VenueConnect BootCamps

IAVM BootCamps are hands-on educational experiences during VenueConnect that take place in local venues, including our host convention center. Through small group and interactive methods, participants will have an even better understanding of day in and day out venue practices.

**Pre-registration is required for all bootcamps.

BootCamp at Harris Theater
(Performing Arts Sector)

Mixology 201 (Session 1 & Session 2)
Developing a menu of themed cocktails to complement your event is a fun and creative way to boost your patron experience while increasing your income.  Breathe new life into your concession stand with this hands-on session where you’ll learn new techniques and the latest bar trends. Participants will be creating (and sampling) new “specialty cocktails,” that are both delicious and efficient to produce in a fast-paced environment.

RFPs Against Humanity (2-hour Session)
A bootcamp game for venue people. Let's talk about RFPs, RFQs, and the competitive bidding process by playing an adapted game of Cards Against Humanity! (Yes, really.)

Backstage Bootcamp (Session 1 & Session 2)
Come and get hands-on backstage at the Harris Theater in Chicago's Millennium Park. See the technical features the venue has to offer and participate in what is takes the keep the Harris running.

Creating a VIP Experience (Session 1 & Session 2)
VIP experiences are an increasingly popular way to raise revenue.  In this bootcamp, attendees will utilize the Harris Theater via floorplans and walkthroughs and break into groups to create a unique VIP experience while considering the following factors: how best to enhance the experience, removing barriers or delays, targeting different audiences, and deciding between renovating or utilizing the existing spaces.


BootCamp at McCormick Place
(Convention Centers Sector)

Grow Your Own! 
McCormick Place welcomes close to 3 million international and domestic visitors annually, and the exclusive food and beverage provider, SAVOR…Chicago, is committed to provide an exceptional food experience.  From our 20,000+ sq. ft. rooftop garden (the Midwest’s largest), SAVOR…Chicago provides the freshest of ingredients to feature in various menu selections throughout the campus.  Session attendees will tour the rooftop garden and farm area, learn about what we grow and what ingredients we feature for attendees, including our own hops, that have been grown and brewed in partnership with a local brewery to create, McCormick Place Everyday Ale, a refreshing session IPA and the country’s first branded ale brewed for a convention center using locally-sourced ingredients.  Sample the ale and enjoy accompanying treats featuring ingredients from the rooftop.
Location – Meeting Place TBD, walk over to West Rooftop for tour and food and beverage sampling
Speakers – Two People from SAVOR…Chicago, tentatively Doug Bradley, Regional Director of Culinary at SAVOR and Steve Tamborello, General Manager from SAVOR…Chicago

24/7 365 – Securing Our Campus
With four attached convention buildings, three attached hotel properties and an attached arena, securing our campus is quite complex.  Learn about the various internal and external campus partners and how we all work together to provide customers with a safe environment for attendees and exhibitors.  Session attendees will learn about how we work with the Chicago Police Department, private security firms, K9 program and tour our control room area.
Location – North Building Meeting Room (TBD) and Security Office
Speakers – Peter Schurla, Director of Security at McCormick Place SMG
Possibly Steve Georgas, Chief Security Officer for McCormick Square and Deputy Chief Chicago Police Department

Traffic, Traffic and More Traffic – Creating a Smooth Arrival and Departure for Attendees
From busses, trains, taxis, shared-ride services and bicycles to a private bus road for convention shuttle busses only see how Chicago and McCormick Square aim to make transportation easy for attendees to and from the largest convention venue in North America within the third largest city.  The group will learn about how McCormick Place works with its various transportation partners and take a ride on the private Dedicated Busway Way for convention shuttles during city-wide conventions.
Location – North or South Building Meeting Room (TBD) followed by pick-up/drop-up at Gate 3 or 4 (TBD)
Speakers – Still TBD, likely Eugene Hardison, Director of Event Operations, David Peters, Traffic Manager and Phil Jordan, Busway Manager from McCormick Place

What Do These Events Mean to Your Destination? Economic Impact Presentation
Are we maximizing our venue space along with available hotel rooms?  Are we booking event in the right season and/or space?  Learn about the the impact of the overall events you host and what it means to your venue, your city and how quantifying it can it help you share the value of meetings to the local economy and gain the attention of local elected officials and residents.
Location – North or South Building Meeting Room (TBD)
Speakers – Still TBD, Likely David Causton, General Manager – McCormick Place SMG, Luke Karas, Group Strategy Sales Manager from McCormick Place SMG & Choose Chicago along with David Czechowski Director/Senior Economist-Research & Analysis from Choose Chicago


BootCamp at Soldier Field
(All Sectors)

Evacuation & Incident


General Education BootCamp at McCormick Place
(All Sectors)

Executive Education: Transitioning from a Manager to Leadership Role (MId-Level Management and up)

Crowd Management

Guest Services

Stop the Bleed

Convention Centers Design Charrette

Stadiums Design Charrette


IAVM is grateful for
the support of our
Global Partners:


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Join the passionate venue industry leaders who are IAVM: