LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — While brainstorming super cool job ideas, we kept thinking big -- big and unique. What’s big? How about monster truck driver, musician or pro athlete?
Well, we don’t know who drives the Grave Digger and don’t happen to be best friends with Bruno Mars, but we met some people who hang out with those folks all the time: Verizon Arena Manager Michael Marion and Director of Marketing Jana DeGeorge.
In case you haven’t met THV11's Adam Bledsoe, he doesn’t go to the movies or concerts. He would love to go, but it just never works out. On another note, he’s never met anyone famous other than the folks at THV!
Adam and photojournalist JY were blown away after walking in the Verizon Arena administration office, taking in the sights of all the autographed concert posters. Michael and Jana invited us into their world for a couple of hours. If concerts and entertainment are your cup of tea, a visit with them would overfill your cup.
Watching Michael and Jana reminisce about their favorite concerts or most memorable events was fascinating. Jana said her favorite performance of all time was Bruno Mars, while Michael loved Bruce Springsteen. He loves “The Boss” so much he’s seen him 25 times.
Michael started his career in 1975 at Mississippi State working as the chairman for the concert committee. He booked Billy Joel for $4,500 and has been in the industry ever since.
In 1999 Jana showed up at the Verizon Arena looking for a job. She said she waited in the lobby to visit with someone important. Wouldn’t you know it, she met the main man, General Manager Michael Marion. She was hired to answer phones, but that only lasted about two weeks before she was moved to marketing, where she’s been ever since.
Michael is responsible for all the events at Verizon Arena. He works with various agents to get the entertainment to central Arkansas. Jana is responsible for marketing the events, taking care of backstage and taking care of the performers in general.
They said that no two days are alike. They try to plan in as great of detail as possible, but sometimes things pop up they must handle. Jana shared a story about how one performer broke a tooth and needed to visit with a dentist on a Sunday, and Jana was responsible for making that happen.
Jana showed us around backstage to include the dressing rooms, kitchen and the super cool game room. JY got to play ping pong with Jana on the very table Shania Twain played on prior to her concert. We were then taken through the loading dock and finally to the stadium floor. To some, it may not seem like a big deal to get to do this, but Adam was beside himself. Apparently, he’s never had VIP treatment before.
Jana and Michael have met so many big stars in their past. They absolutely love their job, and you know what Adam says…YOU GET PAID FOR THAT? They’re living the dream!