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Tony Vitrano: A Master of Ceremonies

Tony Vitrano
Tony Vitrano, '83

Summer 2009--Tony Vitrano, ’83, knows a thing or two about throwing a good party. But the parties he now targets are a long way from anything he might have experienced in downtown Fredonia during his college days.

Vitrano has played a key role in many of the biggest events on the planet in recent years, from Super Bowls to Olympic games.

The Dunkirk native and School of Business alumnus is the Founder and CEO of two companies with unparalleled experience in the event management and transportation industry. His Gameday Management Group, founded in 1994, has been behind-the-scenes at many of the world’s highest profile events, including the 1994 World Cup, 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the Daytona 500, the G8 Summit, a Presidential Inauguration, numerous major college football bowl games, and every NFL Super Bowl since 2000. Then, in 2003, he launched a companion entity, ClickandPark.com, which is revolutionizing the way people plan for and travel to events of various sizes and scope all across North America.

Vitrano shared his story of how a kid from Chautauqua County went from being a banker to a highly successful entrepreneur when he returned on April 22 as a guest speaker for the School of Business’ Speaker Series Luncheon. His talk, “Getting the Job and Getting it Done: from Super Bowls to Olympics,” was enjoyed by numerous faculty, staff and local business community members.
Although he now calls Orlando home, his travels often have him settling in to new locations, as the logistics and behind-the-scenes preparation for many of these events often take years of planning. For example, one of his latest clients, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, has meant Tony’s been calling Northwest Canada “home” for over a year.

“You’re essentially being asked to come in and create brand new infrastructures and transportation systems and manage volumes of people the likes of which these locations have never experienced,” Vitrano explained. “You have to work very closely with numerous civic and professional groups over many, many months to make something like this go off without a hitch.”

Vitrano has become renowned for his “hands-on” approach, having worked in the business for more than two decades, which has evolved considerably in its complexity following the terrorist attacks of September 2001.

“Safety and security were always major issues for any event,” Vitrano confirms, “but obviously things became elevated after 9/11.”

Vitrano’s record of providing on-time, on-budget transport services has made him a popular choice to head many of the most complicated transportation projects, including the 2009 NCAA Final Four held at Ford Field in Detroit this past March — the first time the event was ever held in an NFL football stadium, which allowed for record in-person attendance for one of the nation’s premier annual athletic events.

Tony’s operational knowledge and commitment to detail has led his two companies to levels of success that in many ways have surprised even him, and he knows what an important role Fredonia played in helping him achieve the marvelous career he has today.

“I obviously didn’t come to Fredonia knowing this was what I was going to be doing with my life,” Vitrano admits. “And clearly, there’s no ‘major’ anywhere for my line of work. But Fredonia, without question, taught me all of the little things I needed to know about working with people and succeeding in business. I don’t think this would have happened for me otherwise.”

During his visit, Tony was also enthusiastically welcomed by students in Fredonia’s Integrated Marketing Communications and Entrepreneurship classes, and he’s continuing his support of his alma mater as a member of the School of Business Advisory Council.
 

posted @ Wednesday, August 19, 2009 1:50 PM by Christine Davis Mantai

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