Everyday Hero: David Baylor, Audience Services Manager

Posted: August 7, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Devon Madison

Years at Mason: Hard to say. David came to Mason in 1984 as a student. While an undergraduate he worked at Hemlock Overlook and the Patriot Center. After graduation he left for a year and a half and then returned. He has been in his current position for more than 13 years.

Current position: Audience Services Manager, Center for the Arts

How the seed was planted: David’s first job at Mason was working as an usher in the Patriot Center. “At the Patriot Center, I kind of got that itch to be in events, and I just stayed.”

David Baylor at Center for the Arts
David Baylor in the Center for the Arts lobby
Photo by Nicolas Tan

What he did when he left Mason: David left Hemlock Overlook in 1990 to work at a psychiatric hospital. There, he served as a challenge therapist, helping adolescents build self-esteem and gain life skills.

What he really does: “I oversee all of the audience service operations for the Center for the Arts of the College of Visual and Performing Arts — the ticketing, the front of house, concessions and merchandise operations. The audience service staff is the face of the CFA and makes sure that everyone visiting one of our facilities is made to feel at home and welcome.”

What he’s been studying at Mason: As an undergraduate, David majored in parks, recreation and leisure studies. When he returned to Mason to pursue a graduate degree, he studied arts management. He graduated with his MA in May.

What makes his job enjoyable: “My job is always changing; we have a different event almost every day, which keeps things exciting. There’s something interesting that one of my supervisors said about dealing with people, he called it the 95-5 rule. Ninety-five percent of the time only 5 percent of the people are going to cause any problems. It’s true. For the most part here, everyone is very nice, understanding. Even when things have gone wrong, people have been very understanding.”

What he likes best about his job: “The people I work with. And being here at the university and continuing to see it grow. Back in ’84, where we are sitting [Concert Hall] there were all trees with a beaver pond. I remember crossing through the woods to get to the Patriot Center when it first opened. Now it’s amazing to see just how much growth has occurred here. I also really enjoy being around the students and watching them grow and mature.”

What makes his job a little bit different: Working at the Concert Hall has given David the opportunity to meet many people, including some famous ones. Just to name a few: Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Carol Burnett, Christopher Reeves, Tom Selleck and Gregory Peck. Peck’s visit was particularly memorable because the actress who played Scout in the film “To Kill a Mockingbird” opposite Peck was in the audience that night. She and Peck hadn’t seen each other in 30 years. She came backstage afterward and the two chatted.

Personal goal: David recently returned from hiking in the Grand Canyon. His next goal? Hiking the canyon rim to rim.

What they’re saying about him:

“Dave Baylor is truly an everyday hero. Day in and day out, David’s calm, understanding manner is expressed in his dealing with Center for the Arts patrons, staff and rental clients. There is nobody that I would rather have in charge when it comes to dealing with a challenging issue or an emergency situation. His thoughtful, compassionate approach to ensuring that the center is dealing with accessibility issues has won praise from many patrons with special needs. On top of all this, he has a wonderful sense of humor and an affable personality, which make him a great supervisor and co-worker.”

—Tom Reynolds, director of external affairs in the College of Visual and Performing Arts

“David Baylor is probably one of the most self-effacing people I have ever worked with. Whether he is in the box office, supervising his staff of ticket sellers, speaking with the caterers about a concert hall reception, settling a patron’s ticket discrepancy or answering one of the dozens of questions I always had about ticket issues, he does it with humor and calm. In my 11 years at Mason, Dave was one of the ‘givens’ in an ever-changing landscape, and he and I would often pool our historical knowledge to strategize on marketing and sales tactics. I sincerely appreciated all his help during my time at Mason, and know that our patrons benefited tremendously from his superior customer service skills and wide institutional knowledge.”

—Ellen Acconcia, formerly Center for the Arts marketing manager/publicist

“I am always glad to hear Dave answer his phone. He is one of the friendliest, most positive people in the network of support for our performances, and always ready to lend his help.”

—Marjorie Summerall, program coordinator, Dance Department

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