photo by: Photo by Joe Lovell
WHEELING — A dynamic and experienced venue executive was being sought to take the helm at WesBanco Arena and the Capitol Theatre this fall, and out of a list of qualified candidates from near and far, the true standout happened to already be right in the heart of the Friendly City.
Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority Board Chairman Robert Herron today announced that Wheeling resident Kelly Tucker will be the next executive director of the city’s two marquee entertainment venues. Tucker will assume her new position on Oct. 1, which is the day longtime executive director Denny Magruder officially retires from the post after 36½ years of service.
“I’m happy to be coming home,” Tucker said on Monday. “I’m very excited to be part of the community again, and I just want to help bring great entertainment to Wheeling.”
Tucker is a longtime executive with Live Nation and is currently the general manager of The Pavilion at Star Lake in Burgettstown, Pa. Over the past three decades, Tucker has worked in various leadership roles in the entertainment industry with Live Nation, and she is no stranger to the Ohio Valley’s top venues. She served for many years as general manager of Jamboree In The Hills from 2005-18 and was the GM of what was then known as the Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling from 2005-07.
“I see it as a new chapter,” Tucker said, noting that her new role as executive director of the Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority and its two top venues offers exciting new opportunities. “I’d describe it as a fresh look at what Wheeling has to offer.”
Herron said Tucker’s wealth of experience and knowledge of the entertainment industry made her the perfect candidate for the role.
“Kelly’s professional experience is a great fit for this position,” Herron said. “I believe she will do an excellent job managing and growing Wheeling’s entertainment venues.”
While her career with Live Nation had Tucker commuting to work in the greater Pittsburgh market, she has made her home in Wheeling. A graduate of West Liberty University, Tucker said she was looking forward to rolling up her sleeves and getting to work in her new position.
“Thirty years ago, I began my career in live entertainment in Wheeling,” she said. “I’m very excited that this new chapter will be bringing me home. I feel privileged to continue the legacy of Wheeling’s entertainment history and plan to grow the amazing assets that our Friendly City has to offer.”
The Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority was tasked with filling the big shoes being left by Magruder, who after nearly four decades of award-winning service to the city is taking a bow and drawing the curtain on his career after next week. Magruder has noted that he was looking forward to retirement and expressed confidence that the baton would be passed to a new leader who would bring a fresh new perspective to the job.
“I’m honored to be the new executive director and the successor of an incredible leader, Denny Magruder,” Tucker said. “I’m looking forward to working with the board of directors for the Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority and the community to continue bringing great events to the city.”
During Tucker’s tenure as general manager of the 23,000-plus seat Pavilion at Star Lake, the 100,000-plus capacity Jamboree In The Hills venue and the 2,500-plus seat Capitol Music Hall theater, she oversaw various operational roles. Those duties included but there not limited to managing an annual budget, supervising department managers and staff, analyzing data to improve customer experiences, forecasting and managing event budgets, facilitating capital expenditures, and projecting and scheduling performances.
Tucker has also been responsible for marketing, sponsorships and ticketing for events, as well as maintaining relationships with media outlets and government officials.