Recently, another Bronco won international acclaim, but this time it wasn't Von Miller or John Elway.
It was Ethan Honaman, guest relations assistant manager at Sports Authority Field at Mile High and one of the International Association of Venue Manager's 30 under 30 award winners.
After making a strong first impression as an usher for the team, he gained a full-time position and helped bring new ideas to the guest relations staff to make them one of the best in the league. We caught up with him over email to learn more about his work in his department, how he caught the eye of the IAVM and what he has in mind for the future.
DenverBroncos.com:How did you get into guest relations with the team, and how have you added to the staff's initiatives to help the group stand out among your peers in the NFL?
Ethan Honaman: I was able to get my start with the organization back in 2010 as a part time usher in section 520-521. I took care of this section for two seasons while finishing school and was hired as an intern for the 2012-13 season in the events department at the stadium. After one season as an intern, I was brought on full time back into the guest relations department.
I was able to take my experiences working part time [and I was] given the authority to make significant changes to the department to enhance guest relations as a whole. With guidance from the director of guest relations, Pat Tetrick, I began to rework the trainings and start to statistically diagnose where we were in terms of years of service, retention and other metrics that we could track. I needed to get the buy-in from the staff on trying to improve the experience for the fans. I was able to create a survey called Voice of the Staff, which mirrored the NFL's Voice of the Fan. We were able to collect large amounts of data in regards to satisfactions and improvements that our staff may deem necessary or off-the-wall ideas.
We took this data and made changes to the department. The information was so beneficial that I created post-game surveys after each game to report information in regards to incidents that happened during games, recognizing other employees and maintenance fixes. We are now able to take this information, get it to the correct parties and improve items for the next game. After four seasons of sending out the Voice of the Staff, we have increased the feeling of value each season, have a retention of 87 percent or more each season and our average employee has now worked over six seasons. I am very humbled to work with the people that I do, as we are all working for the common goal of making the experience the best possible when fans come through our gates at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
DenverBroncos.com: What are your goals in the future to further improve the game-day experience for guests?
EH: I want to continue to use the information that we collect from our staff to make game day better for our fans. We understand that "everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be a kind and caring person." It is our goal that any fan coming to any event at the stadium can forget about what may be on their mind, enjoy a great experience and see a Broncos victory. I also want to continue to look at technology and how we can simplify processes for our staff, continue to increase the feeling of value and better the department as a whole. If we can do this, it will translate directly to the fans.
DenverBroncos.com: And for this award, part of the application process was submitting a creative video. What was your video like, and what message did you want to come across to the committee in it?
EH: The video that I submitted consisted of why I got into the industry itself; what I consider is my proudest accomplishment; what I look to take away from a conference, Venue Connect, that the award is presented at; what I believe as a future industry leader is most important for success; and what sets our venue apart from the rest. The video was shot by our amazing production team at locations at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
What I wanted to stress to the committee is that what I have been able to accomplish has been a result of the amazing staff that we have in our guest relations department. I have consistently tried to think outside of the box in regards to collecting data from our staff and developing different methods of trainings to keep the feeling of value high. If we can keep our guest relations team happy and engaged, it directly relates to taking care of our wonderful fans.