Opting in 2009 to move from South Bend, Ind., the National Football Foundation will find a new home for the College Football Hall of Fame in the heart of downtown Atlanta. The new location will showcase the Hall within an exciting, entertaining attraction to hundreds of thousands of college football fans and other tourists and business travelers in one of the largest and most vibrant, diverse cities in the country.

The $66.5 million facility will top out at 94,256 square feet and will feature approximately 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, as well as a 45-yard indoor football field that also will serve as a unique, flexible programming and event space. The Hall is expected to open in the fall of 2014.

The new Hall of Fame is being constructed at the former “Green Parking Lot” of the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) on Marietta Street in downtown Atlanta. The attraction will be adjacent to GWCC (one of the largest convention facilities in the country), the Georgia Dome and the Omni Hotel. The site also is just steps from Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center, the Imagine It! Children’s Museum, and the soon-to-be-finished National Center for Civil and Human Rights, as well as numerous dining and hotel options.

In addition to being a valuable marketing asset for the State of Georgia and the City of Atlanta, the new attraction will have a significant economic impact on downtown Atlanta. During its construction, it will have a total economic impact of $67.3 million for the city and state. Once open, the facility will be self-supporting, operating on its own generated income through a mixture ticket sales, retail and events, with a projected $11.8 million in taxable sales each year. It will have an annual economic impact of approximately $12.7 million for Georgia, while generating more than $1.7 million in sales taxes to the city, county and state annually.


Atlanta Hall Management (AHM) is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3/509(a)2 charitable organization established to build and operate the College Football Hall Fame in Atlanta. AHM has been tasked with the responsibility of delivering a highly-immersive, interactive and engaging experience to Hall of Fame visitors. Slated to open in the fall of 2014, the new College Football Hall of Fame will be a 94,256-square-foot facility adjacent to the Georgia World Congress Center and Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta.

About the National Football Foundation

Founded in 1947 with early leadership from Gen. Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and immortal journalist Grantland Rice, the National Football Foundation (NFF) is a not-for-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people. With 121 chapters and more than 12,000 members nationwide, NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame, the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards presented by Fidelity Investments, Play It Smart, the NFF Hampshire Honor Society, the NFF National Scholar-Athlete Alumni Association, and scholarships of more than $1.3 million for college and high school scholar-athletes. The NFF presents the MacArthur Bowl and the William V. Campbell Trophy endowed by HealthSouth.

For more information, please visit www.footballfoundation.org.

Team Bios


John W. Stephenson Jr.

President & Chief Executive Officer

Born and raised in Atlanta, John Stephenson was named president and chief executive officer of Atlanta Hall Management, Inc. in February 2012, after serving for more than a year in the role on an interim basis. As President and CEO of Atlanta Hall Management, he is responsible for guiding the broader efforts to construct and develop the Hall.

Prior to joining the Hall, he was a corporate attorney at the law firm of Troutman Sanders. He joined the firm in 2000 and was named a partner in 2007. Having served as counsel to a number of clients in the hospitality, sports and entertainment industry, Stephenson was retained by project organizers in 2009 to assist with efforts to move the Hall to Atlanta.

Stephenson holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Georgia and lives in Atlanta with his wife, Megan, and kids, May and Jack.


John V. Christie

Executive Vice President & Chief Operations Officer

As chief operations officer, John Christie is responsible for the College Football Hall of Fame’s brand development and management, digital strategy, content development and integration, marketing and communications initiatives, as well as overall management of AHM’s project team, including AHM’s development partner, architect, exhibit designer, media production partner, general contractor, operational and financial consultants and its public relations agency. In his role, John also manages AHM’s important relationship with the state of Georgia (Georgia World Congress Center, State Properties Commission, GSFIC and the Attorney General’s office).

Prior to joining the Hall, John served as the executive vice president for XOS Digital and Collegiate Images, and vice president for the Collegiate Licensing Company. At XOS Digital, Christie oversaw the national partnership and sales teams within its digital business unit. He was directly responsible for securing contracts with XOS’ two most significant partners, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). In his role as general manager of the SEC Digital Network, John managed the network’s launch, as well as its promotional initiatives, mobile and tablet applications and program production.

As a graduate of the University of Arizona, he holds a master’s degree in athletic administration and a bachelor’s degree in history. He has been involved in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program since 1992, and is involved in a variety of additional community outreach programs. He and his wife, Julie, and his two children, Madison (15) and Jackson (11) reside in Marietta.


Brad Olecki

Vice President of Business Development and Sales

Brad Olecki is responsible for leading all fundraising efforts and revenue generation opportunities for the College Football Hall of Fame. He is charged with developing corporate partnerships for the Hall, strategizing and implementing the philanthropic, grassroots, and membership programs, while overseeing group ticket and event sales.

Prior to his role with the Hall, Olecki managed corporate partnership sales for Philips Arena, the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers. During his time working in professional sports, Olecki established himself as a top performer, developing several new partnerships and increasing sponsorship revenue each year.

Before his tenure in professional sports, Brad spent the majority of his career in college athletics where he worked with two different companies — Action Sports Media and ISP Sports. In his role with both companies, Olecki represented more than 60 university athletic departments developing corporate partnerships in TV, radio, digital advertising, and in-game promotions.

A longtime Atlanta resident, Olecki attended Morehead State University where he received his bachelor’s in business administration and was an All-American on the Eagles’ football team. He is very active in several community programs, including chairing the Boy Scouts’ Phoenix Campaign and serving on the committee for the Peach of an Athlete Awards. In 2002, he started the Young Sports Professionals Network, which provides a place for sports professionals to meet their peers and grow together in the sports industry. Olecki, his wife, Margaret Anne, and son Benjamin (1), live in Atlanta.


Mark A. Petersen

Vice President of Finance and Administration

As vice president of finance and administration, Mark is responsible for all finance functions, as well as information technology and human resources.

Mark is originally from Nebraska and has been in Atlanta since 1987. Prior to joining the Hall, Mark held financial and accounting roles at SITA (an air transport communications and IT solutions company), Arby’s, The Coca-Cola Company and Deloitte Accounting firm.

While at SITA, Mark was a senior finance manager, who delivered financial reporting, advice and direction to the senior leadership team and business unit management. Prior to SITA, Mark was director of financial accounting for the Arby’s Restaurant Group where he provided thought leadership, financial management and expertise in the integration of two key businesses and building of the corporate accounting function.

Mark, also, brings 16 years of experience at The Coca-Cola Company where he held a variety of roles including the business lead in a major reorganization within Coca-Cola Foodservice, financial lead for customer account teams and several major projects including the Subway account win, Coca-Cola Contour Bottle Re-Launch, strategic financial evaluation of Foodservice business, Circle K Account (fifth largest customer within Coca-Cola North America) and principal accountant at Coca-Cola Corporate dealing with Employee Benefit Programs.

Mark has four years of audit experience with Deloitte focusing on Fortune 500 companies in the food and manufacturing sectors.

Along with his CPA and CMA, Mark has achieved the Six Sigma Green Belt Certification. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Wayne State College in the University of Nebraska system.

He and his wife, Susan, live in Marietta with their two sons, Matthew, currently attending Georgia Tech and Michael, currently attending Florida State University.


Marcus Margerum

Vice President of Marketing & Communications

Marcus Margerum is the vice president of marketing and communications for the College Football Hall of Fame. He is responsible for creating, executing and managing the overall marketing and communications strategies to attract visitors to the new Hall.

Marcus has a unique combination of marketing experience, including traditional consumer package goods, brand strategy consulting and attraction marketing. He has successfully managed brands for SC Johnson Wax, including Ziploc, Glade, Raid, Scrubbing Bubbles and L’Oreal USA, including Dark & Lovely, Optimum Care and Magic Shave. He was a brand strategy consultant with the Zyman Group and most recently served as the vice president of marketing and sales for Zoo Atlanta.

In addition to his role at the College Football Hall of Fame, he currently serves as the chair of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) – Attractions Taskforce, is the past chair of the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s (AZA) Marketing Committee and past president of Hospitality Industry Professionals – Atlanta.

Marcus has a B.S. in business management from Hampton University and a MBA in marketing from Clark Atlanta University.

Marcus lives in College Park, Ga., with his 11-year-old son Matthew.


Matt Lynch

Vice President, Fan Experience

Matt Lynch is responsible for leading the hospitality vision for the guest experience at The College Football Hall of Fame. Lynch is charged with providing a best-in-class guest experience as well as selecting, training, empowering and recognizing the great fan ambassador team that will execute that experience.

Prior to joining Atlanta Hall Management, Lynch served as the director of guest services for the Atlanta Braves. During his six years with the Braves, Lynch championed the protection of the Braves brand through the oversight of the Turner Field guest experience.

Before his career in professional sports, Lynch served within the Business Excellence Group at Turner Broadcasting and learned the tools of the Baldrige Criteria, the National Performance Excellence Framework and served on the Board of Examiners for the State Quality Awards for both Florida and Georgia. Highlights of Lynch’s career include opening Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park at Walt Disney World in Florida and serving on the opening team of Disney’s London Production of The Lion King in London, England.

Lynch attend The College of Charleston and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Communications. Lynch, his wife Keisha, and two boys, Liam (6) and Noah (4) live in Suwanee and are avid South Carolina Gamecock fans.


Shawn Teske

Director of Operations and Infrastructure

Shawn Teske comes to the College Football Hall of Fame from the Georgia Tech Athletic Association, where as the director of facilities and capital planning, he had overseen the athletic facilities operations and construction for 13 years. He began his career at Georgia Tech as the head groundskeeper after serving as the athletic facilities supervisor at Virginia Tech. In February of 2000, he was promoted to the director role and has overseen the construction of seven athletic facilities in the last decade. A native of Blacksburg, Va., Teske currently resides in Fayetteville, Ga., and has two daughters – Cara (23) and Kelli (19).


Mike Bilbow

Vice President, Content and Production

Mike Bilbow brings more than 25 years of experience in the fields of television, collegiate athletics, and digital media to the College Football Hall of Fame. He is responsible for maintaining and updating the interactive video content across the Hall’s varied video displays.

Prior to joining the Hall of Fame, Mike was the executive director of new media for IMG College at the University of Georgia. The New Media team at UGA produced content for georgiadogs.com, TV shows, ancillary TV programming and web video (both live and on-demand), and assisted with content for big-screen productions in campus sports venues.
Previously, he was the director of video services for The University of Tulsa, where he oversaw the production of all coaches’ shows, video board content, and web streaming/podcasts.

Mike began his career as a sports photojournalist at KJRH in Tulsa, where he also produced the state’s first 30-minute weekly sports program.

Bilbow earned his bachelor’s degree in radio, television and film from Oklahoma State University in 1991. Mike is married to the former Molly Thomas of Tulsa, and has two sons — Jackson and Connor.