!  It is our job as coordinators to think fast if something unexpected comes up. It certainly makes the job more fun and exciting.

Happy 10th Birthday, Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel!

The Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel has been a staple of service and success in Erie’s hospitality market for the last 10 years.

On Wednesday, the Sheraton recognizes its success with an internal 10-year celebration at 3 p.m. in the Ballroom of the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel that will also recognize the 11 charter member associates that opened the hotel back in 2008.

“It was 10 years ago that we opened the hotel up to the public,” said Daniel Pora, general manager of the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel. “We’ve had 10 years of great successes in that time and we are excited to recognize everyone for their hard work.”

Since it opened in 2008, the Sheraton has been atop consumer rankings in various categories. This past year, the Sheraton was in the top 3% for all Sheratons in North America for overall satisfaction, #1 for Restaurant Overall Food Quality and #1 for Restaurant Overall Service for all Sheratons in North America, and Top 2% for Overall Property Style and Design and top 2% for Overall Hotel Condition for all Sheratons in North America. The hotel has also finished ranked #1 in the Sheraton brand in Guest Satisfaction for five of the years that the hotel has been open.

“I am very proud of all the associates’ hard work, dedication and passion for excellent customer service and making sure the hotel is very clean and well maintained on a daily basis,” Pora said. “We have an amazing family of associates at the Sheraton and their hard work certainly has paid off over the years.”

In addition to its exemplary service for guests, the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel has also rooted itself into local programs and provided opportunity for growth in the region.

The Sheraton’s partnership with Mercyhurst University’s Hospitality Department has proved fruitful for both parties – currently, the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel boasts six managers, three supervisors, seven interns and 15 hourly associates all from Mercyhurst University. The Sheraton has and will continue to hire local talent and allow them to thrive at one of Erie’s top hotels.

The Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel also partners with Erie High School and Strong Vincent Middle School. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, six students with special needs from Erie High School come to get on-the-job and life experiences. Every other Friday, 16 students with special needs from Strong Vincent Middle School assist in the laundry, kitchen, restaurant, and perform light maintenance work.

“We are very fortunate to have such a great working relationship with the Erie School district and local community,” Pora said. “It is very rewarding for not only the students in these programs, but for the hotel associates that get the opportunity to work with them and help make a positive impact on their education.”

The Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel looks to continue its connection with local programs and continue celebrating success in the future.

Spring (finally!) in Erie

By Erica Krystek, Event Coordinator

Spring has finally arrived (sort of — don’t look outside just yet)!

Here are a few things to do around Erie in the springtime:

  • Lake Erie Fishing: Ask any angler and they will tell you fishing in the spring means Trout, which begins its opening day on April 14th. Or join the S.O.N.S of Lake Erie, to help protect our native species of fish.
  • Erie SeaWolves: Nothing says spring like baseball! Join the Seawovles Friday April 13, 2018 for the home opener at UPMC Park.
  • Presque Isle State Park: Whether you like to bike, run, or walk, Presque Isle has amazing sunsets with breathtaking water views.
  • Sara’s Restaurant: Order a signature orange-vanilla ice cream cone. Sara’s opened for the season on April 1st.
  • Erie Zoo: Grand opening was held on March 3rd. Mark your calendars for the Zoo Parade May 19th.
  • Asbury Woods: Try out the 2018 Maple Festival April 14th & 15th
  • Frontier Park: Not only is there a labyrinth to serenely walk though, trees and other foliage to identify, and strategically placed memorial benches, LEAF is also celebrating their 20th birthday this year! Join Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park for adult art classes, and family yoga classes.
  • Erie Microbrew Fest: Take part in the longest running craft brew festival in our region on Saturday April 7, 2018 at the Brewerie at Union Station. Tickets are $35 in advance, or $40 at the door, with VIP tickets selling at only $50 in advance! Designated Drivers are offered a discount for being a team player and may enter at a head cost of $20.

And, of course, we’ll have plenty of events at our venues this spring! We have concerts at the Erie Insurance Arena, events at the Bayfront Convention Center, plays and concerts at the Warner Theatre, and more!

We’ve been in hibernation for an entire season, it’s time to put away those winter boots and get into the spirit of spring in Erie!