Career Profile: Jayne Kraemer

The General
Jayne Kraemer

How do you create order out of chaos?

The answer is simple: Call Jayne Kraemer, Assistant Executive Director of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. For 17 years, Kraemer has taken seemingly disparate parts and crafted a ballet built on timing, willpower, and a healthy dose of Midwest tough.

From the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo to Rapid City Rush Hockey, Kraemer is responsible for Civic Center Operations that will generate $87 million in gross revenue annually in the Black Hills by 2020. During her tenure, she has garnered the reputation as a highly exacting manager whose superior leadership is recognized throughout city government.

Dealing with Hollywood promoters and cowboys is only a portion of her responsibilities. She coordinates a permanent staff of 40 employees and an additional army of 750 part-timers. And she needs all of them to manage the 1,500 events scheduled for the year.

The Staff at the Civic Center refer to her as “The General”. When asked about it Kraemer laughs, “the General is what they call me, but no one calls me that to my face.”

Priscilla Dominguez, a manager at the Civic Center, says, “With nearly 20 years of experience, there isn’t an event Jayne has not seen. Her understanding of the Civic Center is second to none and is critical to making every event a success.”

Trying to keep up with Kraemer at the Civic Center will short-circuit your Fitbit. She blazes a trail through the facility with eyes that constantly appraise the two arenas, Fine Arts Theatre, and 150,000 square feet of convention space and meeting rooms. Often she can be seen with an entourage of event services, ticketing, operations, and catering staff, all taking notes and trying to keep up. “When we have a show, operations can start as early as 6am on a Saturday morning. Our patrons see the finished product but it takes a lot of people to make it happen.”

Jayne Kraemer’s dedication and work ethic wasn’t forged overnight. That foundation was laid in a small windblown town in the center of South Dakota. Onida is a town of 800. Kraemer learned to work by watching her mother take care of the family and teach school. Hard work, straight talk, and family are a way of life in Onida, and part of Kraemer’s DNA.

Kraemer attended Northern State in Aberdeen. She met her husband Clark and graduated with a degree in Business Education. She worked as a teacher for a year and then moved to Minnesota with her husband where she worked in Community Relations with Super America for nine years.

Eighteen years ago the family moved to Rapid City. Shortly after the move, Kraemer started at the Civic Center. She began as an assistant but quickly graduated to managing events. The rest is history.

Negotiating with agents and show promoters to attract the best entertainment is no easy task. Promoters are a notorious lot and it takes vigilance and negotiation to protect the Civic Center’s interests. Jayne’s experience and perspective keeps the Civic Center on solid footing. Promoters appreciate her straightforward communication style. They know that their artists will be comfortable. It often leads to superior performances and repeat business from promoters that represent multiple acts.

“Jayne is the consummate professional. She leads by example and has high expectations of her employees. Her commitment to the Civic Center and the City of Rapid City is beyond reproach. No one works harder,” says Craig Baltzer, Executive Director of the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Jayne doesn’t know everyone in Rapid City but nearly. “It helps to have great relationships. It makes it easier to deliver the best experience for our clients,” says Kraemer.

Managers like Jayne Kraemer are rare. The Civic Center and the City are lucky to have her. If a big event is happening at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, be assured “The General” will be at The Center of it All.

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