IUP Student Soars with CNB Bank and the Pittsburgh Penguins
Jordan Hudzicki, 20, a native of Indiana, PA and a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) majoring in Geography, has been employed as a part-time Operations Supervisor at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex (KCAC) for the last two and a half years. The KCAC, managed by Pinnacle Venue Services, regularly hosts concerts, events and is also home court for the IUP Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams as well as IUP Women’s Volleyball.
For the 2015-2016 IUP basketball season, CNB Bank, headquartered in Clearfield, PA with a branch in Indiana, PA, agreed to sponsor the new promotional airship or “blimp” that KCAC Director of Corporate Sales, Mary Ann Lambrinos, had wanted to produce for several years. The purpose of the airship is to delight fans during event breaks by dropping promotional coupons, gifts, and offers. Although a great idea for IUP Athletics and for CNB Bank, there was only one problem. There was no pilot to fly the airship during the games. Enter Jordan who volunteered to learn how to fly the airship and be its pilot for all home basketball competitions. He had no idea to what heights it would take him.
After familiarizing himself with the complex remote control and practicing for hours in the dark Ed Fry Arena, Jordan finally taught himself how to fly and operate the sensitive, helium filled, present dropping blimp in time for the IUP Basketball season. It was a great success for CNB Bank, IUP Basketball and for Jordan but, unbeknownst to him, it wasn’t yet the end of his piloting career.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have several large airships varying in size and shape that they have used over the years. Chris Soltesz, Chief Pilot and Captain of the Airship crew at Pittsburgh Penguins home games, regularly auditions hopeful pilots but, because of the fickle and fragile nature of airships, not many receive an offer. Air conditioners, temperatures, patrons, lights and electrical wires all make flying an airship around Consol Energy Center a job for a skilled and seasoned professional. Enter Jordan…. again.
Jordan, because of his unique skill and interests, was invited to shadow Chris at home games for the remainder of the Pittsburgh Penguins 2015-16 season. Chris stated that “Jordan has practiced with the ship and has a very good grasp of what is needed to maintain it during a flight. I auditioned 34 professional pilots, technical gurus and most of them can’t do it. I finally found three candidates that I could work with.” Jordan happens to be one of those lucky candidates and wants to continue on his personal career flight in airship handling. He has already secured a permanent position as the CNB Blimp pilot for the IUP Basketball games over the next two years.
When asked what he thinks about how his story has unfolded, Jordan stated “What’s the worst that can happen by taking a chance? You have no idea where you may end up if you don’t travel the unknown road.” Spoken like a true geography student.
About the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex: The Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex (KCAC), is located on the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) along Wayne Avenue. The facility is a one hundred forty eight thousand five hundred (148,500) square-feet complex and offers multi-use adaptable spaces including the five thousand (5,000) seat Ed Fry Arena, the six hundred thirty (630) seat Toretti Auditorium, the seventeen thousand (17,000) square-foot state of the art Conference Center with multiple breakout rooms, and the six thousand (6,000) square foot Corporate Training and Executive Conference Center. Included in the Conference Center is a fully equipped E-Conference Room with videoconferencing as well as teleconferencing capabilities.
About Pinnacle Venue Services: While owned by Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), IUP selected Pinnacle Venue Services as the facility management and marketing firm for the Kovalchick Complex. Pinnacle Venue Services (www.pinnaclevs.us), with offices in Virginia Beach, VA, and San Antonio, TX, provides public assembly venue owners and operators with customized services that address the specific needs of their entertainment, sports, performing arts, conference and expo, civic and university facilities. Founded in November 2014, Pinnacle partners with venue owners and operators to be more profitable, more efficient, more customer and client friendly, and seek to reduce risk by creating an operating environment that is safe and secure.
About CNB Bank: For over 150 years, CNB Bank has been a leader in providing integrated financial solutions, which creates value for both consumers and businesses. Based on strong traditional values, CNB is dedicated to being the premier financial service provider in our communities, focused on the changing needs of people and businesses by providing the highest quality service. CNB Bank can be found online at www.CNBBank.bank.
About the Pittsburgh Penguins: Owned by Mario Lemieux, the Pittsburgh Penguins are an American professional ice hockey team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that competes in the National Hockey League (NHL). They are members of the league\'s Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference. The franchise was founded in 1967 as one of the first expansion teams during the league\'s original expansion from six to twelve teams. The Penguins played in the Civic Arena, also known to Pittsburgh fans as \"The Igloo\", from the time of their inception through the end of the 2009–10 season. They moved into their new arena, Consol Energy Center, to begin the 2010–11 NHL season. They have qualified for four Stanley Cup Finals, winning the Stanley Cup three times in their history – in 1991, 1992, and 2009.