Hyack hires new executive director
The Hyack Festival Association has hired a former television producer and event organizer as its new executive director.
Douglas Smith had been serving as managing partner of Alliance West Sports Entertainment which ran the Khatsahlano Music and Art Festival on Fourth Avenue in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood, drawing more than 60,000 people.
Smith has also helped organize the City of Surrey's major annual events, growing its Canada Day celebrations and establishing the Fusion Multicultural Festival.
"We're thrilled with the hiring," said Hyack president Rick Molstad. "He's very confident. His background shows he's had experience in organizing successful festivals.
"We hope that he's going to bring some fresh, new ideas to us and enhance the events that we put on for the community."
Smith replaces Melanie Vogel, a native of Germany who held the position for two and a half years before resigning to continue her world travels.
From Smith's perspective, he sees a lot of potential in all of Hyack's events throughout the year.
"I saw the opportunity for growth. I saw some of the event properties that Hyack is involved with. I also love the community. It's an established community, it has so much heritage, tradition and that's a tremendous asset to build on too," said Smith. "I think New Westminster has a lot of assets to build on."
Smith said his success at developing sponsorships and forging partnerships has paid off for the organizations he has worked for. And by doing that Smith believes he can raise the bar on the festivals. For instance, by increasing sponsorship Smith said he was able to pay Canadian rocker Tom Cochrane $50,000 to appear at Surrey's Canada Day celebrations.
"I do think we can identify some revenue streams and some partnerships and relationships that can maybe add to what we're doing. As time goes we'll certainly look at other event opportunities," said Smith.
Smith says the schedule of events Hyack is responsible for is "a very full plate." First up for him is the 25th annual Christmas Parade of Lights on Dec. 3, for which Hyack hopes to announce a presenting sponsor, although Smith admits the acquisition wasn't his doing since his first day on the job was Nov. 1.
Smith started his career doing sports television in Montreal. That evolved into producing events like a golf tournament for TSN which in turn evolved into event management.
"I've got a unique background in terms of an understanding what it takes to make a large, celebratory event," said Smith, who lives in White Rock but is looking to relocate to New Westminster.
He isn't discouraged about some of the comments made about how Hyack has become predictable and needs to up its game.
"You can always do a better job, and that would be my motivation," said Smith, who won't say anything about any grand plans. "A lot of that will be decided by the enthusiasm of the community itself.
"That's all for another day. I don't want to come off sounding like I'm going to change the world."