Manager hired to oversee winter games

Posted: Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Following an intensive three-month talent search, the Kenai Peninsula 2006 Arctic Winter Games Host Society has hired a Fairbanks man with an extensive background in winter sports events and youth athletics to be its general manager.

Loren Smith will oversee all aspects of the production of the peninsula games scheduled for March 2006.

"Mr. Smith brings a terrific set of credentials to the position and is an excellent choice to lead the 2006 Arctic Winter Games effort," said Host Society President Dale Bag-ley, mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough. "Loren has great enthusiasm for the work ahead and will do an outstanding job."

The search for a general manager began in August. Smith was chosen from among more than 60 applicants from the United States and Canada.

Smith's background includes stints as:

Assistant venue transpor-tation manager of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Director of operations for the 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Anchorage.

Sports director of the 1996 Arctic Winter Games in Eagle River.

Chef de mission for Team Alaska in the 1994 and 1998 Arctic Winter Games.

Manager of the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, 1989-91.

Program manager for the Fairbanks Northstar Borough Parks and Recreation Department, 1974-89.

Venue manager for the 1982 and 1988 Arctic Winter Games.

Smith was traveling Tuesday and unavailable for comment. However, he was quoted in a Host Society press release Tuesday.

"I am proud and honored to be given this opportunity to lead the effort to make the 2006 Arctic Winter Games the best games ever!" Smith said. "I believe my many years of experience with the Arctic Winter Games, the Special Olympics Winter Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics will be of great benefit to the 2006 Kenai Peninsula Arctic Winter Games, and I can't wait to get started."

According to the Host Society, Smith "will be responsible for managing the planning, operation, development, promotion, fund-raising, staging and post-games activities of the 2006 Arctic Winter Games and will also manage and be responsible for the supervision of all staff and volunteers to ensure the success of the 2006 games."

Smith is scheduled to begin work Dec. 15, based in the newly opened 2006 Arctic Winter Games offices on the second floor of the Fire Training Center in Kenai.

The 2006 games are expected to draw more than 2,000 athletes and cultural performers and 1,500 special guests from seven participating circumpolar nations, according to the Host Society. More than 3,000 volunteers will be needed to put on the seven-day event that is expected to attract between 6,000 and 8,000 spectators.

The budget, including two years of development, is projected at $5.3 million in cash and in-kind contributions.

Bill Popp, Host Society chair of the Revenue Development Com-mittee and temporary press officer for the games, said games' officials are working to secure the necessary funding.

"We are very excited about upcoming announcements in December and January as we finalize details on a number of corporate contributions we have been working on for several months," Popp said.

He declined to name the companies, but said the contributions would be substantial.

So far, the Host Society has raised $380,000 from private and public contributions, including the $200,000 given by the Kenai Peninsula Borough. The borough is expected to donate around $500,000 over the course of three years.

Popp said they've projected about $800,000 from in-kind goods and services, with an additional $400,000 to come from ticket and merchandise sales.

"Of the remaining $4.1 million, about half will come from corporate and individual donations, and the other half from federal, state and municipal contributions," Popp said.

So far, things are going about as expected, he said.

"We are on track and are about where we thought we would be at this time. I'm confident that funds will come in as needed. We are waiting on federal appropriations from Sen. Ted Stevens' office, and will be working diligently to get corporate contributions taken care of."

Popp said companies that contribute would have the opportunity to sponsor events and receive recognition for their support of the Arctic Winter Games.

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