Company: The Great Western Forum
Born: September 26, 1961
Education: University of Southern California, business administration, 1985
Hobbies: Collecting comic books, working out, running.
Career turning point: Being named president of the Forum.
By JOE BEL BRUNO
When she took over management of the Great Western Forum in 1995, Jeannie Buss had a tall order to fill: Bring down expenditures, raise revenues and come up with new events to entertain the crowds.
And as the daughter of Lakers and Forum owner Jerry Buss, she had something else to prove: That she didn't get the job just because she was the boss's daughter.
Today, Jeannie Buss can point to a series of accomplishments from the implementation of roller hockey to the sale of advertising on usher uniforms to defray their costs. But her biggest challenge lies ahead.
Kings owners Philip Anschutz and Edward P. Roski Jr. plan to build a new arena for the Lakers and Kings in downtown Los Angeles. Buss is now mulling her own future as well as that of the Forum.
Question: How did you get your start working for the Lakers?
Answer: I was 17, a senior in high school. My Dad owned the Lakers, the Kings and the Forum. It was before Magic Johnson, and the Lakers certainly had their reputation. But it wasn't the sports at the time that I was most excited about the best thing was being able to sit front row at a concert. Growing up, I had always talked about going into the family business. When I was young, my Dad's main business focus was real estate and I have a deep love for that too. He got involved in sports, and during the summers in high school I was an intern they used to call me an 'arena rat.'
Q: It's been two years now since being named president. What have you learned?
A: Just like any good business person, you increase revenues and decrease expenses. So this building has obviously been extremely successful. It wasn't like I was going to come in here and reinvent the wheel. But certainly there were some things that we looked at creatively and tried to bring new ideas to. For example, my favorite story is that, in our business, you replace usher uniforms every three to four years. Our's hadn't been replaced in like eight years. The amount of capital expense for new uniforms was a lot. So we turned it around and sold a patch on the usher uniform to Office Depot so that actually getting new uniforms became a revenue source. (Office Depot patches are placed on usher uniforms as a form of advertising.) It's a trend in the industry now.
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