February 28 at 8:30 a.m.

2020 Sport, Recreation & Tourism Summit

Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management is pleased to bring you this special one-day conference geared toward students that may be interested in entering the exciting career fields of sport and recreation management, or the tourism industry. The half-day, information packed summit, now in its fourth year, will kick-off with a continental breakfast and keynote address, and will feature a cross-section of panelists from education and industry.

This year’s list of panelists include athletic directors from the high school and collegiate level, as well as representatives from New York Athletic Club, Niagara Police Athletic League, Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Pegula Sports and Entertainment, Visit Buffalo Niagara, City of Buffalo, Seneca Gaming Corporation, and Doubletree by Hilton in downtown Niagara Falls.

Register Today!

If you are pursuing a career in sport recreation management, tourism, or a related field, this event will allow you a unique glimpse into what’s happening in the industry today. You will not want to miss this one-of-a-kind event — and it’s completely FREE to attend!

Keynote

Jack Armstrong

Jack Armstrong, Toronto Raptors Game Analyst, TSN & TSN 1050 / Studio Analyst, NBA TV Canada

Jack Armstrong is in his 22nd season with the Toronto Raptors organization, and serves as the analyst on all TSN and TSN 1050 Toronto games. Armstrong also provides pre- and postgame analysis for NBA TV Canada. He has worked in the past as a radio analyst for the Raptors following a successful 14-year coaching career at the collegiate level, including nine years as head coach of the Niagara University Purple Eagles.

In addition to his duties with the Raptors, Armstrong is a studio analyst at TSN for the NCAA Tournament, NBA Finals and NBA Draft; and a television analyst for NCAA basketball on CBS Sports Network, Comcast, Empire Sports Network, Fox Sports, MASN TV and New York/MSG, while also working with ESPN’s regional coverage and the Atlantic 10 Conference TV Network. His commentating also extended to the WNBA where he worked for MSG on New York Liberty telecasts for two seasons.

Armstrong has received many accolades during his broadcasting career, including three Canadian Screen Awards for Best Sports Analyst in a Sports Program or Series (2017, 2018, and 2019). His 2017 win marked the first time a basketball analyst received this prestigious honor. He was also nominated for an Emmy for his work on Liberty telecasts on MSG TV Network during the 2002 season.

Armstrong’s nine years as head coach at NU was the third-longest in school history and his 100 career wins rank fourth on the school’s all-time chart. Armstrong had his most successful season in 1992-93 when he led the Purple Eagles to a 23-7 record and a spot in the National Invitational Tournament. The accomplishments earned him Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and New York State Division I Coach of the Year awards. Despite his success on the court, Armstrong is still most proud of his 100 per cent player graduation rate during his stint as head coach.

Sport Panel

Dr. Kristie Bowers

Dr. Kristie Bowers, Senior Associate Director of Athletics/SWA, Boston University Athletics

Dr. Kristie Bowers joined the Boston University department of athletics in 2019 as the senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator. In her role, Dr. Bowers oversees student-athlete academics, leadership, wellness, and strength, and conditioning, as well as serving as the sport administrator to women’s soccer, women’s field hockey, women’s basketball and men’s lacrosse. She is also responsible for Title IX compliance, admissions and liaising to various departments across the campus to meet the needs of the student-athletes, coaches and staff within the department. Further, Dr. Bowers serves on the Patriot League’s sport management committee and the committee on athletic administration. Prior to Boston University, Bowers was a member of the Binghamton University athletic department for eight years, serving most recently as the assistant athletic director for student-athlete support and development. Her career in higher education began in 2003 as an active member – both on and off the field – of the Division I Binghamton women’s soccer team. Dr. Bowers remained active in soccer after graduation, transitioning into coaching at Western Carolina University (2007-2009) and then back to Binghamton (2011-2016). A two-time alumnae of Binghamton, Bowers received a doctorate of philosophy in community and public affairs in 2017 and her bachelor of science in human development in 2007.

Simon Gray

Simon Gray, Athletic Director, Niagara University Athletics

Simon Gray, who has been at the helm of the Niagara University athletics department since 2014, has focused on a collaborative approach to highlight critical interdependencies across campus. He has placed an emphasis on the student-athlete experience, including building a strong student-athlete affairs program that has put NU at the forefront of addressing and implementing initiatives for the improvement of student-athlete welfare, such as introducing a mental health counselor for the department of athletics.

The Purple Eagles have celebrated success in the field of competition with Gray as the director of athletics. The Purple Eagles baseball team qualified for the MAAC Tournament (2018) for the first time in 12 seasons and the women's tennis team was the runner up in 2015 MAAC Tournament. NU has celebrated individual MAAC champions in swimming and diving and four student-athletes have earned conference player of the year awards. Under Gray's tenure, academic excellence has been a hallmark for the department – the Purple Eagles have averaged more than 100 student-athletes on all-academic teams (MAAC/AHA) per season. Gray has led the charge for improvements in a number of the university's athletic facilities, including major renovations made to Bobo Field, the home of Niagara baseball; the Hall of Fame atrium in the Gallagher Center, installation of video displays in the Gallagher Center and Dwyer Arena, and renovations of the Vincent O'Malley Strength & Conditioning Center. 

Matt McKenna

Matt McKenna, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, Niagara Wheatfield Central School District

After graduating from SUNY Brockport, Matt McKenna went directly into the teaching ranks as a health and physical education teacher, teaching for 10 years. Matt coached football, basketball, and baseball during his tenure as a teacher, while completing his master’s degree in administration and supervision at Canisius College. For the past 13 years, Matt has worked as a director of health physical education and athletics, including his current position with the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District. He has been very involved in high school athletics as a member of several committees at the league, section, and state levels. Matt’s philosophy is to create as many opportunities for success as possible for his student-athletes. He believes that his student-athletes can accomplish great things and perform at their highest level when student, family, school, and community are all working together toward common goals.

Amy Scott

Amy Scott, Vice President of Ticket Sales & Services, Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

As VP of ticket sales and services for the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, Amy Scott is responsible for all ticket sales efforts and execution of fulfillment and operations for season ticket holders, sponsors, participating teams, and special guests. In addition to overseeing the ticket operations, Amy manages some of the charitable endeavors for the Cotton Bowl Foundation. She also helps coordinate media operations for other college football games at AT&T Stadium, including the AdvoCare Classic (USC vs Alabama this year), the Southwest Classic (Texas A&M vs. Arkansas) and the Big 12 Championship Game. She served on the Local Organizing Committee for the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship at AT&T Stadium in 2015 and has volunteered at several marquee events including the 2011 Super Bowl, 2014 Final Four, 2018 NFL Draft and College Football Playoff National Championship Game (2018, 2019).

Recreation Panel

Ray DeWire

Ray DeWire, Assistant Director of Athletics, New York Athletic Club

Raymond has served as the assistant director of athletics at the New York Athletic Club since 2015. The New York Athletic Club is a member-based private club with 9,000 members. He currently manages the club's elite sports program, which has produced 271 Olympic medals (including 23 in the most recent Games). He also oversees a number of member services, such as locker floor operations, retail and branding, aquatics, golf simulators, racket sports, billiards, and member athletics. 

Prior to his time at the NYAC, Raymond served as the aquatics director at the McBurney YMCA in Manhattan, the Ridgewood YMCA in New Jersey, and the Fairfax County Park Authority in Virginia.

Raymond holds a B.A. from Niagara University and an MPS from St. John's University. He is a published health and fitness writer. 

Art Eberhart

Art Eberhart, Executive Director, Niagara Police Athletic League

Art Eberhart has always been an active member of the Niagara Falls community. He was the co-founder of the Niagara Police Athletic League in 1970 and named executive director of Niagara PAL in 1980. Throughout the years, Art has been instrumental in the Niagara PAL’s success with concerts, the “Cops & Kids” Four Mile Run, and the Niagara PAL Chess Club. Over the years, he has served as the director for National PAL tournaments in baseball, basketball, boxing, hockey, softball, and a youth festival.

In 2011, Art coordinated the 9/11 Commemorative Ceremony to remember the men and women lost in 2001. Several community events were established with the aid of Art, including the “Every 15 Minutes” drinking and diversion program, and the establishment of a girls’ lacrosse program in Niagara Falls. Art was also the co-author of the National PAL Youth Enrichment Act, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. He is currently a member of the Ralph Wilson WNY Advisory Council and has served as a member of the Ralph Wilson WNY Youth Sports Task Force.

Derek Puff

Derek Puff, Director of Recreation, Intramural, & Club Sports, Niagara University

Derek Puff has served as director of recreation, intramural, and club sports at Niagara University since May 2017, after spending the previous nine years as assistant director of Niagara’s Kiernan Recreation Center. He is a member of the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association and a Registered Collegiate Recreational Sports Professional. Derek earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and master’s degree in recreation management, both from SUNY Brockport.

Kenneth Simmons, Director of Recreation Services, City of Buffalo

Tourism/Entertainment Panel

Pete Harvey

Pete Harvey, Director of Sports Development, Visit Buffalo Niagara

Pete Harvey is the director of sport development for the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission. He has been with Visit Buffalo Niagara since 2007 and was integral in starting the Sports Commission. Pete has been involved in hosting a variety of events in Buffalo, including the IIHF World Junior Championships, Empire State Games and the second and third rounds of NCAA Basketball’s March Madness. Prior to moving to Buffalo, Pete was in the resort and sports marketing arenas in Florida for almost 20 years. He started his career in the hospitality industry at age 14. Pete has a degree in recreation management from Springfield College.

Scott Swagler

Scott Swagler, General Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Scott Swagler, a 1985 Niagara University graduate, is currently the general manager of the DoubleTree by Hilton Niagara Falls, N.Y./Merani Hospitality Inc. He previously worked at Radisson Hotel and Holiday Inn Grand Island as the general Manager; at Essex Partners Inc. as the director of business development, and at Essex Hotel Management as the regional operations manager. He enjoys the variety of challenges in daily operations, exceeding the needs of guests, and new property set up and development. 

Dominic Verni

Dominic Verni, Vice President of Hospitality, Pegula Sports & Entertainment

Dom Verni currently leads all Pegula Sports and Entertainment-related restaurant and hospitality businesses. Dom launched the PSE hospitality division beginning with 716 and Tim Hortons, followed by Deer Valley Trails, The Healthy Scratch, Terra Mare and The Draft Room. Prior to joining Pegula Sports & Entertainment, Verni spent 17 years with the Hard Rock International Restaurant, Hotel and Casino chain, most recently serving as general manager of their café restaurant, retail and live music venue in Niagara Falls, N.Y., USA.  He also brings international experience from his franchise restaurant openings in both Montreal and Niagara Falls, Canada, and led Hard Rock’s global recruitment efforts through its European Work and Travel Program for the Northeastern United States. Dom headed company café operations in the Cleveland and Boston markets before returning to Western New York in 2004.

 

There is no cost to register, but we’d appreciate you informing us that you plan to attend.