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Search Underway For Wheeling’s Next Entertainment Director

Photo by Eric Ayres The City of Wheeling has started the process to find a replacement for Dennis Magruder, who will retire in October from his job as Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Executive Director.

WHEELING — The city of Wheeling and officials serving on its Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority board have begun the process of seeking a new executive director to fill the position later this fall.

A new executive director is being sought to oversee operations of WesBanco Arena and the Capitol Theatre and to fill the big shoes of longtime Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Executive Director Denny Magruder, who is retiring from the post after Oct. 1. Magruder, who first became manager of what was then known as the Wheeling Civic Center in 1986, is stepping down after 36½ years of award-winning service to the community.

Over the past two weeks, the board has been publicly advertising for the position as Magruder’s successor. This week, the first batch of resumes that have been received were sent out to members of the search committee for an initial review, according to Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron.

“We’ve advertised locally, as well as with the International Association of Venue Managers,” Herron said Tuesday. “We’ve received 11 resumes so far, and we do anticipate more.”

Members of the search committee include Herron and fellow Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority board members John Culler, Ned George and Kevin Duffin.

As stated in the advertisement for the new executive director, the position will remain open until it is filled, but the first review of resumes was scheduled to take place as early as Aug. 8.

According to the solicitation for applicants, the city of Wheeling is seeking a “dynamic leader with theatre facility, entertainment and sports venue experience to be its next executive director.” The current salary listed for the position is $91,000.

Herron said the search committee is looking for a qualified individual to take over duties at the city’s two key entertainment venues, and he stressed that they are interested in having an executive director – not a management company – perform these duties.

“Denny is retiring after serving a very successful term,” Herron noted. “We’re hopeful we can find someone with applicable experience. It will be the same structure in which the new executive director will report to the board. We’ll meet within the next couple of weeks to discuss the pool of potential candidates.”

The new executive director will be responsible for all management and administration of operations at the 7,000-seat WesBanco Arena and the 2,300-seat Capitol Theatre. He or she will also act as the spokesperson for both venues.

One important duty of the new executive director will also be to identify and secure events for the city’s two major entertainment venues. The city of Wheeling recently put financial backing behind this effort, creating an incentive to attract bigger names to book shows in the Friendly City.

Last year, Wheeling City Council created an entertainment endowment fund and an ad-hoc committee to assist in expediting and attracting various entertainment acts to the city’s performing arts venues.

City officials said the purpose of the new committee was to establish a group of people who are tuned into the music scene, the comedy scene and all of the other kinds of national acts who will help determine which shows might work well in the Wheeling market. The committee will provide recommendations to the Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment board, and collaboratively, the group will determine whether or not to move forward with certain shows. If a show booking is pursued, funding through the entertainment endowment could be made available to offset some of the up-front risk.

Officials noted that national promotors will be more likely to want to book shows in Wheeling if they were able to avoid the potential of absorbing the initial investment risks.

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