Director of Arenas appointed new VMA President

Melbourne & Olympic Parks Director of Arenas, Steve Harper CFE, has been appointed the new President of the Venue Management Association Asia and Pacific (VMA).

Harper has served on the VMA Board since 2012, during which time he chaired three of the Association’s Annual Congress’ and chaired the Membership Committee.

On the announcement, he said “It is with significant gratification that I undertaking this role, it’s energising and inspiring for me to be involved with an organisation that has had so many genuinely great people many of whom are not only professional colleagues but also friends”.

The VMA has over 700 members made up of venue professionals including venue managers and venue industry suppliers from Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

Melbourne & Olympic Parks (M&OP) have a strong affiliation with both the VMA and the Venue Management School (VMS) with Chief Executive Officer Brian Morris a previous VMA President and Rod Laver Arena General Manager Meagan Walker the current VMS Chairperson.

M&OP is proud to have many talented and skilled members of staff complete their studies through the VMS each year.

“I feel both honoured and privileged that the VMA has given me their support,” said Harper.

In his role at M&OP, Steve currently oversees the commercial and operational management of Rod Laver, Hisense and Margaret Court Arenas.

He joined the organisation in 2015, having extensive prior experience as Chief Operating Officer for VenuesWest in Perth, Western Australia. During his five years there, he oversaw the operational and commercial management of the seven geographically spread self-managed venues including nib Stadium, HBF Stadium and HBF Arena which hosted events ranging from large scale music festivals to international sporting championships.

Steve Harper
Steve was educated at the University of Washington (USA) and post-graduation took his first professional appointment in the venue management field. His first nine years in the industry were spent managing high profile sports and entertainment venues (on the USA West Coast) in Seattle (including the 75,000 seat Husky Stadium), after which he moved to Virginia as Assistant and Acting Director for 'Seven Venues'.

In this role Steve managed all facets of seven venues, including five theatres, the 13,000 seat Scope Arena and the 15,000 seat Harbour Park Stadium.

During his time with ‘Seven Venues’, Steve received a letter of appreciation from the White House for his "unique abilities, superb attitude and professionalism in providing services to the President and the US Secret Service.”

In 2005 Steve earned the Certified Facilities Executive (CFE), the highest accreditation within the International Venue Management Industry.

Originally from Melbourne and as an aspiring track athlete, Steve spent his youth training at Olympic Park and the grass parklands where Melbourne Park now sits.

The VMA is the peak industry association for venue managers within the Asia Pacific region, and provides numerous opportunities for professional development, industry networking, education and knowledge sharing.