Rod Haden has played several different roles since beginning his career at the Erwin Center in 1999. From working in the administrative offices to supervising event staff to assisting with computer services, Rod has seen it all. As we prepare to begin a new season, Rod shares what makes our beloved venue so special to him and why he wakes up every morning excited to go to work.
“I joined the Erwin Center in 1999 and quickly fell in love. What we do here is so special; a crazy combination of show business, athletics, academics and everything in between. Where else could I ever hope to work where I might come in behind clowns and elephants or spend my afternoon listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama? I’ve helped insert batteries into thousands of red, white and blue lights handed out to fans before the Dixie Chicks concert and I’ve walked miles of concourse wiping up gallons of spilled beer and wine. I never know what I’m going to get when I come to work and I love it like no other job I’ve ever had.
We start our year on Sept. 1, with the fresh and hopeful feeling of a new academic year and a new football season; where all things are possible. Academic career fairs in September give way to Longhorn Halloween in October, with student groups and the children of the University community equally sugared up. The heavy lifting starts in November with basketball season. The home seasons of not one, but two basketball teams keep us busy right through the spring. Family shows come next, with more sugared up kids, and before we know it the academic year has ended already and it’s time for high school graduations and University commencements, one after another. Walking through the building, I can feel the students’ and their families’ pride in accomplishment and hope for the future filling the air everywhere I look.
And of course our shows are year-round; filling our seats and our concourses with people who want, expect and deserve nothing less than to have the time of their lives. And we do it over and over and over again. What a way to make a living!
This past year was one of our busiest and most successful ever. Our basketball season was interspersed with an incredible run of shows like Gabriel Iglesias, UFC, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, the Black Keys, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, SHINE ON- The Pink Floyd Experience Featuring the Laser Spectacular, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Church, Stevie Wonder, Neil Diamond, The Who, the iHeart Country Festival, Ed Sheeran, the Eagles, Shania Twain and Sam Smith plus our old friends and favorites like Disney Live!, World Wrestling Entertainment, the Harlem Globetrotters, Sesame Street Live and new friends like Monster Jam and Arenacross. We crashed into June practically reeling from lack of sleep!
So we slowed down through the end of June and the beginning of July. We took time for vacations and got together for leisurely lunches. We chatted over cookies and coffee. And now, we’re buckling our seat belts and starting to hear the engines spinning up again. August brought us Shania Twain and Sam Smith and all of the crazy fun of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus, getting us back in the swing for another new start in September. When I walk around the building, I see the Facility Crew polishing up the terrazzo. I see the Stage Department working the sewing machines on double time, getting the curtains and drapes ready, laying out the rafter banners all over the south tunnel. The Maintenance Department has the scoreboard all the way down, dwarfing the team that’s working on it and soon, we’ll smell and hear the basketball floor getting its annual makeover.
I hope you come join me in my love affair with this building, a love affair that’s renewed fresh each year. We’re getting ready for you, and we have something here for everyone. I can’t wait to see you as we go around again, one more time.”
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