Jan 31, 2023
Celebrating a milestone
25 years seems like a long time. It is, in fact, one-quarter of a century. But for Mark Stoffel and Susan Hubbard, 25 years have gone by in a blink of an eye. 25 years ago this year, Saint Paul added a new building that would soon become a hub for events in the downtown area: the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Stoffel and Hubbard, who are married, are two of just a select few employees who have been working at RiverCentre from its inception in 1998 to present day, and time has seemed to weirdly stand still.
Hubbard, who is the Director of Booking Administration, began working for the company in 1994 as a marketing assistant. In her office above the main lobby in the Saint Paul Civic Center, Hubbard helped create newsletters for events (which they sent in the mail instead of email), among other marketing tasks.
Stoffel also started in 1994 as an Event Manager, along with Jim Ibister, Senior Vice President of Facilities for Minnesota Sports & Entertainment, as the first event managers ever at the Civic Center. Stoffel and Ibister’s first offices were in a shared closet, of all spaces. From his first event, a holiday hockey classic, Stoffel, who is now the Senior Director of Operations, began to enjoy the variety of what this job offered. “It was something different every day,” he said. “And it still is.”
When Stoffel and Hubbard started working in the organization, Saint Paul RiverCentre was in the construction process. Hubbard even had to have a separate pair of shoes that she wore when walking around the construction zone because of the concrete that would stain the shoes. Before they knew it, what was once an empty lot started to grow into a state-of-the-art convention center. “Watching buildings come out of the ground is pretty impressive,” Hubbard said. By 1998, the long-awaited debut had arrived. Since then, Saint Paul RiverCentre has hosted events from fundraising galas, to national conventions and rallies, and everything in between. One event in particular that stands out to Stoffel was the Republican National Convention in 2008, which took over the whole campus for three months.
A lot has changed in the past quarter century – from events coming and going, and surviving a global pandemic – but some things haven’t changed. One of those themes revolves around service. “That is something we pride ourselves on,” Hubbard said. As a core pillar of the organization, service to the client, customer and fellow employees is always at the front of the mind for everyone at Saint Paul RiverCentre, including Stoffel and Hubbard. “The people are what sets this place apart,” Hubbard said.
Even though employees like Stoffel and Hubbard have been with the company for nearly three decades, they still strive to learn and grow in their roles. “If you ever stop learning, you’re done,” Hubbard said. “It is amazing we are 25 years old. It gives you a great sense of pride.”