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CEFMA Announces 2017 Award Winners and Grant Recipients

May 4, 2017

CLEVELAND -- The Collegiate Event and Facility Management Association (CEFMA) announced the winners of its Facility and Event Manager of the Year Awards, as well as the recipients of the Diversity and Professional Development Grants.

The following individuals will be recognized during the 2017 CEFMA Convention, to be held June 10-12 at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Florida.

  • Event Manager of the Year Award: Michael Beirne, Director of Event Management, University of Oklahoma
  • Facility Manager of the Year Award (Presented by ZE Design): Mary Cunneen, Associate AD for Facilities and Operations, University of Massachusetts Boston
  • Diversity Grant: Navraj Sandhu, Director of Operations, Queens College; Adrien Lumumba, Athletic Facilities Assistant, West Virginia University
  • Professional Development Grant: Bryan Huettmann, Assistant AD for Facilities and Event Operations, Fresno Pacific University; Eric Kissel, Coordinator of Facilities and Event Management, Marquette University

"On behalf of the Officers and Board of Directors, I want to congratulate this year's award and grant recipients," stated CEFMA President, Mike Snyder, Director of Athletics at Illinois College. "We are proud to recognize these individuals for their achievements and contributions to our industry, and we look forward to honoring them at our upcoming Convention."

The purpose of the Event Manager of the Year Award is to recognize an athletics administrator who has hosted an inordinate number of events/championships on their campus this year and has enhanced the quality of the experience for participating institutions and guests. Michael Beirne is in his third year at the University of Oklahoma and has quickly become an integral part of the OU athletics department staff. Beirne oversees the entire event management, operations, and facilities department for the Sooners, and has most recently operationalized the newly renovated Oklahoma Memorial Stadium for everyday operations, but most importantly for home football games. Beirne also spearheaded the transition with a new concessionaire in the past year, served as the lead on OU's security RFP process, created training sessions and table top exercises for game day staff and athletics department staff, and coordinated all championships hosted at the University of Oklahoma, including the NCAA Women's Basketball Regional in Oklahoma City.

The Facility Manager of the Year Award, presented by ZE Design, is intended to recognize an athletics administrator that has gone through extraordinary efforts working on and completing construction and maintenance projects on their campus. Mary Cunneen is in her first year at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she oversees a number of projects and serves several different leadership roles. In the course of a short two and a half months at UMass Boston, Cunneen has been able to actively make a difference and inspire others by working on the renovation of the sports medicine area, helping other campus departments run the new utilities system for the campus, and is also currently working on a multiyear capital expansion project. Prior to her time at UMass Boston, Cunneen was the Associate AD for Facility & Event Management at Fordham University. While at Fordham, she oversaw and played instrumental roles in a variety of projects including field house LED lighting renovations, the creation of a communications control room in Fordham's Rose Hill Gym, Rose Hill Gym media seating expansion, sports medicine floor replacement, softball complex extended outfield fence, tennis court renovations, and renovations to the men's & women's coaches/staff locker rooms and visiting team rooms.

The goal of the Diversity Grant is to identify up-and-coming minority administrators who desire to excel in athletics facility and event management. The grant seeks individuals who want to advance their athletics administration career, become more familiar with facility/events best practices, and participate in valuable networking opportunities. Navraj Sandhu currently works as Director of Operations at Queens College, having just received his Master's in Sports Management at St. John's University. Adrien Lumumba serves as the Athletic Facilities and Operations Graduate Assistant at West Virginia University, and is currently pursuing his Master's degree in Sports Management.

The CEFMA Professional Development Grant, now in its third year, is intended to assist two CEFMA members with their attendance at the annual Convention. Bryan Huettmann has served in facility management and event operations for the University of Akron and Fresno Pacific University for a combined eight years. Eric Kissel is in his first year as the Coordinator of Facilities and Event Management at Marquette University.

About ZE Design: ZE Design is an industry leader in branding new and existing facilities for the athletic market. Established in 1984, the staff at ZE Design has worked throughout the United States with all Collegiate Conference levels and all major professional sports leagues to provide themed venues that tell the story of their program through design. Utilizing large format graphics, custom displays, and cutting edge technology; ZE Design will transform a facility into a living story of your program to enhance recruiting and tell your story to your Student-Athletes, staff, and Alumni.

About CEFMA: CEFMA is dedicated to the needs of collegiate level event and facility professionals and the challenges that exist within the scope of their responsibilities. CEFMA will seek to promote the growth, leadership, integrity and success of administrators and professional staff in collegiate athletics. For more information about CEFMA, please visit www.cefma.net. CEFMA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 52nd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com