Louisville Magazine

APR 2019

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/1096834

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Page 22 of 148

bearnos.com 20 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 4.19 Once a year, for a week in April, Galt House employees haul the mattresses and lin- ens out of a suite on the 24th floor of the hotel's west tow- er and transform the space into the Thun- der Over Louisville command center. Wires, monitors and headsets replace nightstands and pillows. "I've never seen the room as a suite," Thunder director Mandie Creed says. "I've only seen it as the command center, so it would throw me off if I walked in (while it was a room)." From her perch she can see the whole stretch of Waterfront Park, watching the patches of green slowly disappear as the crowd begins to swell in the lead-up to the THE BIT Photo by Jonathan Roberts SHIFT 30-minute fireworks display. Well, she can see it if she gets a chance to pay attention. "The day of the show is a lot of adrena- line," she says. She moves into the Galt House the Thursday before the Saturday show (April 13 this year). That Friday, she manages a few hours of sleep before stepping into the command center around 5 or 6 in the morning for an hour or two of quiet time to finalize the schedule. Throughout the day, she communicates with technicians on the barges and bridg- es, with pilots in the airshow. Even when things go wrong — like the year the com- mand center lost contact with technicians, or the time a computer glitch caused an 18-minute delay — the job exhilarates. "I hope it continues for another 30 years," Creed says. The 37-year-old is now in her sixth year as director (she started as an audio en- gineer in 2008), though her relationship to the event began long before that. Her father, Tim, co-created Thunder three de- cades ago as a way to kick off the Derby season. (Outside her Thunder responsi- bilities, Creed works as a lead engineer with her father's company, Communi- Thunder Wizard Inside the fireworks show command center. By Jenny Kiefer

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