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Volume 23 No. 24
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Forty Under 40: Erin Schnieders

Photo: nbae / garrett ellwood
Photo: nbae / garrett ellwood
Photo: nbae / garrett ellwood

With the recent arena buildingboom in the NBA, Erin Schnieders is no stranger to a hard hat.

 

As NBA vice president of venues, Schnieders is responsible for all league and team arena projects, a job that in the past year has grown significantly given the new buildings under construction in Milwaukee and San Francisco, as well as the recently completed major renovations at the Target Center and the Vivint Smart Home Arena to name just a few of the projects under Schnieders purview.

 

“I have 10 to 15 projects per year,” Schnieders said. “It’s fun to see them come to fruition.”

 

Her job calls for a diverse skill set as she deals with team owners and presidents, arena general managers, contractors, architects, and just about anyone else involved in NBA arena construction.

 

“An easy way to put it is that my No. 1 role is information broker,” she said.

 

As a Vanderbilt undergraduate, Schnieders knew she wanted a career in sports. An internship with the Houston Rockets led to a job working on the Toyota Center arena development.

 

A career was born, and Schnieders worked as manager of business development for the Rockets from 2002 to 2006. She was one of the four members of the Toyota Center’s arena development team.

 

She started her own company before joining the NBA’s league office as director of venue oversight and development in 2008. She was named senior director in 2013 and last year was promoted to her current job.

 

Schnieders takes a very hands-on approach, despite juggling a host of arena projects simultaneously, to make sure the venues meet NBA standards.

 

“Each project I approach individually to do whatever works for the team,” she said. “There is a compliance component but I really want to focus on assisting and providing the resources to be successful.”

 

— John Lombardo

Erin Schnieders

Vice President, Venues | National Basketball Association

Age: 38

 

Where born: Kalamazoo, Mich.

 

Education: Vanderbilt University, B.S., human and organizational development

 

Family: Husband, Alex

 

Profession other than your own you’d most like to attempt: I’d love to flip houses.

 

Guilty pleasure: Sour Patch Kids or reality television (the “Bachelor/Bachelorette”).

 

Something your friends would consider “so you”: I’m a “friend-collector.” I enjoy organizing group events — from vacations, community service projects and group dinners — in efforts to bring together old and new friends.

 

Charities supported: NBA Cares, Rescued Pets Movement, serve as a mentor at Dual Language Middle School in Manhattan.

 

Person in the industry you’d most like to meet: Becky Hammon.

 

Forty Under 40 class members would be surprised to know that I … : Rode the bus to grade school with Derek Jeter.