Venues Today, a leading sports business publication, recently named Delaware North Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Abramson its 2016 Publisher’s Pick, in recognition of his long career and many achievements both with the company and in the sports hospitality industry.
The selection garnered Abramson a large profile story in the January edition of the subscription-based magazine, complete with tributes from several Delaware North clients and major food service partners.
Venues Today Editor-in-Chief Linda Deckard noted that Abramson’s contributions during his 47 years at Delaware North, first as a young vendor at the old Milwaukee County Stadium to his current role, go far beyond the concessions side of the business.
“Those who know him best cite his passion for the business and the firm, his ingenuity, his people skills and his management style (he calls it ‘management by walking around’) as reasons Abramson is a standout,” Deckard wrote.
Delaware North Co-CEO Lou Jacobs told the magazine that Abramson is the “custodian of the culture” for the company.
“It’s blocking and tackling, the fundamentals,” Jacobs said. “We can get too caught up in the strategic thinking and forget the fundamentals, and Rick is a constant voice reminding us of that.”
To Brad Mayne, CEO of MetLife Stadium, where Delaware North Sportservice serves fans of the New York Jets and Giants, Abramson brings a personal touch that is noticed by clients.
“My first day coming to MetLife Stadium, Rick and Jerry Jacobs Jr. came in to congratulate me,” Mayne told Venues Today. “That’s the type of company Delaware North is, all the way to the top.”
Abramson told the magazine that Delaware North’s platform as a hospitality company continues “to be built on maintaining good relationships. Business is based on relationships. Business is personal.”
Among the mentors Abramson credited in the profile are Delaware North Chairman Jeremy Jacobs, former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Dennis Szefel, former Delaware North chief administrative officer and still a strategic adviser.
In the mid-1990s, Szefel hired Abramson to oversee Delaware North’s takeover of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which he went on to help transform into a more inspiring experience for visitors.
“Rick’s an ingenious guy,” Szefel told the magazine. “He has a great innate sense of ingenuity. You think, ‘I wish I had thought of that.’”