HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) – Henrico County announced Wednesday that longtime head of the Richmond Raceway, Dennis Bickmeier, has been appointed to lead a new Henrico County sports tourism program and to manage their private-public facilities. These facilities include the new events center under construction at Virginia Center Commons.
He will take the lead at the Henrico Sports and Entertainment Authority starting April 18th.
According to a press release, Bickmeier has been head of Richmond Raceway since 2011, where he hosted two premier NASCAR race weekends and more than 200 concerts, trade and consumer shows and other events every year.
Before running Richmond Raceway, Bickmeier worked at the Michigan International Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Big West Conference and several major league sports teams. These included the Los Angeles Angels of the MLB, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks of the NHL and the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL.
Bickmeier also serves on the board of directors for Richmond Region Tourism, the Henrico Foundation and the Henrico Police Athletic League. He is also active with the Retail Merchants Association, ChamberRVA and the Henrico Career & Technical Center.
He worked closely with Henrico Country throughout the pandemic, during which the Richmond Raceway served as a mass testing and vaccination site.
Henrico County Manager John A. Vithoulkas said in the release, “Dennis Bickmeier is the absolute best person to lead the new Henrico County Sports and Entertainment Authority.”
Vithoulkas said he believes Bickmeier to be the best fit because of his knowledge of how entertainment events can fuel the economy and improve the quality of life for residents.
“Henrico has a lot to offer in sports tourism, from our existing facilities and fields, the new venue at Virginia Center Commons and the 17,000-seat arena planned at GreenCity,” Vithoulkas added. “With Dennis leading our efforts, I see endless possibilities for creating great visitor experiences, jobs, spending for our hotels, restaurants and other businesses and other benefits that will enliven and enrich our county and region.”
The Virginia Center Commons indoor sports and convocation center is expected to open by September 2023. Construction of the 180,000-square-foot event center is currently underway. The Board of Supervisors approved a $50 million agreement with Rebkee Co. to oversee the construction. This new event space is expected to greatly bolster Henrico’s already thriving sports tourism program.