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    While many of the county’s movers and shakers showed up at the Crown Coliseum to officially celebrate the organization’s naming of Paul Beard as its president and chief executive officer, his attention was not focused on the county’s leaders. Instead, it was focused on the current and former employees of the Crown.
    Beard, a lifelong resident of Cumberland County, began working at the Crown in 1995  when the facility was under construction. He worked his way up through the Crown organization, serving in a number of roles. Along the way, his hard work and dedication to his fellow employees earned him a lot of supporters. And they were all on hand on Thursday, April 24, to celebrate with him.
    “I’m especially pleased to see a lot of my fellow co-workers here,” said Beard. “They had a great love for this place and they still have a love for it. It means a lot to me to have you here. You have mentored me, helped me along the way and coached me to help me get here.”
    Beard also acknowledged the work of the Crown Center Commission, the board that has oversight of the facility.{mosimage}
    “Their commitment is long-term and day-to-day,” said Beard. “They spend a lot of time with us; embracing us and what we want to do. They are key to helping us succeed.”
    Chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners Breeden Blackwell noted that Beard was “the right man at the right time” for the Crown. He noted that Beard was more likely to brag about his staff than to tout his own success, but that his performance speaks for itself.
    And it is that success over the months Beard has served as interim CEO which made him the logical choice for the job. Since Beard took over the helm of the organization earlier this year, the coliseum has had five sold-out shows, and set a revenue record for the month of March.
    While the commission is quick to give accolades to Beard, he turns it back to his staff.
    “We could not succeed without the staff in this facility,” he said. “The staff here can overcome any obstacle — and they do it with a spirit of cooperation.”
    One of Beard’s first tasks after assuming responsibility for the coliseum was to write a new mission statement. He said he gathered the key leaders at the facility and they hammered out the mission statement. The statement centers around Beard’s idea of how the Crown’s customers and staff should expect to be treated. It also talks about raising the bar of the Crown’s fiscal performance and the way it is seen in the community.
    “We are building partnerships with the people in the community,” he said. “The Crown Center is an integral part of our community. The days when it was seen in an adversarial role are over.”
    {mosimage}While Beard is busy looking to the future — talking about expanding the facility and adding a hotel either on the campus of the facility or nearby — he hasn’t forgotten about its past. He in fact wants to embrace it. On May 19, the organization will rededicate the auditorium in honor of the men and women of the armed services. Later this year, the organization will rededicate the Charlie Rose Agri-Expo Center and its ties to our county’s farming community.

    Contact Janice Burton at: editor@upandcomingweekly.com

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