The rapidly evolving role of course operations
As the 2017 Running USA Industry Conference approaches, we want to introduce attendees and the industry at-large to our incredible speakers and panelists.
With an industry increasingly focused on safety and security, as well as how best to operate within stricter permitting standards, the role of technology and more, we're excited for our Race Camp on Course Operations at this year's Running USA Industry Conference, which is being co-led by Aaron Nemzer, director of events at DMSE, who brings a wealth of experience in course management.
Running USA (RUSA): What's your current role in the industry? What does your day-to-day work look like?
Aaron Nemzer (AN): My current title is Director of Events for DMSE Sports. For all the events that we manage, including the BAA Boston Marathon, I act as the Course Operations Manager. My days are mostly spent applying for permits, meeting with public safety agencies, creating course maps, and figuring out how many cones and barricades to use on the course.
RUSA: How did you first get into the running industry?
AN: I first got into the industry through my dad. He's worked with Dave (McGillivray) for as long as I can remember, so I kind of grew up around the industry. I first started tagging along with my dad to events when I was about 10 years old. Then, I began working for DMSE during the summer while I was in high school, helping out at the warehouse, loading/unloading trucks, etc. I continued to work events when I could while I was in college. When I graduated college, I needed a job and DMSE had an open position, so it was kind of a perfect fit for me!
RUSA: You'll be moderating the Course Operations Race Camp. What's one trend you're seeing in course operations right now, good or bad?
AN: One big trend that I'm still seeing is the increased concern for security. Obviously, security has been beefed up at most races over the last few years, but I'm still constantly working on ways to do more. Whether it's adding more officers or barricades on the course, or setting up cameras along the route, the concern for safety is ever-present.
RUSA: Where do you believe the biggest opportunity in course operations lies in 2017?
AN: Similar to other areas of race operations, I think there is a great opportunity to increase the role of technology in course operations, whether it's to help with the planning of an event, like an interactive online map to show where "stuff" goes on the course, or increased technology to track runners as they move down course.
RUSA: Working at DMSE, you put on multiple races. What's one tip on how you manage numerous races throughout the year?
AN: Don't procrastinate. We all love to do it, but there's nothing worse than leaving something until the last minute, then scrambling to get it done. When you're working on multiple races at the same time, it's great if you can stay ahead of things, so you don't feel too overwhelmed with everything you have to do.
RUSA: What's your favorite part about attending the Running USA Industry Conference?
AN: My favorite part of the conference is learning from colleagues in the industry how they do things. It's easy to get trapped in your own little bubble and think that your way is the only way to do something. But when you meet other people who are doing the same work as you are, it can be eye opening and very helpful to learn from them.
To learn more about the 2017 Running USA Industry Conference and see Aaron Nemzer speak, please visit: https://www.runningusa.org/running-usa-annual-conference