The Stevie Awards Blog

Entertainment Chain GameWorks Goes “All In” with Esports Investment

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jun 13, 2019 @ 11:14 AM

GameWorks, a complete entertainment destination with seven venues nationwide, is a key influencer in the reshaping of the Family Entertainment Center (FEC) industry. The FECs of yesterday were mainly comprised of large arcades, anchored by pinball and the beloved Pac Man machines, and they became the place to be for families, friends and teens.

Today, expansive, brightly lit entertainment centers dominate this landscape, and GameWorks, the specialty entertainment chain based in San Francisco, California, United States, feels poised to grow its share of the market, particularly with its natural evolution and rapid progression into the esports realm. Esports is taking the entertainment sector by storm.

GW_Esports3

That’s the chain’s secret weapon - Esports lounges. Located in each venue, these lounges cater to fans of competitive gaming, including both players and spectators. Each of the rooms is equipped with 20-40 PCs and consoles, along with a library of approximately 100 popular video games, says Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Philip N. Kaplan.

The lounges accommodate about one hundred guests each, all of whom can play against one another in casual competition or participate in one of the roughly two hundred tournaments held at GameWorks locations every month. According to Kaplan, the company is also planning to bring in more players for local and regional tournaments in the coming months.

“GameWorks is recognized nationally for its esports emphasis,” he says. “Esports is growing quickly , and GameWorks is focused on expanding in this area. GameWorks, with its decades of gaming experience, organically segued into esports over the years, and now, has the perfect platform from which to grow.”

Riding the Esports Wave

GameWorks is outwardly optimistic about its foray into esports, due to the rapid growth and broad interest both in the U.S. and globally..

The company was founded in 1996 as a joint venture between Sega, Universal Studios, and DreamWorks SKG, and the bold experiment, which involved taking on more entrenched competitors, such as Dave & Buster’s, didn’t exactly go as planned.

After ramping up its presence around the country, the organization filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and again in 2010, changed ownership several times, and shuttered many of its locations. In 2017, the esports tournament business Oomba bought GameWorks and enacted a plan to make competitive gaming a staple of its new layout.

Last year, however, it changed hands once again. One of its lenders, ExWorks Capital, acquired the chain, and under the leadership of Philip N. Kaplan, the new chairman and CEO, GameWorks is doubling down on its esports strategy. Earlier this year, it added lounges to four additional locations in Virginia, United States; Illinois, United States; Minnesota, United States; and Kentucky, United States.

For Kaplan and his team, this is a way to capitalize on the skyrocketing growth of competitive gaming. The consulting firm Activate predicts esports viewership will reach 84 million by 2021, a bigger audience than that currently watching professional baseball or basketball, and because most of the fans are in the 18 to 34 year-old age bracket, esports also has the potential to bring in a key demographic.

Additionally, the team members who work and operate the esports lounges are competitive gamers in their own right, something Kaplan says brings more excitement to the offering.

“Gaming is on the rise, even in high schools,” says Kaplan. “Companies that have frameworks built and foundations from which to grow will succeed in the esports space. As far as we know, we are the only national entertainment venue that already had a footing in esports, even before the industry took off.”

New Leadership, New Culture

The new chief executive sees gaming as a big part of the future of the company, which earned a Silver StevieⓇ Award for Achievement in Management in the hospitality and leisure segment.

“As an established leader in competitive gaming and entertainment, GameWorks is well positioned to capitalize on this burgeoning space,” says Kaplan. “Our strong foothold in esports, including lounges in every location, further strengthens our leadership position and will serve as a springboard for future growth.”

Under his watch, the company is also hoping to cash in on gaming activity outside of its own entertainment centers. Earlier this year, it announced a partnership with SCCG Management, which will bring lounges to casinos around the country. At these locations, visitors can bet on esports competitions. It’s calling the venture “Play by GameWorks.”

The expanded effort within esports isn’t the only part of Kaplan’s turnaround strategy, himself the winner of a Gold Stevie for Maverick of the Year in the consumer services category. The former healthcare IT executive is trying to reshape the organization’s top-down managerial approach in favor of a more collaborative culture. Kaplan has also put in place a “top three” philosophy, where the company focuses its efforts on business units that have the most impact on the bottom line.

Recent corporate changes are giving the organization the foundation and confidence that it won’t repeat setbacks of the past.

“With the right owners and management in place, GameWorks is on a new trajectory toward success,” he says. “The Stevie Awards are proof to our team these efforts truly paid off and made a difference.

Tags: new product awards, maverick of the year

Serving All Your Video Ad Needs with SpotX

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Tue, Feb 13, 2018 @ 02:45 PM

Media owners look for technology they can trust to help them gain complete control over monetized content with video advertising. SpotX is a company in the United States that considers themselves to be a one-stop solution, offering modern ad serving and sophisticated programmatic capabilities with an entire suite of integrations and ad units across all devices. This work has led them to win the Gold Stevie® Award for “Maverick of the Year” in The 2017 American Business Awards

Getting the message across

SpotX-Cofounders-1.jpg

SpotX is a video advertising and monetization platform with 20 offices across the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific. Their technology powers modern ad serving, programmatic enablement, and other advanced video monetization tools for a variety of different media owners, such as PBS, Spotify, E.W. Scripps, Zynga, and Conde Nast. In October 2017, RTL Group, a leader across broadcast, content and digital, completed its 100% acquisition of SpotX which is currently combining its business with smartclip, a sister company. SpotX was founded in 2007 by Mike Shehan and Steve Swoboda, CEO and CFO respectively, and has nearly 600 employees.

Exceptional leadership

Publishers use SpotX to connect all of their demand sources—ad networks, DSPs (demand-side platforms), trading desks, and exchanges—creating a single place where media owners have complete control and actionable insights to maximize revenue. Mike Shehan is excited about the attention they’ve received.

“This award has helped us elevate our Chief Revenue Officer in-market and highlighted his exceptional leadership across members of our global team.”

Shehan continues on about how the Stevies specifically impacted their Chief Revenue Officer.

“Our Stevies winner, Sean Buckley, was named Chief Revenue Officer at SpotX last year at the age of 29, making him the fourth C-level executive at our company. Sean's tenacity and deep knowledge of the complex ad tech industry have contributed to his rapid rise and we're thrilled to have such a dynamic leader as a member of our team.”

Adapting to the Future

SpotX is deeply involved in the ongoing industry discussion around the rise of OTT video and the rapid adoption of programmatic advertising across desktop, mobile, and connected TV devices. “We've gained an early foothold in the burgeoning Asia-Pacific region, where mobile adoption over the last few years has spurred enormous growth in video advertising,” says Shehan.

As a leader in the over-the-top (OTT) video space, SpotX continues to drive home the importance of understanding how media buyers and sellers think about OTT advertising. In February 2018, the company announced detailed insights about the current state of video advertising on OTT in a report called “TV is Total Video: Predicting OTT and the Future of Video Advertising.” SpotX also announced a strategic integration with JW Player to launch Video Player Bidding, a new way to help reduce video latency and improve monetization for publishers with just one click.

SpotX is also a strong proponent of the server-to-server bidding model for ad inventory, aiming to educate the industry on the many benefits and efficiencies that it provides for media owners. Shehan comments on an organizational change they made that helped solidify their success today.

“We united the departments that serve our two distinct groups of customers under central leadership, spurring collaboration across our global teams.”

The adaptability of leadership in making sure that you’re always innovating and staying ahead of the competition is crucial in the world of video, and SpotX is all about “X marks the spot.”

Tags: Advertising awards, video awards, maverick of the year

American Business Awards 2016: Management Awards Judging Committee

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 @ 04:05 PM

We invite you to meet The 2016 American Business Awards Management Awards judging chair and committee.

Now through the end of April, the professionals listed below will determine the Stevie Award winners in more than 40 categories for executives, management teams, and more. See the full list of categories they will be reviewing at the end of the post.

It's not too late to submit your 2016 American Business Awards nominations - the entry deadline was extended to April 19. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations -- public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small. The 2016 awards honor achievements since the beginning of 2015.

REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

Meet the judging chair and committee:

Chair:

Jay Starkman, CEO
Engage PEO, Hollywood, Florida, USA

16_ABA_MGT_Chair-2.pngIn 2011, after more than two decades marked by substantial achievement within and outside the Professional Employer Organization (PEO) industry, Jay set out to build a new kind of PEO where quality service would be the driving focus of everything. That PEO is Engage. Today, Engage is one of the fastest-growing companies in the country.

Before forming Engage, Jay was president and CEO of AlphaStaff, a PEO, which he grew from a small player to a top-five industry leader. Jay sold the company in 2008 to a private equity group. Prior to AlphaStaff, Jay was president and CEO of OneChem, a software application provider to the chemical industry.  He also was managing partner of his own successful law firm, which specialized, in employment and commercial law. Among his numerous leadership awards, Jay most recently received the Gold Stevie® Award for Executive of the Year in the 2015 American Business Awards, and the Gold Award for Chief Executive Officer of the Year in the 2015 Golden Bridge Awards.

Jay is a previous member of the board of directors of the Employee Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC), the accrediting body for the PEO industry; and the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO).

Committee:

Christine Barney Christine Barney, CEO
rbb Communications, Coral Gables, Florida, USA
Christine Barney is CEO of rbb Communications, a four-time national Agency of the Year winner and Champion of Breakout Brands (TM). Barney develops marketing/communications programs for brands including DHL Express, Hilton, Mrs. Butterworths and Thomson Reuters. Barneys employee-driven workplace philosophy makes the firm a repeated best-place-to-work company.

Dr. Kevin ChenDr. Kevin Chen, President & CEO
Business Methods Corporation, Randolph, New Jersey, USA
Dr. Kevin S. Chen is currently the President / CEO of Business Methods Corporation (A Management Consulting and Promotional Marketing/Advertising Specialties firm). Dr. Chen is currently the First Vice-Chair of the Better Business Bureau of New Jersey and a member of several academic business advisory councils. He also teaches Master and Doctoral level courses at several colleges.

Drew DippolitoDrew Dippolito, President
Active Leadership, LLC, New York, New York, USA
Drew Dippolito is the founder of Active Leadership LLC - a recent start-up focused on leadership development and the acquisition, development and retention of talent. The Management Feedback System is our flagship product. Drew was VP-HR at Deutsche Post DHL - one of the largest 15 employers in the world. Drew has an MBA from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Monica Eaton-Cardone Monica Eaton-Cardone, COO & Co-Founder
Chargebacks911, Clearwater, Florida, USA|Monica Eaton-Cardone is an author, speaker, and international entrepreneur. She specializes in creating agile, innovative products and technology systems to help merchants minimize risk and optimize profitability. Currently, Monica serves as COO of one of her recent business developments, Chargebacks911, a chargeback prevention and friendly fraud remediation firm.

Carlos Hakim Carlos Hakim, President
CLH Corporation, Miami, Florida, USA
Dr. Carlos Hakim is a neuroscientist and biomedical engineer who is dedicated to the study of the hydraulic aspects of the cranial cavity. He has co-developed micro-implantable devices for the treatment of hydrocephalus and Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, a treatable type of dementia, which is frequently misdiagnosed as Alzheimers Disease. His company is presently working towards a better understanding of these medical problems as well as developing more advanced systems for their treatment.

Danita Harn Danita Harn, CEO & Founder
Harn and Associates Back Office Solutions, Woodstock, Georgia, USA
Danita Harn, founder and CEO of Harn And Associates, has many years of experience in business across various market verticals from the gaming industry to SaaS and Commercial Real Estate. She has an extensive portfolio of hands-on experience and expertise in both ongoing operations management and rapid corporate growth. Danita served in executive positions tasked with financial turn-around tactics within a complex professional employer organization and a gaming casino. She was also the owner of 3 small companies simultaneously.

Gilvy Hernandez Gilvy Hernandez, Customer Service Training Coordinator
DHL Express Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
+10 years of Customer Service Experience in Retail / Contact Center / Customer Care environments and +5 years experience in staff training. Focused in continuous improvement and also in developing my team so they can unlock their maximum potential and keep growing personal and profesionally. Truly passionate about being centered in our customers and working as one to exceed their expectations.

Jared Kaplan Jared Kaplan, President & CEO
OppLoans, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Prior to joining Opportunity Financial as President & CEO, Jared was Executive Vice President at Insureon, the leading online agency for small business insurance. As the #2 executive at the company, he has played a number of senior operating roles including the development of its product platform and online marketing initiatives. He has also served as the company's CFO during this rapid growth phase.

Ralph LabartaRalph Labarta, Chief Technology Officer
Engage PEO, Tampa, Florida, USA
In his role as Engage PEO’s Chief Technology Officer, Ralph oversees the company’s technology and process innovation, including all customer-facing technology services. Ralph is a highly experienced senior technology executive. He has led technology operations and strategy and major product development initiatives for a national PEO as well as for leading companies in the chemical and energy industries.

Rob LeggatRob Leggat, Senior Vice President
Goddard Gunster, Washington, D.C., USA
Rob Leggat is a senior strategist for Goddard Gunster. Throughout his more than thirty-year career, Rob has managed communication and public policy campaigns for companies like General Motors Asia Pacific, and Walmart International. Prior to joining Goddard Gunster, Rob oversaw all areas of corporate communication, government and public affairs, crisis communication, and strategic philanthropy for Walmart’s fifteen international markets as vice president of Walmart International corporate affairs.

Martha Lera Martha Lera, Principal
Lera Consulting Group, Inc., Miami, Florida, USA
Ms. Lera is the Principal of LCG, Inc., established in 1997. Martha has over twenty years experience of coaching organizations and individuals to reach peak performance and new altitudes. She holds a M.S. HRD, is a certified iPEC coach and served as a faculty member at FIU. Leras clients include but are not limited to Royal Caribbean Cruises, Embraer, Ryder Systems, Master Card, Santander, Marine Harvest, Komatsu, etc.

Stuart Lindeman Stuart Lindeman, President & CEO
Mission Health Communities, Tampa, Florida, USA
Mr. Lindeman is President and Chief Executive Officer of Mission Health. Prior, he was a Senior Vice President for Revera Health Systems, where he was responsible for overall financial, clinical, operational management and direct P&L oversight for the U.S. division of Revera Inc., a 1.2 billion dollar Canadian-owned healthcare company that is a leading provider of senior care and has been in operation for over 50 years. Mr. Lindeman brings 27 years of senior housing experience to Mission.

Lloyd Lofton Lloyd Lofton, President
7 Figure Sales Tools, Marietta, Georgia, USA
Lloyd is a successful business leader with 30+ years of sales experience. He has led large sales distributions that produced $50 million or more a year in sales, and recruiting efforts that resulted in hiring over 2,000 sales professionals in one year. He has trained hundreds of managers, from field sales to executive-level leaders.

Jeremy Moore Jeremy Moore, Principal, Senior Client Manager
Mercer, Kingwood, Texas, USA
Jeremy Moore is a Principal and Sr. Client Manager for Mercer based in Houston, Texas. His primary role is business development for Mercer by providing clients with solutions to their complex needs. Jeremy brings his experience of over 20 years of sales leadership in the human resource solutions and business process consulting fields.

Judilynn NiedercornJudi Niedercorn, CEO
SysTactics, McLean, Virginia, USA
Over 30 years in technical, infrastructure and operations consulting in the Washington DC area to multi-million dollar commercial and Government organizations. Also engaged in rural economic development, consulting, and community organization. Film Producer. Stevie Award in 2001. B.S. degree from Ohio University.

Doug Nyberg Doug Nyberg, Senior Manager, Sales Excellence
Herman Miller, East Lansing, Michigan, USA
Extensive background is sales and sales leadership with the last decade focused on Sales Process and Sales Productivity.

 

Richard Ramlall Richard Ramlall, President & Principal
Ramlall Partners LLC, Ashburn, Virginia, USA
Ramlall Partners LLC provides investor relations, financial and regulatory advice & due diligence (including FCPA Compliance & Monitoring), corporate development, and strategic planning services to public and private organizations. Operational Expertise as a former/current C-Level Executive and Board Member and past winner of several ABA national and international awards.

Margaret Roth Margaret Roth, CMO, SVP of Performance Technologies
Yet Analytics/EdTechWomen, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
At Yet Analytics, a software company that builds a data analytics platform that puts the power of connected data into the hands of decision makers, Margaret focuses on development and design of connected environments. She is a Johns Hopkins University graduate, working to develop leadership opportunities for women in tech.

Rachel Sapoznik Rachel Sapoznik, President & CEO
Sapoznik Insurance, North Miami Beach, Florida, USA
Rachel Sapoznik is the CEO of Sapoznik Insurance, an industry leader in employee benefit and wellness solutions serving clients nationwide since 1987. She is recognized as a leading healthcare reform expert and a voice for corporate wellness. She recently authored a book, A Passion for Wellness, Healthy Employees, Healthy Bottom Line, which was on Amazon's new releases best seller list for four straight weeks.

Steve Scott Steve Scott, President/GM and SVP of Operations
CoAdvantage, Inc., McDonough, Georgia, USA
Steve Scott serves as President/GM Central Region & SVP of Operations for CoAdvantage. His responsibilities include all aspects of operations, inclusive of six sigma methodology and continuous process improvement.Scott holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance, is a Certified Project Manager and is a Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

Sushrut ShrotriSushrut Shrotri, Managing Partner
Novus Global Solutions, Novus Films, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, USA
Sushrut has over 21 years of consulting experience spread over 4 continents and 12 countries. He specializes in ERP, Analytics' launching successful ventures and reviving sick companies. Sushrut launched Novus Global Solutions in 2010, a unique consulting firm that delivers onsite consulting cheaper than offshore with an operating model that boasts a paperless and plastic free model. Sushrut also launched Novus Films in 2015 which has been nominated for 12 awards for its first documentary Unfathomable Reality.

Denise StefanDenise Stefan, National Account Partner Head, PEO Vertical
Aetna, Tampa, Florida, USA

 

Tiffany Stiller Tiffany Stiller, Vice President Carrier Relations
Management Development Solutions, West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
Tiffany Stiller has been with the Carrier Relations team at BenefitMall since 1999, and was named Vice President of Carrier Relations in 2004. In her current role, Stiller is responsible for negotiating carrier contracts and maintaining strong relationships with BenefitMall's carrier partners nationwide. She is also heavily involved with new product design and implementation.

Glen Waldman Glen Waldman, Founding & Managing Partner
Heller Waldman, P.L., Coconut Grove, Florida, USA
With more than 25 years of experience, Glen Waldman has built his boutique law firm to focus on the trial of complex business, commercial and probate litigation matters in areas such as contracts, fraud, fraudulent transfers, partnership disputes, will contests, construction and real estate, insurance, trademark infringement and banking.

Chris Zoloth, Director, Customer Experience Optimization - Service
IHG, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
I'm accountable for IHG's contact center customer service experience strategy. I lead a team of highly experienced process and curriculum developers, who are responsible for the guest contact process design and training curriculum development. I also direct IHG's Contact Center Quality Assurance Team, Customer Care Executive Liaison Team, Guest Relocation Support Team, Insurance and the Customer Care Hotel Liaison Team.

Management categories include:

A35. Management Team of the Year
  a. Business Products Industries
  b. Business Services Industries
  c. Consumer Products Industries
  d. Consumer Services Industries

Executive of the Year (e.g. CEO, President, COO) 
A01.    Accounting
A02.    Advertising, Marketing, & Public Relations
A03.    Aerospace & Defense    
A04.    Automotive & Transport Equipment
A05.    Banking
A06.    Business Services
A07.    Chemicals
A08.    Computer Hardware
A09.    Computer Software
  a. Up to 500 Employees
  b. More Than 500 Employees
A10.    Computer Services
A11.    Conglomerates
A12.    Consumer Products - Durables
A13.    Consumer Products - Non-Durables
A14.    Diversified Services
A15.    Electronics
A16.    Energy
A17.    Financial Services
A18.    Food & Beverage
A19.    Health Products & Services
A20.    Hospitality & Leisure
A21.    Insurance
A22.    Internet/New Media
A23.    Legal
A24.    Manufacturing
A25.    Materials & Construction
A26.    Media & Entertainment
A27.    Metals & Mining
A28.    Non-Profit or Government Organizations
A29.    Real Estate
A30.    Retail
A31.    Pharmaceuticals
A32.    Telecommunications
A33.    Transportation
A34.    Utilities

A36. Maverick of the Year: recognizing the individual who's affected the most positive change on his or her company and/or industry since the beginning of 2015
  a. Business Products Industries
  b. Business Services Industries
  c. Consumer Products
  d. Consumer Services

A37. Tech Innovator of the Year (recognizing the individual who's contributed most to innovation, within their organization and/or industry, in the U.S.A. since the beginning of 2015)

A38. Woman of the Year: recognizing the achievements of women in the workplace since the beginning of 2015

Tags: management awards, executive of the year, maverick of the year, management team of the year

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