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Director of Operations Orleans Arena

• What’s so special about the Orleans Arena? A lot, actually. “We’re one of the 10 busiest arenas in America, and by far the busiest in Vegas,” says Berman. “We put on nearly 200 events per year, which, by comparison, is about triple the schedule of the Thomas & Mack.” Oh, snap!

 • How’d he get the job? “Ten years ago, I was a stay-at-home dad. A buddy called and asked me if I wanted to paint the ice for this new hockey team (The Wranglers). So I came down and painted their very first sheet of ice. I stuck around, and wound up painting every sheet of ice they played on for five years.”

 • Basketball season is Berman’s busiest time of the year, right? “Actually, no. The Orleans Arena is where Clark County holds all its high school graduations. During those two weeks, we have about half a million people come through our doors.”

 • Berman was a Marine before he was an arena manager. Was? Once a Marine ... “It definitely helped with my work ethic, but mostly it prepared me for a leadership position. The staff respects my time in the service, but I learned in the Corps that leadership isn’t about giving orders. It’s about getting people to follow you. Most of what I learned in leadership school was about public speaking — learning how to motivate.” He’s mellowed a bit in his methods, however. “I had to learn to take the edge off. Stage hands don’t respond well to push-ups.”

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• And now, The Case of the Six-Foot Styrofoam Boot That Went Missing at Coyote Country Fest: “Well, it’s a boot, but we knew it didn’t just walk away, so when we realized it was missing, we went and checked our surveillance tapes. The boot was on the back dock, and we saw a guy in a cowboy hat walk up to it, look around, and then drag it off to a tour bus. ... So after the tour’s next stop, we looked on YouTube and saw Dierks Bentley out on stage next to a very familiar-looking boot.” BootGate ended when Berman called Bentley’s manager, who paid to replace the boot.

• Berman frequently sees famous faces on the job. “But I don’t always recognize them,” Berman says. “One time there was a comedy show, and we had a guy trying to get on stage without any credentials. He was this tall black guy in a purple suit, claiming to be J.J. Walker. As soon as he said, ‘Dynomite!’ I realized who he was and let him through.”

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Comedian Shelley Berman has died at the age of 92. Here, he arrives at a reception for the 2008 Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.
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