Director, assistant director of Show Me Center to retire - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Director, assistant director of Show Me Center to retire

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

The first and only director of the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University will be retiring.

"Retirement was a decision I made for personal reasons," said Ross. "I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, playing golf, and enjoying some down time."

"It is time to hand the reins over to someone else to guide the Show Me Center through the next 25 years," Ross said in a release from the university. "I hope that whoever that becomes, they enjoy it as much as I have. Twenty-five years is a long time for a management team to be in place. It's time for a new era, to bring in fresh ideas to guide this extraordinary facility into the future."

David Ross was hired in January 1987 to guide the building through its grand opening and beyond.

Bob Cerchio, assistant director of the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts at the River Campus, will serve as interim director while a national search is conducted.

Ross' retirement will be effective May 31.  Ross is taking accumulated leave time until his retirement date, according to Southeast New Bureau Director Ann Hayes.

Hayes says Greg Talbut, the Show Me Center's assistant director, also announced his retirement and is also taking leave time that he has accumulated.

Heartland News asked Ross if there was anything more to the decision to retire at the same time.

"You know we came in together," said Ross. "It seems to just be a coincidence."

The announcement from the university comes just a week after a state audit found nearly $2,000 missing from Show Me Center concession money.  

The audit points to missing deposits and highlights the need to review internal controls over cash receipts and make improvements.

"When you're the captain of the ship you are responsible for everything that goes on," said Ross. "We would do 3 million a year, and sometimes there are missteps. We can't say where it went."

"That was the result of an incident from two years ago, 2009," said Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration. "

Mangels tells us both Ross and Talbut were not forced out for any reason including the audit.

"It was something we knew about, it was something we actually disclosed to the auditors, and we were already working with the Show Me Center," said Mangels. "I can see how people would put the circumstances together but there is no connection it was simply David's personal decision and we respect that."

Mangels went on to say the University is nothing but proud of what Ross brought to the Show Me Center. She says the University is also happy with the current state of affairs surrounding the venue.

"He is going to be hard to replace," said Mangels. "He was the first and only director. It will be hard to fill his shoes. That staff puts in 65-80 hours a week a piece. It's amazing what they pull off in just days."

Mangels says all acts under contract will still be coming to the Show Me Center. She says they have dreams for another exciting quarter century and beyond.

Ross tells Heartland News it was an honor to meet the incredible acts, see amazing entertainment, and share the experience with the staff and community.

"You never forget the excitement that's in the building," said Ross. "It's electric."

The Show Me Center is a cooperative venture between the City of Cape Girardeau and Southeast Missouri State University. The more than 7,000-seat, 32,000-square-foot facility is located at 1333 N. Sprigg Street. Over the last 25 years, the multi-use arena has hosted United States presidents, world class entertainment and concerts, championship sporting events, trade shows and many quality events for the southeast Missouri regional community. The facility is also the home court for Southeast's men's and women's basketball.

"We appreciate David's long tenure, dedication and passion for the Show Me Center," said Cape Girardeau City Manager Scott Meyer in a release. "The first quarter century of the facility was marked by great moments in the entertainment history of the City of Cape Girardeau," he said, recounting events and entertainers who have performed at the Show Me Center over the years, including Bob Hope, Bill Cosby, monster trucks and numerous athletic events. "It just shows how important that partnership is and has been to the vitality of this city."

Mangels said "The Show Me Center wouldn't be the premiere venue it is today if it wasn't for David's leadership. He is nationally known in the industry, and the University and community are so fortunate that he's given us 25 years of dedication and hard work. We can't thank him enough for the countless hours he has spent bringing top entertainment acts, speakers and athletic events to not only our University students, but the entire region."

Ross thanked all the Show Me Center employees for their hard work and dedication. Ross said few people realize they pull off all of the events and daily activities with a staff of just 13.

"All the energy that comes from doing live entertainment was there," said Ross. "The community pride, it's in everything that you do. Every decision we made was about what's best for the Show Me Center."

He plans to stay in Cape Girardeau and enjoy the many fine golf courses in the area. His future plans include traveling with his wife, Sue, and doing consulting work within the facility management business.

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