Professor offers his experience to students
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 10:09
On his first day of work, 22-year-old Ed Traversari's very first assignment was to pick up the rock band America from the airport. He was then supposed to chauffer the group to the Syria Mosque in Oakland where they would be performing a concert later that night.
"Long story short, I almost broke down on the parkway, driving a Rolls Royce, in the rain and they all thought that I was going to kill America on my first day of work, and I thought, well, this is not a good way to start," said Traversari, the now 54-year-old veteran of Pittsburgh concert promotion, and newly employed adjunct professor at Point Park.
Traversari, using his 30 years of experience to teach the facilities and venue design and administration course under the sport, arts and entertainment management major, is excited to share his many stories and experiences with his students.
"A lot of kids want to get into the business and they would come down and say 'Look I don't know what you do, but I want to do it,' and they wouldn't know where to start," he said.
After hearing about the SAEM major from several Point Park interns, Traversari, who already had an interest in teaching, knew his knowledge of the entertainment business would fit well with the program. He said he wished a similar program had existed when he was a student at Robert Morris University.
"The major really drew me here. When I was starting I learned everything on my own, there were not even internships when I started," Traversari said. "Now they have this university that is giving kids the opportunity to take these great courses for this business."
David Mikesell sits three rows back from the front of Traversari's class. The junior SAEM major is equally excited about the course.
"It's one of the main reasons I came to Point Park," Mikesell said. "And Mr. Traversari's doing a great job, he's very detailed."
The detail could be due to his life-long love affair with the music industry.
"The opportunity to work with entertainment and putting on concerts was always a desire I had," Traversari said.
He said he caught the music bug when playing in his own band in high school.
"So to be a part of that system in any way was really enjoyable, and then to see the band get on stage was always exciting. Especially when we did really big shows and we knew what went into the set-up, and you suddenly realize 'Okay, I was a part of making this successful.'"
Beginning his career in 1975 as a band runner for DiCesare-Engler, which at one time was Pittsburgh's leading concert promotion company, Traversari said he did any and every job that was handed to him
"I was answering the phones, driving bands around, buying a little bit of advertising, and from there, I worked my way up to booking shows," Traversari said.
Traversari said DiCesare-Engler Productions was bought out by SFX Entertainment in 1999, which eventually became Live Nation, the name it still goes by today. Traversari stayed with the company through the many buyouts, gradually climbing his way up the ladder.
Over the years, he said he has occupied almost every job in concert promotion from band runner in 1975, to marketing director, to production manager, to talent buyer, to executive director of the former Chevrolet Amphitheatre. In May of this year, Traversari left Live Nation and has since started his own private consulting and freelance work in the promotion and marketing fields.
It is this real life experience that Soren Hogsgaard, dean of the School of Business, saw value in when meeting with Traversari.
"He brings the outside in," Hogsgaard said. "We are a career-oriented school, and he will bring the practicality into the classroom."
Traversari has scheduled the general managers from The Benedum Center, Heinz Field and Mellon Arena to speak to his class about what it is really like to run an entertainment facility. He also plans on bringing the classroom to the facilities, so students can see what happens behind the scenes through the eyes of a man who has seen it all.
Sara Demarco is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org