Executive Director named for KSU Sports and Entertainment Park
Facility welcomes more than 300,000 visitors annually
Kerns has been at Kennesaw State since January 2015, when he was named assistant general manager of the Sports and Entertainment Park. He succeeds Marty Elliott, who became general manager of the Miller Theater in Augusta.
Kerns oversees all operations, event management, guest experience, technical operations, turf management and capital planning for venues within the department. The 88-acre Sports and Entertainment Park – which includes Fifth Third Bank Stadium, an NCAA-regulation track, seven competition fields, sand volleyball courts, an indoor training facility and a walking/jogging trail – hosts more than 300,000 visitors annually to its sporting events, programs, concerts and festivals.
“Kennesaw State and this department are positioned to do great things,” Kerns said. “The impact this department can have is tremendous. It spans across our students, staff, faculty and community to have far-reaching implications for the University as well as the surrounding area.”
Kerns’ contributions extend to the classroom, as he has begun work with KSU’s Department of Leadership and Integrative Studies to develop and offer courses in venue administration. An introductory class was offered this spring and additional course offerings are planned, with the goal of establishing an interdisciplinary major that integrates venue administration with business.
Opportunities for students also are available through Night Owl Productions, the student group responsible for the day-to-day operations of Fifth Third Bank Stadium. Student employees oversee operations such as marketing, facilities, hospitality and ticket sales, and are paid through revenues generated from events.
“Night Owl Productions allows us to create student employment that is student engagement,” Kerns said. “The influence this can have on our students cannot be overstated. This model gives us the opportunity to help create the next generations of event and venue professionals through experiential learning.”
Kerns speaks from experience – his first job in the venue management industry was as a Clemson University student through the Federal Work-Study program. He advanced through the ranks at Clemson, becoming the general manager of Littlejohn Coliseum and the senior associate director of campus life for facilities and operations.
Kerns currently serves on the International Association of Venue Managers stadiums committee and Region 5 scholarship committee. He, his wife Lauren and their two children live in Kennesaw.
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.