Oak View Group (OVG), the global venue development, advisory, and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries, today announced the appointment of four executives at Coachella Valley Arena. Joining OVG is Shannon Miller as vice president, branding and community relations; Phillip Ransford as vice president, operations; Rich Franklin as senior director, corporate partnerships; and Arturo Aviles as community engagement manager.
“We are proud to welcome so many new, talented professionals to our quickly growing team at the arena,” said John Bolton, senior vice president of entertainment – facilities (OVG) & general manager, Coachella Valley Arena. “As we continue to move closer to our grand opening in late 2022, each of their contributions will be instrumental to helping shape our success as well as building strong, meaningful, and authentic relationships with the community.”
Former world-renowned Olympic head hockey coach Shannon Miller joins OVG as vice president of branding and community relations for Coachella Valley Arena and the AHL hockey team, where she will help build and grow the brand, as well as integrate the brand discussion into the larger conversation of supporting the team and arena.
Providing professional representation for the building of the new arena, the hockey team, and business operations, Miller will assist with the recruitment of talent to support the overall mission and goals of the AHL team and Arena, and their business operation in meeting financial goals and objectives.
As an experienced thought-leader and builder, she will assist in the decision-making process at the highest levels of the organization. Miller commented, “As a Palm Springs local resident and lifetime member of the global hockey community, it is such an honor to join the Oak View Group and their vision in bringing this crown jewel hockey and live entertainment lifestyle to our valley.”
Prior to joining OVG, Miller served as the head coach of the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs women’s ice hockey team from 1999 to 2015 where she built a world-class NCAA Division I Women’s Ice Hockey program. During her 15 years coaching in the NCAA, Miller set records by winning five NCAA Championships and producing 28 Olympians from several different countries, having a formidable impact on the growth and development of the women’s game globally.
In addition, she was the head coach of the Canadian national women’s hockey team which claimed gold at the 1997 IIHF World Women’s Championships, along with the silver medal in ice hockey at the 1998 Winter Olympics. Honored at the White House by the president of the United States five times, she has been a featured United Nations speaker on Title IX and gender equity.
Miller is a recipient of the 2020-2021 Plaintiff of Courage award from the National Employment Lawyers Association, as well as a 2020-2021 Inductee of the Sports Hall of Fame in Saskatchewan, Canada. In a historical win for women around the world and especially in athletics, in March of 2018, Miller won a landmark federal case in the state of Minnesota for sex discrimination and retaliation of Title IX complaints.
A case in the making for over three years, a jury of her peers from northern Minnesota decided unanimously in favor of Miller in less than four hours. Miller is Palm Springs area business owner and a member of the Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce Executive Board of Directors. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota.
Phillip Ransford comes to OVG as vice president of operations for Coachella Valley Arena where he will oversee the hockey ice, parking, event production, and readiness, maintenance, and functionality of the arena and grounds. He will report directly to Bolton.
Before joining OVG, Ransford served since 2017 as director of event management at the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission for The Dome at America’s Center. He previously served as the interim director of building operations for the NHL’s St. Louis Blues for four years and was director of operations for the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City, LA.
Ransford spent over ten years overseeing operations at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena and Cox Convention Center, home of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, and was on the inaugural opening team for the Paycom Center (formerly the Ford Center).
With more than 20 years of experience in radio sales and management, Rich Franklin joins OVG as senior director of corporate partnerships. In his new role, he will work closely with the OVG Global Partnerships team to sell corporate partnerships for both Coachella Valley Arena and the Coachella Valley AHL hockey team. Franklin will report to Ryan Brach, SVP of Global Partnerships West in Los Angeles.
Before joining OVG, Franklin worked for the past ten years as vice president of corporate partnerships for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League where he was responsible for overseeing the sales of team sponsorships.
Arturo Aviles comes aboard as community engagement manager for Coachella Valley Arena where he will be responsible for building and maintaining strong relationships with the nine cities and their constituents that make up the Coachella Valley.
In addition to managing outreach to the community during the pre-construction and building phases in regards to construction, noise, and business interruptions, Aviles will represent Coachella Valley Arena at community meetings, city and county events, and speaking engagements. Prior to joining OVG, Aviles served as treasurer for the City of Coachella.
Aviles holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s in instructional technology and design. Located on 43.35 acres of land at I-10 and Cook Street, in Riverside County on land owned by the Berger Foundation, the arena will be more than 300,000 square feet and feature 11,000-plus seats and include modern suites and premium hospitality clubs.
It will be the home of the Seattle Kraken’s American Hockey League (AHL) team and will include an adjoining facility that will serve as a year-round community gathering space and the training center for the AHL team. The arena is projected to open in the last quarter of 2022.