Legacy foundation taps industry veterans
July 22, 2016
Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation (UOLF) announced the hiring of Lisa Bennion Rasmussen as vice president of marketing & development and Stuart Ashe as the new general manager of Soldier Hollow Nordic Center. Rasmussen and Ashe started their respective roles on July 18.
"The Legacy Foundation is at a critical point in its strategic efforts to create actively used and sustainable Olympic venues in Utah," said Colin Hilton, president and CEO of the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation. "We are four times busier than we were back in 2002, and remain focused on maintaining and supporting the viability of three Olympic and Paralympic legacy venues at world-class levels. To do this, we are bringing on two strong leaders to help us achieve success in both our new oversight of the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center and the added focus to further develop revenue streams and community partnerships."
Recognizing the importance of generating additional revenue streams to offset the high expenses of operating and maintaining its venues, UOLF set out to fill the newly created position of vice president, marketing & development. The position will focus on areas of corporate partnerships, public activities, corporate and group sales, and fundraising. After an intensive search, UOLF selected Lisa Bennion Rasmussen to lead the charge of marketing, sales and fundraising efforts.
"I remember when the Olympic venues were being built. To be a part of the future growth of Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation is an absolute honor," said Rasmussen. "I’m excited and energized to pursue both my professional and personal passions — the Olympic movement and promoting Sport for Life. I’m eager to hit the ground running. We have a tremendous opportunity in Utah and worldwide, to continue to grow our legacy."
With a proven background in sales and partnership development, Rasmussen brings over 20 years of experience in brand marketing, national level sports partnerships, sponsorship activation and sales. Most recently, she led partnership development for the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC.
Prior to that, her tenure with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association resulted in triple-digit revenue growth. Her role included selling and managing global partnership accounts, licensing and brand marketing campaigns for the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing divisions. Rasmussen also worked in advertising at Salt Lake City-based agency Riester, and in corporate marketing at Swire Coca-Cola in Draper.
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"Lisa brings to the UOLF years of proven success in building community and business partnerships," said Hilton. "With her U.S. Ski Team background and established networks in Utah, Lisa will help grow the organization's support network while broadening the reach of the Foundation's initiatives."
With the recent action to add the Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in Midway to its operational oversight, UOLF management sought a seasoned leader with a passion for Olympic venue management and proven business acumen to lead this unique Olympic and Paralympic venue. They selected Stuart Ashe to take the helm as Soldier Hollow's general manager.
"What impressed us most about Stuart is his team-oriented vision and community-based approach," said Hilton. "He is a natural leader who will actively engage the Heber Valley and together will develop an impactful future for Soldier Hollow."
With over three decades of experience in international sport event and venue management, Ashe's background is a compelling blend of hands-on management roles as well as strategic consulting roles. He has innate knowledge of balancing sport management and business needs of Olympic venues.
Ashe shares the UOLF's commitment to building and growing active, community-focused facilities. He will be tasked with growing public-facing programs and activities and developing long-term planning for upkeep and maintenance of the venue at world-class levels.
As a consultant, Ashe has advised large-scale organizations and foundations in strategic planning and operational management including involvement with eight summer and winter Olympic Organizing Committees. During the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Ashe held the role of director of material logistics, managing a successful program incorporating all aspects of supply chain management. In Atlanta, Ashe was the senior venue manager for the 1996 Olympic Games, overseeing nine competition sport venues. Ashe got his international sport event start as regional logistic manager during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In addition to his Olympic and Paralympic tenure, Ashe worked as logistics director for the FIFA Women's World Cup in 1999 and FIFA World Cup 1994 in Los Angeles.
"I am thrilled to be joining the Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation. This is a rare opportunity for me to incorporate my years of international event experience with the exciting work of the UOLF right here in my home community of the Wasatch Back," said Ashe. "I am looking forward to working with the Heber Valley community and Soldier Hollow staff to grow the facility into a multi-faceted community center and one of the world's finest Nordic centers."
To learn more about Utah's Olympic Legacy, visit UtahOlympicLegacy.org.
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