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Jax Daily Record Friday, Nov. 9, 200112:00 PM EST

Super Bowl staff ready to grow

by: Mike Sharkey

by Mike Sharkey

Staff Writer

The 2005 Super Bowl in Jacksonville will be a massive undertaking. Thousands of volunteers will work marathon days. Hundreds of off-duty police officers and firemen will assure the week-long event goes off as smoothly as possible.

Considering the magnitude of an event that is broadcast worldwide and commands advertising costs in excess of $1 million for a one-minute commercial, it’s almost kind of odd that currently the staff organizing the 2005 game consists of exactly two people — Mike Weinstein and Kandi Begue.

That will change, and soon.

Both Weinstein and Begue came from the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission; Weinstein was the executive director before stepping down at the end of September and Begue was the business office manager. Within the next few months Weinstein — who is now the president and CEO of the Super Bowl Host Committee — plans to significantly add to his staff.

While he has a pretty good idea of the type of people he wants, Weinstein isn’t exactly sure who will eventually comprise the entire staff. He does plan, however, to be fully staffed within days of this year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans.

“The best way to get a feel for who will be on staff is to look at who went to New Orleans,” said Weinstein, referring to this week’s trip taken by several City employees to look at how New Orleans is preparing for this year’s game.

Accompanying Weinstein to New Orleans was Theresa O’Donnell Price who handles special events for the City; Jacqui Gibbs, who handles procurement and minority business opportunities for the City; Pat Duncan of the JEDC, who will handle hospitality for the Super Bowl; Roz Phillips, who is the director of the Northwest Business Development for the JEDC; and Shelly Marino of the JEDC’s communications department.

Weinstein did not say he planned to hire these individuals away from their current jobs, but they represent the type of professionals his staff will need.

“They all have full-time jobs, but presently do Super Bowl work,” said Weinstein, adding that no one from JSO or Jacksonville Fire & Rescue went to New Orleans, but they will be a part of of the delegation that goes to New Orleans for this season’s Super Bowl. “Right now, the only full-time people are Kandi and me. For the next few months, that’s the way it will be. Then, we will slowly bring on staff.”

Another entity that will grow soon is the official Host Committee. Today it consists of 15 local prominent business leaders. That same group was on the official Super Bowl application Jacksonville’s Host Committee submitted to the National Football League a little over a year ago.

“It’s going to grow substantially, but it hasn’t grown yet,” said Weinstein, adding the Host Committee will eventually number about 60 people. “We will look geographically and by different industries.”

Weinstein said he expects to have a full Host Committee sometime between the end of the calendar year and the Super Bowl, which will be played Feb. 3.

“We want to hit the ground running for three years,” said Weinstein. “We have the 2005 Super Bowl and that sounds really far away, but it’s not. It’s less than three and a half years away.”

Deciding who to put on staff and the Host Committee may be difficult, but finding people willing to do either is proving easier than a second half comeback against the Jaguars.

“Every day, every speech, more and more people are volunteering and asking how their company can connect and be a part of the event,” said Weinstein, who is also a 2003 mayoral candidate. “I get resumes and people looking for jobs every day.”

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