The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival department of Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Pro Football Hall of Fame have named the following key committee chairs: Laura Weisgarber, Ambassadors; Allyson Bussey, Guest Services; and Guy Ruda, Enshrinement.
Weisgarber, a Massillon native, graduated from Jackson High School and The Ohio State University. She had a 23-year career at Diebold, Inc. and most recently spent four years as controller at V & S Schuler. A member of the Ambassador Committee since 2000, and vice chair for the past four years, this is her first year as chairman. She is on the finance committee of Domestic Violence Project Inc., past president of Institute Management of Accountants, and past chairman of IMA Ohio Regional Council. A Eucharistic Minister at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, her only “child” has four legs and fur! Ambassadors Committee vice chairmen are Matthew Petit and Evan Hannon. The Ambassadors Committee is responsible for the First Play event, Ambassador Program, and Welcome Ambassadors. The Ambassador Program works with the returning Hall of Famers to visit and speak at various community locations. The Welcome Ambassador program has been entrusted with the responsibility of welcoming and assisting our thousands of visitors, which can include helping everyone from the paying customer to a returning Hall of Famer or other dignitary. The First Play event will begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 6. Nearly 2,000 enthusiastic youngsters will pass an official NFL football through a three-mile child link chain, from the site in downtown Canton where the NFL was founded in 1920, to the steps of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Emphasizing the importance of physical fitness starting at an early age, it is also a great ceremonial kick-off to an incredible weekend of football. Bussey is a graduate of Massillon Washington High School, Kent State University, Leadership Stark County Signature Program, and Ohio Tourism Leadership Academy. She has served on the Fan Appreciation Party and transitioned this year to chairman of the newly formed Guest Services Committee. She has received numerous award, including 2014 NE Ohio Tourism Excellence Award, 2012 ystark! 20 Under 40 Award, and 2011 Lake Chamber of Commerce Impact Award. She serves on the Ohio Travel Association Executive Board, is a founding member of the Ohio Has It! Group Tour Organization, and is chairperson of Heartland Travel Showcase. Guest Services is a new initiative to enhance the visitor experience and provide excellence in hospitality and information services. Volunteers will be stationed at strategically placed tents throughout Pro Football Hall of Fame campus during Hall of Fame Enshrinement weekend to answer visitor information questions and provide any other assistance as needed. These volunteers will have a broad knowledge of things happening on the campus grounds as well as what exists in the community. Guest Services will also be stationed at the Fairgrounds to assist visitors who will be transported to the campus, park and direct all motor coaches attending events, and oversee handicapped shuttle transportation. Bussey is being assisted by vice chair Mark Sibert. Ruda, a sales associate for R. Z. Marketing Group, is serving his 15th year as chairman of the Enshrinement Ceremony Committee. He previously served 18 years as a member of the committee, as well as three years as chairman of the former NFL Experience Committee. Ruda and his wife Gail are the proud parents of David and Danielle. Ruda and his team of volunteers prepare the facilities and programming for staging, seating and logistics of the Enshrinement Ceremony program. Assisting him will be co-vice chairmen Terry Coyne for planning and Dave McRoberts for facilities. The Enshrinement Ceremony for the Class of 2015 football greats will be held Saturday, Aug. 8, at 7 p.m. at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. The stellar Class of Enshrinees includes Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Charles Haley, Bill Polian, Junior Seau, Will Shields, Mick Tingelhoff, and Ron Wolf.