Now in its second year, the TBK Bank Sports Complex in Bettendorf has found a CEO with a wide resume of experiences managing the greatest events in sports.
Dave Stow will begin as the CEO for the vast sports complex Oct. 14. He most recently was vice president of venue operations at Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center in California. Previously, Stow served as associate director of the U.S. Olympic Training Center overseeing various Olympic events and trainings. He also has experience managing events such as Super Bowls XXXII, XXXIII and XXXVII.
Stow, 52, brings his own sports experience having competed as a gymnast as part of the U.S. National Team.
"I thought I was going to be a coach my whole life, so I got into coaching, became a head coach at a Division 1 school and thought we were doing well," he said of his early career. "Then the men's gymnastic industry made a little bit of a shift. We started losing quite a few programs and I realized that may not be the best route."
One day, a soccer coach asked Stow if he could organize a soccer game. After stumbling through that first game, Stow says he realized it was a pretty neat experience and got into event management. "I kept my connections with gymnastics and began building connections with other sports, and pretty soon found myself at the Olympic Training Center," he said.
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Stow says all the events he has done have felt unique. "The Super Bowls were stressful and obnoxious, but that's what they are. They're crazy, they're a one-day show that the globe watches," he said. "You have 'X' amount of minutes to make sure that national anthem works, or that team announcement at the beginning of the game works. So each are exciting and unique, and that's how it is for the Olympics.
"It's not really the event, it's the relationships that you build, the experiences you get to stand on the sidelines for," he said. "It's the accomplishment at the end of the day when you look at your team members and you say 'Wow, that was amazing.' That not only were we a part of it, but that we were able to contribute to it."
Stow said he was impressed by the TBK Bank Sports Complex when he visited. When he came to visit, his mind wasn't on a career shift or relocation; it was on learning from the complex — something he's done around the world to share best practices.
"I started walking around this complex, looking at the quality and the cleanliness and what I told (developer) Doug (Kratz) later was how sharp everything looked. It was impressive," he said. "By the end of the visit, the staff, the leadership, everything just felt like a great fit."
When he takes over as CEO, Stow says he wants to help grow the complex's offerings through his contacts in the national and international sports world while continuing to grow the baseball, softball, soccer and basketball offerings. "Let's see what else we can do."