Izzo emphasized that the ultimate goal of the upcoming expansion project is to better serve their guests. Highlights of the project include: The addition of a new ballroom/multi-purpose space that will include an outdoor terrace; renovation of the existing North Hall; the addition of 14,000 square feet of meeting space; a new lobby; a new concourse that will seamlessly connect to the existing South Hall concourse and the Embassy Suites hotel; extension of the existing concourse leading from the Concert Hall and Arena to the newly constructed facilities; the addition of a new full-service kitchen; the extension of a South Hall garage under the newly constructed facilities; and the addition of a 1,200-guest-accommodating music hall and food/beverage venue.
The upcoming 2018 season is packed with stellar performances, events and acts that will not disappoint; Huntsville Havoc Hockey, numerous Broadway Theatre League performances (including The Sound of Music, The Book of Mormon,) comedian Jim Gaffigan, Wynonna & The Big Noise, and Celtic Woman, just to name a few!
Company Credentials & Involvement
The Von Braun Center believes in supporting the community by involvement with local organizations. Maples grew up attending the Boys & Girls Club, and continues to serve as-needed in many capacities. He was the recipient of the Leaders & Legends Award and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Huntsville Sports Commission and on the Lodging Recruitment Committee. The Von Braun Center is a major supporter of the hospitality industry with memberships in local and national organizations.
Longevity in Leadership
The VBC’s senior management team is made up of eight individuals with more than 200 years combined service. In May of 2017, the VBC celebrated 40 Years of Steve Maples. Maples is the first full-time employee to reach 40 years at the facility. He started as a part-time worker at the age of 18 and was working full time for the Von Braun Center in the Engineering Department within 2 years. Over the last 40 years Maples has seen the facility go through many changes while serving as Engineering Manager, Operations Director, Associate Director and now Executive Director and CEO. He attributes VBC’s success to a team effort. Izzo stated, “We are honored to work with and for someone like Steve Maples.”
Impacting the Community & Environment
The VBC generated an estimated $72 million in economic impact in fiscal year 2015-2016. Over 775,000 people attended a variety of events held at the center throughout the year. This reflects an 8.6% increase over the previous fiscal year. Large conventions increase spending which overflows into all sectors of the local economy, bringing new tax dollars and supporting many jobs throughout the community.
In October of 2008, the Von Braun Center kicked off its Recycling and Conservation Initiative Program and it has been going strong ever since. The Von Braun Center diverted 162.12 tons of trash from the local landfill by transporting their trash to the Waste-to-Energy facility via their waste provider, Republic Services.
Taking energy savings seriously, the Von Braun Center commits to achieve at least a 20% reduction in energy consumption within the next 10 years. “The Von Braun Center is serious about tackling wasted energy,” said Johnny Hunkapiller, Certified Energy Manager and the Von Braun Center’s Director of Projects. Hunkapillar continued, “The Von Braun Center campus is poised to grow significantly in the next few years and we want to make sure our energy expenses stay as low as possible.”