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Five questions with the new head of Birmingham's World Games

March 12,2017 17:13

DJ Mackovets has worked on large scale sporting events for more than four decades ranging from the Olympics to World Police and Fire Games, and soon he and his wife will move to Birmingham where he'll take the post of CEO of World Games 2021.



Courtesy DJ Mackovets 
DJ Mackovets has worked on large scale sporting events for more than four decades ranging from the Olympics to World Police and Fire Games, and soon he and his wife will move to Birmingham where he'll take the post of CEO of World Games 2021.
Birmingham earned the right to host the 2021 World Games, which will bring spectators and athletes from more 100 countries. It beat out Lima, Peru and Ufa, Russia, for the event. 
Mackovets, a native of rural Iowa, has been living in Atlanta for 30 years while working in sports project planning, transportation and logistics. 
Mackovets recently spoke to AL.com about fundraising, planning and more about his new role as World Games 2021 CEO. His answers have been edited for length and clarity.
AL.com: Give me a three-sentence job description of your role as World Games 2021 CEO.
Mackovets: Leading the effort of integrated citywide planning. Leading the operational plan to deliver the game successfully. Certainly, create the revenue strategy to create everything we want to get done.
What's been going on in World Game planning since we were awarded the event two years ago?
It's been a lot of board development and continued international relationship building with the International World Games Association. The Board was put in place last summer, they named a new Chair, Jonathan Porter from Alabama Power. They've been doing some behind the scenes work with the city and the commitment from the mayor and city council's in place. The contract with the World Games Association is actually between the IWGA and the city, so that's taken some times to get in place. In November, they started the search process for the role that I'm assuming.
What are Birmingham's biggest challenges going to be in coordinating the event?
I think the Senior Olympics this Summer will help test the venues and test the volunteer effort. But it's a very large event of this scale, with the international aspect of it, with ticket sales and an international broadcast component. It's just getting everybody on the same page and making sure the definitions are out there as far as what the expectations are at the venues, on the university campus, in the corporate community, within public safety, the volunteer needs, everybody coming in through the airports. It's a real integrated effort.
What I've said, and I've used this term before, is you've got to have both community awareness and community engagement, but people have to become aware of what the event is before the can make a conscious choice to become engaged. So really over the next year we've got to develop an aggressive brand building campaign.
What are the things Birmingham should be paying attention to at the World Games in Wroclaw, Poland this July?
It's only going to be a working trip for the folks who are going with us. We'll look at everything behind the scenes, from the sports and the venues the transportation and housing and public safety and hospitality, and all of those critical areas to understand what they're doing over there. What are the challenges? Where do they think the did things right? What are the lessons learned for all of those things?
What's left to do between now and 2021 after you return from Poland?
The first thing we'll start doing very aggressively in the fall is start to raise revenue in the corporate sector and continue to look at the operational plan. The things we will have learned in Poland will translate into our operating assumption, meaning, will we provide bus service to everything? How many shifts will our volunteers have to work? But really, the first thing that will be really aggressive will be the corporate development effort.
 

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