SportsEvents Readers’ Choice Awards: Emerging Sports Event Industry Leader for 2021

Justin Roach – National Director Events and Entertainment – Sports Facilities Management

Justin Roach joined the Sports Facilities Management (SFM) in early 2020 as the national director – events & entertainment.

He brings extensive experience in the sports tourism industry, previously serving as the director of business development with DuPage County, Illinois. Roach created and launched the DuPage Sports Commission, which represents the county’s 38 communities. He created new events will partnering to host dozens of national governing bodies and rights holder events.

Roach is also leading Sports Facilities’ Halo LAX events to grow the sport of lacrosse.

Don B. Dukemineer, STS, CHSP, director of sports development – Decatur Morgan County Tourism

Don Dukemineer joined Decatur Morgan County Tourism (Alabama) in early 2020 as its new director of sports development.

Before returning to North Alabama, Dukemineer was the deputy director of Foley Sports Tourism for two years and the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s convention sales manager for 12 years.

In 2008, Dukemineer was elected chairman of the Alabama Sports Initiative (Sports Alabama) by the Alabama Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (AADMO) and continues to serve in that position today.

Dukemineer represents the State of Alabama and its 13 member destinations to create awareness of Alabama’s history and tradition in hosting sports tourism events.

In 2017, Dukemineer served on the Sports Events & Tourism Association (Sports ETA) board of directors, the first Alabamian selected to that post. In 2019, he was nominated and elected to serve as secretary and then treasurer in early 2020. He currently serves as the Mentoring & Engagement Committee’s co-chair and is part of the Awards Committee.

In December 2020, Dukemineer was elected to serve as secretary of the Decatur Morgan County Hospitality Association.

In his current role, Dukemineer said that Decatur Morgan County Tourism is a nonprofit organization created to market Decatur and Morgan County to groups and individuals to enhance the economy and increase employment.

From June until the end of September, Decatur and Morgan County hosted 15 events during the pandemic. Through efforts with Decatur Parks and Recreation (DPR), the City of Decatur, and other partners, protocols were established for the community and visitors.

At the beginning of last year, Dukemineer said 50 events were scheduled, including the highly anticipated U.S. Youth Soccer (USYS) President’s Cup in June, which was anticipated to bring 144 youth soccer teams. Other events such as the Elite 50 National Invitational Showcase with 175 youth softball teams in June and USA Archery’s JOAD National Championship in July. The Fishers of Men Legacy Series Championship, the 2021 Catmasters Classic, and the Chick-fil-A Decatur Cross Country Nationals are all on the sports calendar.

“It is humbling to be recognized by my peers for this honor, and I feel blessed to have been nominated as an emerging leader to watch,” Dukemineer said. “I’ve always believed that you get out of our industry what you put into it, and I strive each day to give back by helping to make those around me and my community better.”

Dukemineer said the industry is strong and resilient because the individuals and organizations work every day to promote their communities.

“My hope is that I can continue to serve as a mentor to those in our industry, while at the same time, work to be an advocate for sports tourism,” he said.

Youngsville Sports Complex – Youngsville, Louisiana

“The Youngsville Sports Complex will be an industry leader in 2021 because they expanded with the addition of Sugar Beach, beach volleyball complex, which includes five sand competition courts,” said Angie Eckman, with ADWORX. “They currently host local beach volleyball tournaments with plans to host national beach volleyball tournaments to attract beach volleyball professionals from all over the country.”

The Sugar Beach, the new volleyball complex opened last March for local competition and larger events.

More than 500,000 people annually visit the complex for sports competitions and recreation. Youngsville expects to attract more players, coaches, and families to South Louisiana because of the facility in the coming years.