The head of the Augusta Entertainment Complex will leave by early December for a promotion.
Monty Jones Jr. will remain with Global Spectrum, which oversees James Brown Arena and William B. Bell Auditorium, but will move to Glendale, Ariz., and become general manager at Jobing.com Arena, a venue that is more than double the size of Augusta’s downtown arena and home to professional hockey’s Phoenix Coyotes.
Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum, an entertainment management company that handles more than 120 international facilities, recently acquired a contract to manage the Arizona center.
“It’s a great opportunity to go up and manage a 20,000-seat arena with an NHL professional hockey team there,” Jones said.
Jones has served as general manager of the two Augusta venues since 2008 when the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority agreed to a contract for Jones and Global Spectrum to take over daily operations. That contract was extended for five years this July.
“Monty has done an excellent job,” said Coliseum Authority Chairman Cedric Johnson. “I think he came into not an easy situation and he really turned the Augusta Entertainment Complex around. The quality of entertainment and the quality of shows really increased in Augusta.”
Though Jones will officially start his new position on Dec. 2, he said he’ll be transitioning between Augusta and Glendale through the end of November.
The process to find Jones’ replacement is underway, and Augusta Entertainment Complex Assistant General Manager Linda Roberts will serve as the interim director, as she has done several times before, until a new hire is made, Johnson said.
Global Spectrum will allow the authority to give its input on the top candidates before a final decision is made, said the company’s chief operating officer, John Page, who hopes to have a permanent general manager in place by the end of the year.
Before coming to Augusta, Jones served as the executive director of the Emil and Patricia Jones Convocation Center at Chicago State University. Prior to that, he acted as the director of event services for Global Spectrum’s Colonial Center at the University of South Carolina.
Looking back on his career in Augusta, Jones said his highlights include bringing music icon Elton John to James Brown Arena last March. The concert, he said, was the biggest revenue-generator (nearly $900,000) and highest-attended event (7,800) in the arena’s history.
Jones, 33, said he’s also proud of attracting musical act Earth, Wind & Fire to Bell Auditorium, selling out Lady Antebellum tickets in a record three minutes and increasing the gross revenue garnered from Harlem Globetrotters performances at James Brown Arena for five consecutive years.
Jones said he doesn’t foresee a dropoff in either the entertainment talent or events brought to the Augusta facilities, because his current staff will remain in place.
“I’m just a figurehead,” he said. “Most of the people that do the work are the ones behind me, so all of those people are still there.”