September 30, 2021
INDIANAPOLIS (September 30, 2021) - The 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs that celebrates the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®, today announces the following promotions and staff updates:
Lindsay Labas has been hired as Vice President, Marketing & Communications. She is responsible for oversight of the organization’s brand, and developing, managing, and executing integrated marketing and communication campaigns for the 500 Festival's events and programs. Labas is responsible for managing advertising strategies, media partnerships, external communication with stakeholders and promotions to participants, as well as identifying opportunities for growth, and increasing event registrations, ticket sales, and participation. Labas joined the 500 Festival staff in September 2021 and is a graduate of Purdue University.
Nick Kopka has been hired as Program & Event Manager. He is responsible for the operations and production of the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo, Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day & Rookie Run, 500 Festival Vendor Program, and the 500 Festival mini-mini. Kopka served as the seasonal logistics coordinator for the 500 Festival in 2016 and joined the 500 Festival full-time in July 2021. He is a graduate of Ball State University and earned an MBA and MSA from Ohio University.
Jennifer George has been hired as Program & Event Manager. With a special focus on the 500 Festival youth programs and events, she is responsible for the operations and production of the 500 Festival & Indianapolis 500 Education Program, presented by Indiana University Health, the 500 Festival Mini-Moves Program, the 500 Festival KidsFit Program, the Salesforce & JPMorgan Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run, and the courses for the 500 Festival mini-mini. George joined the 500 Festival staff in September 2021. She is a graduate of Hanover College and earned an MS in School Counseling from Butler University.
Helen Khamis has been promoted to Marketing Manager. In this role, Khamis is responsible for managing and implementing marketing and communication efforts for the 500 Festival’s events and programs. She joined the 500 Festival staff in 2019 and will continue to develop and lead the strategic marketing tactics including newsletters, social media, websites, and other print and digital content. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in public relations and strategic communications from Purdue University.
Kathleen Messmer has been hired as Marketing Coordinator. She is responsible for developing engaging content related to the 500 Festival’s events and programs via press releases, newsletters, blogs and more. Additionally, Messmer oversees tactics tied to the Indy Mini Ambassador Program, the 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by The National Bank of Indianapolis, and the 500 Festival Corporate Member Program, presented by Fifth Third Bank. Messmer is a former 500 Festival intern and contracted employee. She joined the 500 Festival full-time in July 2021 and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in public relations and strategic communications from Purdue University in the spring of 2021.
Lydia Thurston has been promoted to Registration, Ticketing, & Customer Service Senior Manager. In this role, she is responsible for the oversight of customer service for all 500 Festival events, including the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K, and AES 500 Festival Parade. Thurston is also responsible for the planning and execution of 500 Festival registration and ticketing sale strategies. Thurston joined the 500 Festival staff in 2018 and is a graduate of Butler University.
Christin Rollett has been hired as Registration, Ticketing, & Customer Service Coordinator. She is responsible for the planning and execution of 500 Festival registration and ticketing sales as well as collaborating within the organization to enhance customer service. She also manages group sales for various events, including the Employee Wellness Challenge for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5K. Rollett is a former 500 Festival intern and joined the 500 Festival full-time in July 2021. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree in tourism, hospitality, and event management from Indiana University.
To learn more about the 500 Festival’s events and programs, please visit 500festival.com.
About the 500 Festival
Founded in 1957, the 500 Festival is a not-for-profit organization that produces life-enriching events and programs celebrating the spirit and legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and fostering a positive impact on the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana. As one of the largest festivals in the nation, each year more than half a million people attend an event or program produced by the 500 Festival. Since its founding, the 500 Festival has contributed more than $500 million in economic value to Indianapolis. To learn more about the 500 Festival, visit 500festival.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.