Darryl Benge, GSA Board of DirectorsSecretary
In his previous role as Arena General Manager, Darryl oversees building operations, guest experiences, food and beverage operations and capital asset planning and management. Prior to joining the Lightning organization, Darryl was the Assistant General Manager for First & Goal, Inc. Here he managed the maintenance and engineering, capital projects, fields, conversions and technical operations for Century Link Field and Event Center and the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
Prior to that he was the Director of Capital Planning and Projects where he was instrumental in the start-up, commissioning, and relocation of the Seahawks to their new home in Renton. Darryl joined First & Goal after working for the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum (EMP|SFM) as the Director of Facilities and Operations.
Darryl worked 16 years for the base operating service contractors at Naval Submarine Base Bangor. Darryl has a B.A in Business Management from the University of Washington and also earned a Certified Facilities Manager designation from IFMA in 2008.
Scott Jenkins, PLANLED Inc.EVP Strategic Partnerships
Scott Jenkins is currently the EVP Strategic Partnerships at PLANLED Inc.
Scott Jenkins joined AMB Sports & Entertainment Group in February 2014 to provide insight into the planning and construction of the new Atlanta Stadium leading up to its opening in 2017, after which he will manage the operations of the stadium. Jenkins comes to the Atlanta Falcons from the Seattle Mariners, where he spent the past seven-and-a-half years as vice president of ballpark operations and was responsible for overseeing all aspects of operating and managing Safeco Field.
Prior to joining the Mariners, Jenkins spent three years with the Philadelphia Eagles where he opened and managed Lincoln Financial Field. Scott has served as V.P. of Stadium Operations for the Milwaukee Brewers and Director of Facilities and Events for Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Wisconsin.
Kunal Merchant, Lotus AdvisoryManaging Director
Kunal Merchant is Managing Director of Lotus Advisory. In this capacity, Kunal provides strategic advisory, project management, public affairs, and communications support to a select portfolio of clients in sports, technology, real estate, politics, and media. Among Kunal’s recent projects are:
-Nashville MLS bid and stadium: Chief Strategist to Nashville Soccer Holdings on their successful 2017 bid to secure a Major League Soccer (MLS)
expansion club and develop a $275M MLS stadium, retail and entertainment district at the Fairgrounds Nashville.
-Sacramento MLS bid and stadium: Senior Advisor and Project Executive to Sacramento Republic FC’s ongoing bid for an MLS expansion club, including overseeing the successful completion of all planning, entitlement, design, preconstruction, financing, and public relations activities for the proposed $262M downtown MLS stadium, retail and entertainment district.
-MLS Training Center and Community Soccer Park: Project Executive on a preliminary feasibility study for a $60M public-private partnership for an MLS training facility and community soccer park.
-Sacramento Kings, Golden 1 Center and Downtown Commons: Central leadership role in the development and financing of the award winning $1.2B Golden 1 Center and Downtown Commons project in downtown Sacramento that includes a state-of-the-art 17,500 seat NBA arena, 250-room Kimpton hotel, and 630,000 square feet of mixed-use retail, office and entertainment. Kunal continues to advise the Kings on their broader downtown real estate development portfolio.
-Oak View Group: Strategic advisory and public policy support to a portfolio of Oak View’s venue business development initiatives nationwide.
-Airbnb: Kunal and Lotus have served in key strategic and project management capacities to Airbnb’s Global Public Policy team, advising and
executing on the company’s public policy and communication strategy in priority markets across the US.
Kunal previously served as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the Sacramento Kings, where he oversaw several strategic, political, media and community initiatives. He managed the Kings delegation to the 2014 NBA Global Games series in China, formulated the team’s “Greenprint” sustainability agenda, and developed the acclaimed Sacramento First labor and community benefits package for the Golden 1 Center.
Kunal is a Board Member for the Green Sports Alliance, one of the nation’s leading authorities on promoting sustainability in sports. Kunal was also an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco Graduate School of Sport Management, where he taught coursework on the intersection of sports and politics. In 2015, Kunal was featured in the ESPN Films 30 for 30 documentary Down in the Valley, which chronicled Sacramento’s historic fight to save the Kings from relocation.
Jason Twill, Urban Apostles Pty. Ltd.Director
Jason is the co-founder and founding chair of the Green Sports Alliance. With a career spanning over 20 years in urban development, Jason has been at the forefront of built environment transformation. His career experience includes delivery of sustainable mixed-income housing projects throughout New York City, delivery of Vulcan Inc.’s South Lake Union Innovation District in Seattle, Washington and serving as Head of Sustainability and Innovation for Lendlease Property, Australia.
Jason is founder and Director of Urban Apostles, a start-up real estate development and consulting services business specialising in regenerative development and alternative housing models for cities. Its work focuses on the intersection of the sharing economy and art of city making.
In 2016, Jason was appointed as an Innovation Fellow and Senior Lecturer within the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology Sydney and leads research into regenerative urbanism, housing affordability, and property economics.
He is also a co-founder the International Living Future Institute and a global advocate for Living Buildings and Communities. In 2018, Jason founded and launched the City Makers’ Guild, an education, advocacy and research group promoting more equitable and inclusive cities.
Jason was designated a LEED Fellow by the United States Green Building Council in 2014, was named a 2015 and 2017 Next City Global Urban Vanguard and is an appointed Champion and advisor to Nightingale Housing in Australia.
Jackie Ventura, Golden State Warriors/Chase CenterSr. Director, Sustainability, Facility Health & Hygiene
Jackie Ventura is currently the Sr. Director, Sustainability, Facility Health & Hygiene for the Golden State Warriors/Chase Center.
Jackie joined The Heat Group at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL in 2001 and in her last role, she monitored and tracked all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the Engineering and Operations departments including utility forecasting/tracking, labor distribution and building work orders as well as projecting and reconciling our multi-million dollar operating budget. In addition, she was the liaison for all vendors and contractors conducting business with the Engineering and Operations departments at the AA Arena.
In 2008 Jackie was approached to evaluate the NBA league-wide suggestions for viable sustainability initiatives for the AA Arena and she determined that the facility would satisfy all of the requirements for LEED Existing Building: Operations and Maintenance certification. Given her history and role in the department, Jackie was able to easily manage and administer the LEED certification completely in-house and within six months from project registration to certification award only employing the assistance of key staff members and vendors as needed. This earned the Arena the distinction of being the first NBA facility to earn LEED certification in April 2009. Since earning the certification, Jackie has also been charged with reviewing and recommending sustainability efforts for the facility as well as formalizing sustainability policies.