SBD/August 21, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Minding My Business With Legends President Of Attractions Dave Kerschner

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Kerschner places a premium on integrity when it comes to business negotiations
With more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry, Legends Hospitality President Of Attractions DAVE KERSCHNER has plenty of big projects under his belt. In addition to currently overseeing the design, development and operation of the One World Observatory in N.Y., the former MSG exec took the lead on the development, design and construction of $110M Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City in '08. Kerschner said integrity has played a significant role in putting him in position to take on such projects. "That’s very important to me," Kerschner said. "You always want people that want to play very cooperatively with others, knowing that in the end, it doesn’t matter who gets the credit. It just matters that we get it done." The Toledo grad recently discussed his interest in Apple products, what can throw a business negotiation off-track and his love for cigars.

What I’m working on…
For me at the moment our focus is building the Legends Attractions business, the cornerstone of that is the One World Observatory. We place so much emphasis on getting this right that I’m spending a lot of time on One World Observatory. We’re at a critical period where we’re going from concept design to schematic design. That’s when a lot of the technical aspects of design get worked out. We’re going to focus on iconic brands like the One World Observatory and other brands that may be out there. We’re trying to find opportunities to provide incredible, new experiences to guests in those markets. One World is just the beginning.

Looking for in a job candidate...
First, you look for enthusiasm. A friend of mine once said, “You admire people that subscribe to the TGIM (Thank God It’s Monday) philosophy.” They’re very interested in what they do and are enthusiastic about their work. They just love the thought of getting back to their work. So I look for folks that are enthusiastic and want to do the job that needs to get done.

Negotiations going awry…
The only difficulty I personally have is if I sense that somebody isn’t being honest and truthful with me. When that happens, I think things can really go a little bit off-balance.

Advice I’ve gotten…
The best piece of advice I ever got was probably from my dad (KARL). He was just about the most optimistic guy I ever met in my life. He would always say, “You want to remember, If you get up in the morning and can roll out of bed, put two feet on the ground and walk, it’s a good day.” I think that’s true. It‘s important to remember that.

Daily media consumption…
I (take the) train to work every day into New York, about an hour. So I always have my iPad with me. I generally read the (N.Y.) Times every morning. That’s also the perfect opportunity to catch up with e-mails. The other thing I’m pretty disciplined about is -- I almost never miss an episode of the Sunday political shows -- NBC's "MEET THE PRESS" and ABC's "THIS WEEK".

iPhone or BlackBerry…
I was a very early adopter of the BlackBerry many years ago when they first came out. About two years ago when I got an iPad for Christmas, I just decided that it was the right time to be an Apple household. What I like about the Apple products is the seamless way in which they all connect to one another. I like the idea that everything’s on my iPad. Everything that’s on my iPad is on my iPhone, and everything that’s on my iPhone is on my Mac upstairs.

Apps I’m using…
I use lots of different apps but interestingly the one I use the most probably is Pandora. I use it to listen to music in the car and at home and wherever. What I like about Pandora is you can discover so many new artists. You can plug in an artist and you discover folks that you’ve never heard before. I like jazz, but I like rock, I like ‘60s, I like ‘70s, I really like most music. There’s not really one genre I listen to all the time -- I like the idea of being able to listen to a bunch of different things.

Technology that’s changed my life...
I’m old enough to remember when there weren’t laptop computers, but maybe in the last five years I’d say it’s the iPad. With the bigger screen and the multiple applications, it just makes it so easy to do all the things you can’t do with a laptop.

Guilty pleasures…
I love sweets. I absolutely love great ice cream, but really anything sweet I’m attracted to unfortunately. I’ve always loved them. My dad had a great sweet tooth and I guess that’s where I got it from. I also love a good cigar. There’s an old saying I subscribe to which says, "There isn’t a problem in the world that can’t be solved with a good cigar and a dog to walk." I think that’s true.

TV shows…
We always have to watch HBO's "THE NEWSROOM". I love ABC's "MODERN FAMILY." I think it’s a hilarious show.
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