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New director hired for Joliet’s Rialto

VenuWorks has hired a New Lenox resident with past venue management experience in Joliet as the next executive director of the Rialto Square Theatre.

Wade Welsh, general manager of the Wintrust Sports Complex in Bedford Park, will start at the Joliet theater on Monday.

Welsh previously worked as a sales director at Chicagoland Speedway, the Joliet NASCAR race track that has not hosted a race since 2019.

“He actually was referred to me by Scott Paddock,” said Robert Filotto, chairman of the Will County Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority, which oversees the Rialto.

Paddock was president of Chicagoland Speedway before it stopped hosting races and currently is senior vice president of external affairs at Silver Cross Hospital.

Welsh worked with Paddock for several years and lives in New Lenox with his family, Filotto said.

“I am very excited about having him join us,” Filotto said.

Welsh replaces Val Devine, the executive director of the Rialto for five years. Devine in March announced her resignation, saying she had decided to leave the entertainment business.

The hiring of Welsh was announced by VenuWorks, the Ames, Iowa-based venue management company that is contracted by the auditorium authority to manage the Rialto.

“Wade possesses the exact combination of leadership and industry experience to make a positive impact at the theater,” VenuWorks President Steve Peters said in a news release. “There is no doubt he will be a key contributor to our continued success in Joliet.”

Welsh brings nearly two decades of experience in the entertainment business and venue management, VenuWorks said in the statement.

“It is a great honor to have been selected by VenuWorks to lead the management team of the iconic Rialto Square Theatre,” Welsh said in the release. “My entire career has been spent in the entertainment industry and I look forward to leveraging my experience for the success at the theater.”

Welsh is employed by VenuWorks, which also has been signed on for another five-year contract to manage the Rialto.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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