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Longtime i wireless Center staffer finds perfect mix at arena job
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Photo: Stephanie Makosky
Gerry Iverson of Rock Island has been an usher at the i wireless Center in Moline for 16 years. She also works the switchboard and information desk in the afternoons.
MOLINE -- Photographs of Rod Stewart, KISS, Eric Clapton, Reba McEntire, Cher and Elton John are but steps from her chair. The personable and outgoing sort sitting near the personages feels as though she knows them all.

"Those faces around the walls and the (Quad City) Mallards in those 'big' years have made this arena the destination it has become," said Gerry Iverson, usher-receptionist at the i wireless Center. "It's amazing the kinds of acts we have had and continue to attract. It says something about the building, the staff, and it says something about the people of the Quad-Cities who support it."

Ms. Iverson had no idea she'd be employed at the i wireless Center when it opened as The Mark of the Quad-Cities 17 years ago on land donated by Deere & Co. For her there was no vision other than being an event-goer.

"I looked around while attending a Reba (one of her favorite entertainers) show and thought this would be a great place to have a job," said the Rock Island woman. "It was nine months after the building opened, and I've had a great time since."

Monday through Friday, from 12:30 to 5 p.m., Ms. Iverson mans the switchboard and information desk at the events center. She directs calls and answers a bevy of questions about the arena and coming attractions. Her usher duties start about 90 minutes prior to that day's event with a rundown of what's happening, what kind of crowd the night will bring and what to expect.

Her role is simple: assist the patrons and make their concert or sporting-event experience pleasant and safe.

"It's important to understand people have spent hard-earned money and want to have a good time," said Ms. Iverson. "Our goal is to make sure they enjoy the event they paid to see. People are friendly and sometimes need assistance to find a seat, locate the bathrooms (her most-asked question) and learn what the arena is about. You can make a difference in someone's experience and you want that experience to be a good one."

Ms. Iverson said i wireless staffers go through periodic training, refresher courses in customer relations and safety. She was, however, not ready for one new experience her job provided.

"I never knew what marijuana smelled like," she said with a giggle about first smelling the distinct aroma wafting from certain members of the crowd. "I don't remember what concert it was, but I was not familiar with it. The KISS concert is the craziest I have ever seen it here, but it was a good crazy. I mean it gets loud for concerts and people get into the music, but everyone is respectful of each other. I'd say the KISS concert was the loudest for me and the most excited I have seen fans."

In addition to Ms. McEntire, Ms. Iverson has a soft spot for kids and the i wireless Center. Whether for the circus or other children-themed acts, Ms. Iverson said it's great to see youngsters on board. And let us not forget the soft side she has for the local hockey team.

"Maybe the Mallards did not put the building on the map in those great years, but they sure helped get it recognized," Ms. Iverson said. "Those were great days. The championships and the arena filled almost every night with great fans. I'm a fan. Those were some amazing times."

In her 16 years, Ms. Iverson said she has seen less than a handful of unruly fans at arena events.

"It's not an issue," she said. "Our security staff is so good, and clear heads usually prevail. The environment is always positive. Truth is people just want to enjoy a night out."

Ms. Iverson said she has found the perfect job, splitting time in the i wireless front office and working hands-on for a variety of events.

"I'm a fan and I buy tickets to events here," she said. "And when I'm not attending something, I'm working and getting to see others having a great time. You can't beat that.

"You can't beat the people I work with and the atmosphere of my job. I love that our community knows the arena is an important place and supports it. It's a place where people come to have a good time, and you can't beat working in a place like that."

Local events heading

  Today is Monday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2014. There are 72 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The store of Devoe and Crampton was entered and robbed of about $500 worth of gold pens and pocket cutlery last night.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Michael Malloy was named president of the Tri-City Stone Cutters Union.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dewitte C. Poole, former Moline newspaperman serving as vice consul general for the United States government in Paris, declared in a letter to friends that the once gay Paris is a city of sadness and desolation.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans for the construction of an $80,000 wholesale bakery at 2011 4th Ave. were announced by Harry and Nick Coin, of Rock Island. It is to be known as the Banquet Bakery.
1964 -- 50 years ago: An application has been filed for a state permit to organize a savings and loan association in Moline, it was announced. The applicants are Ben Butterworth, A.B. Lundahl, C. Richard Evans, John Harris, George Crampton and William Getz, all of Moline, Charles Roberts, Rock Island, and Charles Johnson, of Hampton.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Indian summer is quickly disappearing as temperatures slide into the 40s and 50s this week. Last week, highs were in the 80s.

(More History)