Certified Arena Operator Program

USIndoor’s Certified Arena Operator Program is a must for anyone serious about running an indoor sports facility or in having a career in recreational sports management. With emphasis on day-to-day management, the CAO Program is the industry’s only professional credential. Lead by respected industry leaders and academicians in their areas of expertise, this intensive two-day program includes lectures, panel discussions, audience participation, written materials, and an exam. Besides a new title, attendees leave the program with measurable skills and knowledge essential for the general manager position. For facility owners, the Program also offers a means to improve the quality of existing staff, keep up with industry trends, and make better hiring decisions.

The CAO course takes place every even-numbered year in conjunction with USIndoor’s annual Facility Operators’ Conference & Tradeshow. Annual recertification is subject to additional requirements consisting of an annual certification fee and by attending the Conference or by participating in an article of GO Indoor, either by writing articles or being interviewed. For a complete set of rules, visit CAO Rules and Regulations.

Curriculum Topics

  • Commericial Sports Development
  • Management Applications
  • Financial Strategies
  • Pricing Strategies
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing & Advertising
  • Sponsorship Sales
  • Social Media
  • Birthday Parties & Events
  • Customer Service
  • Legal Considerations
  • Operations Protocol
  • Insurance & Risk Management
  • Food & Beverage

Code of Conduct

Those who earn the CAO credential pledge to:

  • Maintain exemplary standards of professional conduct.
  • Actively model and encourage the integration of ethics into all aspects of hir or her professional engagements.
  • Discharge his or her duties in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, and encourage others to do the same.
  • Strive to advance his or her knowledge and achieve higher levels of excellence in leadership and facility management.
  • Communicate all relevant knowledge I may gain to his or her superiors in his or her employment.
  • Maintain the confidentiality of all privileged information, except when so doing becomes an ethical or legal breach of conduct.
  • Serve all customers and suppliers fairly, holding foremost the interests of his or her employer and its industry.
  • Never use his or her position for undue personal gain.
  • Promptly and completely disclose to appropriate parties all potential and actual conflicts of interest.
  • Encourage colleagues and staff to participate in leadership activities of his or her employer and its industry.
  • Actively advance, support, and promote USIndoor membership and involvement in the profession of facility management through word and deed.

CAO Instructor Bios

Eric Sullivan

CAO Program Director

Eric earned his MBA in International Business and began his career as a professional soccer player. He joined The Sports Facilities Advisory in 2006 and has since held nearly every operational role through SFA & SFM’s growth. Eric now leads SFA and SFM’s growth effort by designing service solutions that help their clients achieve their goals. Eric developed the original financial and market analysis tools that SFA is most well-known for. Eric also led the first facility opening projects in company history, which paved the way for the launch of SFM. Since joining SFA & SFM, Eric has overseen and served as an advisor to hundreds of projects including market studies, financing plans, development plans, turn-arounds, and new facility openings. He currently leads SFA & SFM’s expansion efforts in their continued vision to integrate sports, fitness, education, leadership development, and adventure sports into communities around the globe. Eric became the CAO program director in 2019 and is a member of USIndoor’s Advisory Board of Directors.

Mark Grossman

President, The Monument Sports Group

A native of Richmond, Mark lettered in five sports and earned High School All-American status in soccer. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an interdisciplinary major of Sports Public Relations/Marketing and Speech Communication. Mark spent the next two years with the Washington Diplomats of the North American Soccer League. Returning to Chapel Hill, he owned “Heels OnWheels,” an outdoor/indoor roller skating business. Mark entered the insurance business in 1981, purchasing the independent agency where he was employed in 1987 and founding The Monument Sports Group in 2000 to service the insurance, financial services, and marketing needs of both professional and amateur sports owners, operators, and players. Monument Sports is proud to be the exclusive insurance agency for the United States Indoor Soccer Association. Mark is a member of USIndoor’s Advisory Board of Directors.

Jan Eric Nordmo

President, Off the Wall Soccer (CA)

Jan opened California’s Arena Soccer Centers, dba Off the Wall Soccer, in Santa Clara in 1993 and is a partner of Chico Sports Arena, dba Off the Wall Soccer in Chico. A graduate of the University of Washington (’87) in Seattle, he has a Master of Science in Recreational and Sports Science from Ohio University. He has played soccer since youth and has participated with several high-level championship teams, playing and coaching in national and international tournaments and events. Jan holds several coaching credentials, including the USSF “A” coaching license and the NSCAA Premier Diploma, and is a USSF licensed referee. He previously coached Ohlone College Men’s Soccer, Los Gatos High School Varsity Girls’ Soccer, and has coached in the Olympic Development Program for Cal North since 2001. Jan Eric has served as consultant to many professional sports organizations and worked with start-up sports arenas. He is the Managing Director for The Sports Arena Alliance in Northern California and sits on several local nonprofit boards. Off the Wall Soccer has been a proud member of USIndoor since 2002, and Jan was elected to its Board in 2010.

Peter Spanos

CEO, Vetta Sports

Peter Spanos is CEO of Vetta Sports Clubs, which has eight indoor sports facilities in the St. Louis, MO area. With soccer as the base, Vetta Sports has experience in multiple sports and in managing multiple locations. Vetta, named after Pete and John Spanos’ (COO) grandmother, has a long-term committed executive team, with 200 employees and over 1.5 million visitors per year. The team has managed locations in Indiana and diverse sports such as tennis, racquetball, volleyball, basketball, pools and fitness centers. In 2009 Ernst and Young awarded Pete Entrepreneur of the Year for service in the Central Midwest States. Pete is a former Division I soccer player, Xerox sales representative, and he earned an MBA prior to founding Vetta Sports. Driven by a passion to teach, instruction was a building block in the early years of Vetta. Today, along with new projects, Mr. Spanos spends time on strengthening management and is one of the lead course instructors for USIndoor’s Certified Arena Operators management certification. He joined USIndoor’s Advisory Board of Directors in 2003. Pete was the founding Board Chairman for America Scores St. Louis, a not-for-profit urban soccer, literacy and community service after school program, and he was the Co-Chairman of construction for the new St. Nicholas Church Parish Life Center in 2010.

John Wolohan

Professor, Syracuse University

Attorney John Wolohan is a professor of Sports Law in the Syracuse University Sport Management program and an Adjunct Professor in the Syracuse University College of Law. Professor Wolohan has been teaching and working in the fields of sports law, gaming law, and sports media rights for over 25 years. In addition to making numerous national and international presentations, he is one of the lead editors of the book “Law for Recreation and Sport Managers” by Cotten and Wolohan.

Arnold Zirkes

Principal, Net Results

Arnold represents numerous sports complexes, clubs, leagues, and state associations, principally with marketing and has helped open a number of indoor sports facilities. He formerly served as Director of Marketing for The Soccer Spot (MI), where he generated marketing revenue over $300,000. As Executive Director of Heartland Soccer Association in Kansas, he generated over $150,000 in sponsorships and advertising. In addition to managing an 18-field outdoor soccer complex and a league of 11,000 kids per season, he created and ran the Ohio South Youth Soccer Association’s Coaches Lecture Series for over 20 years. His special event management expertise includes organizing and running youth and adult tournaments of 40 to 438 teams, advertising and grass marketing. Arnold was recognized in 2000 by Major League Soccer as one of the top 100 soccer leaders in Ohio.

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