The women and men listed here represent some of the key players in the hospitality sector, which we’ve broadly defined to cover arts, entertainment, food service, lodging, recreation and tourism. The names come from our own news staff, peer recommendations and public nominations—a long list, which was peer reviewed and culled to create the list that follows. For a variety of reasons, three individuals who made the final list are not depicted here; they are: Chris Ratay, director of marketing at the Omni-Severin Hotel; Stephanie Schulz, director of conventions and meetings at the NCAA; and Bruce White, president and CEO of White Lodging.
Dave Lawrence, 43
President and CEO
Arts Council of Indianapolis
In his current position, Dave Lawrence serves as the chief arts advocate for the arts and cultural community of Indianapolis, leads the professional staff of the Arts Council, and represents the arts community in local, regional and national matters. His work includes the development of grants for arts and cultural organizations, as well as fellowship programs for professional artists, including the Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship program. Most recently, Lawrence created and opened the Arts Council’s Gallery 924, a fine arts gallery to support and exhibit the work of central Indiana artists.
Before joining the Arts Council, Lawrence worked with a variety of organizations, including the Indianapolis Opera, Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, Clowes Memorial Hall, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indiana University Auditorium and the INB Broadway series. He currently serves on the Host Committee for the 2012 Super Bowl, as a member of the Indy Hub Advisory Committee, the Indiana Nonprofit Sector Advisory Board for the Center for Philanthropy, and the steering committee for Music Crossroads. He is also on the boards of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association, and the Indianapolis Cultural Commission.
Lawrence is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacy Executive Leadership program, an Arts Management Fellow of Chorus America, and a founding member of Americans for the Arts’ Emerging Leaders Council.
Beyond his work with the arts community, Lawrence travels the world riding roller coasters and estimates that he has ridden at least 544 coasters in places such as Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Germany and Italy. He is a graduate of DePauw University.
Barney Levengood, 56
Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium
Since 1991, Barney Levengood has been responsible for operations at the former Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome, today’s Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium. The facility has changed dramatically under his guidance. Levengood oversaw a $43 million expansion and renovation in 1993, a $60 million expansion in 2001, the $720 million Lucas Oil Stadium development, and the recently opened $275 million convention center expansion.
Levengood has been involved in managing several other public venues downtown, including Victory Field, Conseco Fieldhouse and the Virginia Avenue parking garage.
Before coming to Indianapolis, Levengood was executive director of Toledo’s SeaGate Centre, where he had 12 years’ experience operating public facilities. Before that, he was director of building services and then director of client services at the Baltimore Convention Center. From 1980 until 1984, Levengood served as director of operations and then assistant director of the Baltimore Civic Arena. He also worked for Towson State University. Levengood got his start as general manager of the club hockey team while working on his master’s degree in sports administration and facility management at Ohio University.
Levengood, who was born in Pottstown, Pa., is married and has four children and four grandchildren.
Steven B. Libman, 51
President and CEO
Center for the Performing Arts, Carmel
Well before the grand opening of the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in January, Steven Libman was on the ground running in Indiana. Libman is responsible for the strategic direction of the center, programming for its three venues, hiring staff, and working with the board. He also works collaboratively with Artistic Director Michael Feinstein.
Before moving to Indiana in 2009, Libman was managing director for the Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse in California from 2005 until 2008. While at La Jolla, Libman grew the budget to $15 million, successfully transferred productions to Broadway, and supervised a staff of 100 full-time and more than 125 part-time employees. During his tenure, he led fundraising efforts that brought in more than $12 million in annual support.
From 1991 until 2004, he was managing director of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, where he raised more than $50 million and produced more than 20 original ballets, including works set to the music of contemporary artists Sting, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and Gunther Schuller. Other professional experience includes work with the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, Pa., and the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, R.I.
Libman graduated magna cum laude from Rhode Island College and received the 2000 Alumni Honor Roll Award from the school in recognition for his achievements within the arts. He serves on the national advisory panel for the Graduate Arts Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University.
John Livengood, 63
While LMV Consulting may be the top Google hit for John Livengood, he is widely known as the current president of the Indiana Restaurant Association, the Indiana Hotel and Lodging Association, the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, and the Indiana Hospitality and Tourism Foundation. Before forming his consulting firm in 1990, Livengood served as chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party from 1984 until 1988. He has also worked with the Indiana General Assembly in various roles, ranging from state agency liaison to the Senate Democratic adviser under Gov. Frank O’Bannon to legislative liaison for Secretary of State Larry Conrad and Gov. Evan Bayh.
His legislative accomplishments include influencing the repeal of the sales tax on complimentary hotel rooms; creation of the Tourism Council and the Indiana Office of Tourism Development; improved food safety through food handling training and certification; and helping to defeat legislation that could have expanded access by minors to alcohol.
Livengood has served as a member of the Indiana Tourism Council, the Indiana Economic Development Council, the State Election Board and as a delegate to the White House Conference of Tourism. He is a member of numerous organizations and clubs, including the American Society of Association Executives and the Columbia Club. He served as president of the Indiana Society of Association Executives and received the group’s Association Executive of the Year award in 2006. Livengood is a graduate of Wabash College.
Debbie Locklear, 56
Meeting Services Unlimited Inc.
In 1983, Debbie Lock-lear walked away from a 10-year career in hotel management to start her own business as an independent meeting manager. At the time, no other company in Indiana was doing exactly what she was, and as a pioneer in the state, she staked out her position as the go-to company for meetings, events, and convention planning and management. Her promise to clients was to help them obtain the best services and prices from meeting facilities and other entities. Over the years, her business has grown, and she now employs seven individuals, who work out of the offices she co-owns with her husband, Tom Corey. Visitors to those offices have probably met Locklear’s Maltese, who sits on her desk daily.
Meeting Services Unlimited plans and manages meetings for agencies, associations and corporations of all sizes. Locklear facilitates site selection, exhibitor and sponsorship development, and all other details. She worked with software developers to design special programs that fit the needs of her business and have become a foundation for all it does. The programs streamline many aspects of conference organization, including registration and housing services. She is constantly looking for new ways to simplify the meeting-planning process and strives to stay on top of all the innovations in her field.
Outside of business, Locklear enjoys boating with her husband and family.