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Stevens Is Excited To See The Greener Grass of Shawnee

 

August 29, 2019

By VIRGINIA BRADSHAW

Erin Stevens, who became general manager of the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center Aug. 1, said Monday she’s “excited to come back” to central Oklahoma from her last job in Clovis, N.M., “and see the greener grass in Shawnee.”

Of the Expo Center, she said, “the venue has so many possibilities we’re looking forward to creating for everyone. I look forward to working with the Shawnee community as a whole, on something we’re all excited about and proud of.”

Since 2016, she has been employed in Clovis, N.M., by Spectra, the national firm that recently was awarded a contract to operate the Expo Center. Until Aug. 1, Stevens was director of finance for a Curry County event arena in Clovis and its fairgrounds’ indoor and outdoor arenas.

She was back in Clovis from Aug. 11-18 for their Curry County Fair.

Her husband, First Sgt. Robert Stevens, is on active duty with the Air Force, stationed at Clovis, and their 10-year-old son Logan, is a fifth grader in a Clovis school.

Erin Stevens, 35, is presently commuting from a home she owns in east Norman, “about a 20 minute drive,” she says, and the plan is for Logan to transfer to a Norman school following Christmas break. The family originally moved to this area in 2007 when her husband was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base.

Born in Titusville, in western Pennsylvania, she grew up near Buffalo, N.Y., and graduated from high school in Fredonia, N.Y.

Stevens received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with emphasis on psychology and political science from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

She also holds a master of business administration degree from University of Phoenix. “I started that when my husband was stationed in Aviano, Italy. We were there three and a half years,” she said. “We were at Tinker AFB, then Aviano, then Clovis.”

Her position in Clovis was her first job with Spectra. The event center where she worked there “hosts everything from wedding receptions and birthday parties to commercial events, rodeo and concerts. A wide variety.

“It’s a county-owned venue.” Shawnee’s is a free fair but the one in Clovis charges admission, she said, and attracts between 32,000 and 40,000 people per year.

Stevens has also served on executive boards for non-profits and consumer shows, “everything from bar and restaurant management to retail,” she said.

The Expo Center is her second job with Spectra.

“We have retained some of the staff that were here previously. We retained most of the operations crew. We have five full time and three part time people in operations.

“We still have Stephanie Gideon, events director, and Danielle Harjo, office and marketing coordinator. Both have been here since before Spectra took over.”

She said Spectra’s director of finance for Enid and the Expo Center locations is Becky Blasier, who is based in Enid and will remain there. “Her position will be more of oversight and actual reports from what we do here,” she explained.

Stevens said she has met “with some of the organizers here” and is “getting a handle on everything going on.” She has been working “a little bit with the Fair Board. I’m just hoping it’s a great success and looking forward to moving forward, as well.”

Next big event after the County Free Fair will be Tasty Affair, sponsored by Shawnee Forward, at the Expo on Tuesday, Sept. 10

Following it will be an exotic pets show the weekend of Sept. 21.

“We look forward to getting more events, all kinds of events, and we want to help Shawnee create experiences that residents and visitors can be proud of and excited about,” Stevens said.

“I’ve really enjoyed it all so far. I had the opportunity to go to one of the rodeos,” she added.

 

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