Kim Bedier, general manager of Comcast Arena at Everett Events Center since it opened nearly five years ago, appears calm, cool and composed. And, she is.
That’s an amazing accomplishment, considering that she’s responsible for a $9 million annual budget, managing a staff of 30 and keeping thousands of guests and hundreds of vendors, sports teams and performers happy.
Add to that the oversight of the Edward D. Hansen Conference Center and the Comcast Community Ice Rink, plus her role in professional entertainment and sports venue organizations. Just locally, she’s involved with the Everett Rotary Club, Snohomish Tourism Board, Seattle Sports Commission and Cascade Bank’s Women’s Financial Group Advisory Committee.
“I’m a workaholic. I love what I’m doing. It’s a people-oriented business. To me, each event is like hosting a party for 10,000 guests,” she said. “Of course, I have a large staff and many other people helping. It’s not something one person does. We have a very strong team here. More than half of them have been with me in Everett since the beginning.”
Being busy has become a way of life for Bedier, but being busy beats a lifetime as a lifeguard, she said.
“Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I moved around a lot because my father was in the Canadian Armed Forces. So I’ve never been afraid of moving to the next place in life. It gives you very broad horizons. When I worked as a lifeguard in swimming pools while going through college, though, I thought, ‘Is this the end?’ In Canada, there’s a swimming pool, ice rink and marina on every block,” she recalled.
Her break came in 1992 when she became general manager of Crystal Centre in Grande Prairie, Alberta, for six years. That’s where she learned the value, and challenge, of a multipurpose facility. Stepping in during the construction of the 4,700-seat arena and 20,000-square-foot facility, Bedier set high standards of service, dubbed it “The Centre of It All” and went after a variety of sports events, trade shows and performances such as the Canadian tour of Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance.”
Moving on, she became director of guest services and security for Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, then venue supervisor of the Olympic Medals Plaza in Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Afterward, Philadelphia-based Global Spectrum made her general manager of its 6,500-seat Sarnia Sports and Entertainment Center in Sarnia, Ontario. In January 2003, Global chose her as general manager of the $71.5 million, 10,000-seat Everett Events Center that was set to open in October.
Recently renamed Comcast Arena at Everett Events Center, the facility has consistently ranked among the best in the world, rated by Venues Today, Pollstar and Billboard magazine surveys. In 2006, the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce honored the center with an Economic Sparkplug award for its key role in revitalizing downtown Everett’s economy.
Bedier herself has been recognized as a leader by local news media and, last August, by Venues Today, which chose her as one of the top five Women of Influence in her profession, based on votes of her peers.
“Actually, I think every woman working in this industry … deserves a medal. We all have our families and everything else we are trying to pull together. I just truly value that I’m in an industry where what we bring to the table is considered important,” Bedier told Venues Today magazine after receiving the award.
A single parent, Bedier is proud that her son, Jonathan, gained so much by being involved with her work.
“I need to be at so many events and spend much of my time at the center to see how programs or performances are going that he spent a lot of time here, too. It made him very extroverted and very social being with me so much. Naturally, I’m very proud of him. He was among the Kamiak High School seniors who attended one of the 12 school graduation ceremonies at the events center last spring,” she said. “He’s just begun college classes in Hawaii, studying political sciences but majoring in diving.”
Busy as she is, she loves the fact that “no two days are like any other. It’s never boring. I’m always looking forward to the next event.”
Meeting the challenges of her work takes a lot of experience, patience, energy and “not being afraid to try something new with imagination and confidence,” she said.
When she needs to recharge her energy supply, Bedier is refreshed by visits to Everett’s Jetty Island. She also has discovered how much she loves golf and hopes for more opportunities on the greens, but her real passion is yoga — Bikram-style “power yoga.”
“I took up yoga a couple years ago and go to five or more classes a week. It’s time for me when I have to be very focused on only one thing. It reduces stress and gives you clarity and focus in your work,” she said. “It really helps me back at the desk.”