will-rogers-memorial-center
Will Rogers Memorial Center at night. * Photo provided by WRMC

Management Changes Leads at Will Rogers Memorial Center

With two decades experience in venue operations management and the equestrian industry, Allison McNamara, CEM, CVP, CMP, assumed the interim role of General Manager at Will Rogers Memorial Center after the retirement of current General Manager (GM) Kevin O Kemp, CMEC, CMP on April 30.

Kemp, after 23 years with the City of Fort Worth and 13 years as GM, will pass the reins to McNamara, who will oversee all operations, personnel and sales functions for the 120-acre complex. 

allison-mcnamara-will-rogers
Allison McNamara * Photo by WRMC

“With Allison’s experience in City operations, finance and team management, plus her education and enthusiasm for the equestrian industry, she will provide a smooth leadership transition for our key stakeholders,” said Mike Crum, director of the City of Fort Worth Public Events Department. “Claude’s back-of-house crew leadership and longstanding relationships with clients and vendors will offer stability during the transition.”

McNamara has been Operations Manager for the Fort Worth Convention Center(FWCC) since 2021 and has 18 years’ experience in the City’s Public Events Department. She began her tenure as an Event Coordinator at Will Rogers Memorial Center (WRMC) for seven years and advanced through department ranks with another seven years as Account Tech at the FWCC. She was then tapped as Acting Operations Manager of FWCC through the COVID-19 pandemic and was promoted to that position.

Her previous equestrian venue experience also includes a six-year stretch at the Mississippi Horse Park as a student and graduate from Mississippi State University, where McNamara earned a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science with an emphasis in Equines and a minor in Agribusiness. She holds numerous industry certifications, including Certified Venue Professional from the International Association of Venue Managers and Certified Exhibition Management from International Association of Exhibitions and Events. In May, she will receive her Master of Public Administration from the University of Texas at Arlington.

claude-humphrey
Claude Humphrey * Photo from WRMC

“Will Rogers Memorial Center holds a special place in my heart,” said McNamara. “I grew up attending events as a spectator and often reflect on the years I spent as an employee there. I am grateful for the opportunity to return, and I look forward to working with the incredible team at the facility and continuing strong partnerships with our clients. Also, many important capital projects are in the works and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition.”

Claude Humphrey, longtime WRMC Field Operations Supervisor, will step in as interim Operations Manager. With 37 years’ experience in Public Events at both Tarrant County and the City, Humphrey will lead day-to-day operations, event attendants, barn crews, maintenance and engineering. He will also be the main point of contact for multiple contractors.

Humphrey was named Manager of the Year at WRMC in 2018 and received Visit Fort Worth’s Beyond Award recognizing excellence in hospitality service in 2022. He completed the City’s year-long management training program and is certified by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council. A Fort Worth native, Humphrey is a graduate of Paschal High School. 

Both interim managers will be supported by the department’s executive team, experienced mid-managers and skilled back-of-house crews at WRMC.