An organization formed to help make Centre County a prime destination for marquee entertainment and sports events recently announced its first board of directors.
The Happy Valley Sports and Entertainment Alliance’s newly formed board includes 19 members, with a mix of Penn State representatives, sports and entertainment industry experts and business and community leaders.
“Happy Valley is poised to capitalize in greater ways on its proud sports tradition to become a premier sports and entertainment destination,” Eric Engelbarts, who was appointed HVSEA executive director in April, said in a statement. “Careful consideration went into putting together a Board necessary to further move the needle and successfully compete for higher level sports and entertainment offerings.”
Announced in 2021 by the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, HVSEA operates as a parallel, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a separate board that governs its activity, with HVAB staff supporting the Alliance’s work.
The Ironman 70.3 Pennsylvania Happy Valley 70.3, which will return to Centre County for its second year on June 30, 2024, and country star Luke Combs’ concert on April 24 at Beaver Stadium, are examples of the types of high-profile events the HVSEA wants to attract to the area, according to Englebarts.
William Oldsey, Penn State trustee emeritus and retired president of McGraw-Hill Education, is chair of the HVSEA board.
“We have excellent facilities. We have the infrastructure for and the experience in hosting very large crowd events. Most importantly, we have visionary men and women who understand the long-term value of thinking bigger,” Oldsey said. “I look forward to working with Eric and the HVSEA Board to attract and successfully manage events that will cement sports’ and entertainments’ economic contributions to the county for years to come.”
HVSEA Board Officers and Directors:
- William Oldsey, Chair, Penn State trustee emeritus and retired president, McGraw-Hill Education
- Adam Miller, Vice Chair, deputy athletic director for external affairs and engagement, Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics
- Jennifer Brooks-Stahl, Treasurer, general manager, Wyndham Garden State College
- Randy Houston, Secretary, entertainment attorney and former Penn State trustee
- Pat Kraft, athletic director/vice president, Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics
- Char Morett-Curtiss, former women’s field hockey coach, Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics
- Venkat Bendapudi, professor of business administration, Penn State
- Charlene Friedman, chief financial officer, State College Downtown Properties
- Heidi Nicholas, principal and owner, Nicholas Enterprises
- Scott Walker, president and general manager, State College Spikes
- Al Karosas, executive director, Bryce Jordan Center
- Jamie Bestwick, owner, Rothrock Coffee; BMX freestyle professional and Olympic gold medal coach
- Stephen Carpenter, dean of the College of Arts and Architecture, Penn State
- Dan Wallace, director of development, Arrow Real Estate Services
- Chris Magent, chief operating officer, Alexander Building Construction
- Stefan Cherinka, area manager, Shaner Hotels
- Mark Higgins, chair, Centre County Commissioners
- Edward Tubbs, chief operating officer, Hospitality Asset Management Company
- Fritz Smith, president and CEO, The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau
The HVSEA board held its first meeting on Sept. 7 The inaugural meeting “focused on introducing the organization, electing officers, outlining governance and regulation, presenting strategic initiatives and creating a preliminary meeting schedule for the remainder of the 2023-24 fiscal year,” according to a news release.