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Sports Corp., Speedway make way for new leadership

September 12, 2014

Officials for the Indiana Sports Corp. quickly made things official Friday afternoon, a few hours after news leaked out about the pending departure of ISC leader and 20-year employee Allison Melangton.

As IBJ reported Friday morning, Melangton will leave her job as president of ISC for Hulman Motorsports next month, and Ryan Vaughn, chief of staff to Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, will succeed her as president.

The ISC board of directors elected Vaughn as its sixth president during a meeting Friday.

The change of guard will take place in late October, giving Vaughn time to finish out negotiations for the city’s 2015 budget, currently under review by the City-County Council. Mayoral spokesman Marc Lotter said Ballard doesn’t know yet who will succeed Vaughn, who oversees strategic initiatives, public policy, and fiscal matters, and manages agency heads and deputy mayors.

Vaughn, 36, who made about $120,000 last year, will likely see a big bump in pay. ISC reported total compensation for Melangton in 2012 was $65,628 for four months of work, a rate that equates to about $196,884 a year.

Over at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Melangton, 53, will be senior vice president of events for Hulman Motorsports, a division of Hulman & Co., which owns IMS and IndyCar. She will oversee the planning and execution of all major events for the Speedway and IndyCar, from everything that happens at the track during the Indy 500 in May to off-site IndyCar galas, said Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles.

“For more than 20 years, Indiana Sports Corp has been a huge part of my life—professionally and personally,” Melangton said in a written statement. “At this point in my life, I have decided to make a professional change. My time at the Sports Corp and with the Super Bowl Host Committee has allowed me to work alongside the most talented people in our industry on many of the world’s largest sporting events.”

Vaughn has worked closely with the Sports Corp., most recently helping negotiate a three-part deal with the city, IUPUI and the Lilly Endowment for an overhaul of Indiana University’s natatorium on the IUPUI campus in time for the 2016 Olympic diving trials. ISC pushed for the upgrade.

A former city-county council president, Vaughn has also served on a variety of boards and committees outside of government, including Visit Indy, Downtown Indy, Super Bowl XLVI Host Committee, Super Bowl LII Bid Committee, and the Indiana Host Committee for the 2015 NCAA Final Four.

“Ryan is the ideal choice to lead the next chapter of growth for Indiana Sports Corp,” Chairman Scott Dorsey said in a press release. “His excellent reputation as a community leader, his collaborative style and his vision for the future of Indianapolis and Indiana Sports Corp make him perfectly suited to extend our position as the nation’s preeminent sports commission and enhance the organization’s impact on our communities and youth."

Vaughn will join ISC on Oct. 27.

“I am humbled to be named president of this incredible organization,” Vaughn said. “The impact of Indiana Sports Corp is well-chronicled and I look forward to working with our great staff, as well as board of directors, partners, volunteers, and so many others to continue that momentum. Both Mayor Ballard and Allison are friends and have played a significant role in my career, and I look forward to working with them moving forward.”

Miles said he's always wanted to have Melangton on his team at the Speedway, but he didn't start talking to her about the job until May, after Indianapolis learned it had lost its bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl. Melangton will be part of the executive team that works for both the IMS and IndyCar under the Hulman Motorsports umbrella. Her position is new, Miles said. “We weren’t sure we had all the focus we need on big events,” he said.

The Speedway is striving to boost annual attendance for all events from 400,000 to 600,000 by 2018, Miles said. While that includes luring new events, he said it’s also important to execute those that are already on the calendar. Melangton adds “tremendous leadership and bench strength” in that role, he said.

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