The 500 Festival announces the following new hires:
Ben Pawelak has been hired as Ticketing and Customer Relations Manager. His responsibilities include managing all ticketing for 500 Festival events, customer service and registration for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and related running events. Pawelak returns to the 500 Festival after a two year stint with the National Hockey League (NHL) in New York. A graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, he has also worked in ticketing for the National Football League (NFL) Philadelphia Eagles. Photo
Chris Panyard has been hired as Event Coordinator. His responsibilities include overseeing the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon Expo, Chase 500 Festival Rookie Run, warehouse logistics and vending program. An Indiana University graduate, Panyard previously worked as Logistics Coordinator for the 500 Festival, as well as Events Intern for Lucas Oil Stadium and Special Projects Assistant with Super Bowl XLVI. Photo
The 500 Festival announces the following promotions and changes:
Eric Rowles has been promoted to Event Director and now directs the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, Finish Line 500 Festival 5K, 500 Festival Training Series presented by OrthoIndy and 500 Festival Memorial Service presented by Rolls-Royce. In addition, he oversees Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day. Photo
Valerie Grudzien has been promoted to Program Manager. In addition to managing the 500 Festival and Indianapolis 500 Education Program presented by Indiana University Health, Grudzien now manages the Regions 500 Festival Snakepit Ball presented by Cindy and Paul Skjodt and supports the 500 Festival Volunteer Program, presented by Citizens Energy Group. Photo
Brett Sanford, Event Coordinator with the 500 Festival, will now coordinate Chase 500 Festival Kids’ Day and American Family Insurance 500 Festival Community Day, as well as the Mini Post-Race Party, Mini-Marathon entertainment, event permitting and merchandising. Photo
The mission of the 500 Festival is to advocate and celebrate the spirit, heritage and legacy of the Indianapolis 500®. Through social, cultural and educational events and programs, the 500 Festival enhances the quality of life for all citizens of our communities.
The 500 Festival, a not-for-profit volunteer organization, was created in 1957 to organize civic events celebrating the greatest race in the world. Over the past 56 years, the 500 Festival has grown to become one of the largest festivals in the nation.
Last year, more than 500,000 Hoosiers and visitors participated in nearly 50 events and programs throughout the month of May. Whether they were athletes running the Mini-Marathon, fourth grade students participating in the Education Program, families enjoying the state’s largest festival for kids or spectators being dazzled by one of the nation’s premier parades, they were there, celebrating the legacy.