BROOKINGS – Mike Logan is liking his new job as general manager of the Swiftel Center, saying he’s been moving up to this position for a while.
His first official day was Aug. 1, but he’s spent a good share of the summer helping staff transition from VenuWorks’ management to Spectra’s.
“For being a month in, I’m way more comfortable than I thought I was gonna be,” Logan said.
Logan took the job because he and his wife wanted a small-town community.
“When the opportunity came up to visit Brookings, I jumped at it, and you definitely see the vibrant community here,” Logan said.
Logan and his wife, Monica, have two sons: Liam will turn 3 in a few months and Cooper is just a few months old. Their dog, Oliver, is a Lab-mix.
Logan was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up and graduated from high school in the Hudson Valley area.
“(I) wanted to get out and explore different things in the country,” Logan said.
He liked the outdoors, including bike riding and skiing, and a professor in high school had attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
“He thought that was a good avenue for me to look at, and I did,” Logan said.
He moved to Fort Collins in 2006 and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Colorado State University in tourism management. Monica earned her master’s degree there, as well.
All in all, Logan spent about a decade in Colorado getting that education and working.
He credits Monica with being “the backbone and rock of the family as she’s been following me around all over the country since Colorado, so shout-out to her. … It’s been a little bit of an adventure.”
“To be honest, I thought I was gonna run ski resorts for a career,” Logan said.
He worked for Vail Resorts as an intern, doing part-time jobs during college. He started working part-time for the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland, Colorado, which is managed by Spectra.
“I’ve been around Spectra for a little over a decade; officially working for Spectra … full-time for seven years now,” Logan said.
Part of his job in operations was set-up and tear-downs for events that included hockey games.
“It was just really cool to get my foot in the door in that environment. I worked really hard out there for about six years. I worked a variety of jobs in the events and operations departments,” Logan said.
He was the senior events manager for about two years at the Budweiser Events Center before moving to Des Moines, Iowa, to be director of events at the Iowa Events Center, where he stayed for three and a half years.
His next gig was at the NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates in Illinois, where he was assistant general manager for two years.
Then he made the move to the Swiftel.
“The goal always was growth with Spectra. I felt like when I transitioned from Fort Collins to Des Moines, there was a growth path presented to me with the end goal to be in the general manager role,” Logan said.
He was part of a Spectra leadership group a few years ago and says the company prepares employees for their next roles.
“It was only a matter of time before I would get the opportunity to grow into a role like this,” Logan said.
“Now, life has taken me to Brookings, South Dakota, which is something – I never thought I would live in South Dakota, but it’s been a bit of a blessing so far,” Logan said.
He came for the job, but the location was important, too.
“I was in the Chicago market during COVID, and my wife and I really felt like we needed a sense of community,” Logan said, adding they were going for “a small-town feel” like they had when they went to college in Fort Collins, Colorado.
“We just felt like, ‘man, if we could have something a little bit similar to that, with a safe and active community, that’s where we want to be,’” Logan said. “That’s what drew me to Brookings.”
Being a native New Yorker and having lived in Chicago and Iowa, the winters in Brookings don’t scare him.
“I was in the northwest Chicagoland, where I feel that the wind you feel here in South Dakota ends in the parking lot of the arena that I worked at,” Logan said. “No stranger to the cold and the snow. I like the seasons.”
“The Swiftel Center is busy during the winter months, and that’s the positive. That’s when we do a lot of our content, (when) people want to be, obviously, inside in the Midwest in the wintertime,” Logan said.
“Good thing I have a big facility that allows a lot of people to come inside,” he added with a laugh.
Whatever it takes
Officially, Logan started as general manager Aug. 1, but he was meeting with Swiftel staff all through July.
His job is to manage the day-to-day operations of the Swiftel Center.
“That’s everything from booking the facility to managing staff and managing finances of the facility, making sure we’re running an efficient business. But I wear many hats,” Logan said.
His past experience includes bookings and running shows, running events and departments, and he “was heavily involved in budgets.”
Since he started in the business from the ground up, he’s done many of the jobs his staff has, and he sees that as an advantage.
“I have an extreme respect for all department roles, ’cause the chances are I’ve been in something similar over my career,” Logan said. “I do like, actually, to get out of my office and help set up and stuff. I’m no stranger to building some stages or mowing the lawn or helping out wherever I can.”
His previous jobs were more “behind the scenes,” and he’s looking forward to taking a more public role.
As general manager, he’s to be “the face of the Swiftel Center,” which brings him into a more visible role in the community, including working with media and giving presentations to the city council.
Lots to do
It’s his job to make the place run smoothly, and there’s lots to do because there’s lots happening.
“We pride ourselves on being a multi-purpose facility,” Logan said.
The facility hosts everything from music concerts to large family shows, conventions, meetings, trade shows, weddings and lunches. The Swiftel Center has handled a number of agriculture events, from large rodeos to small cattle shows.
“Anything that people need space for. Things a little outside the box, too,” Logan said.
The Willie Nelson concert on Aug. 11 was not only successful, but it was the first concert the Swiftel has had since the Brett Young concert in February 2020, just before COVID-19 shut everything down.
That first concert was good to get under their belt, “not only good for Spectra and myself and the team here to get one back. … It’s a little bit like riding a bike in a way,” Logan said. “It was great for the community, too, so it’s like ‘let’s move forward and do more events.’”
“I’ve been here a month, I’d say we’ve had 15-plus events,” Logan said.
They just finished hosting the Disabled American Veterans Poker Run. He and the staff were gearing up for a Brookings High School cheer event, luncheons for the Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce, “Price is Right Live” on Oct. 2, and the Pink Ladies Dart Tournament right after that.
“(I) just look forward to hearing what the community has to say, ’cause you learn a lot,” Logan said.
Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]