Stephani Nagle remembers the first time she came across the Interstate 74 bridge and saw the entertainment venue that would become the i wireless Center.
She was with her parents and a friend on the way to see the civic center's first show ever -- Neil Diamond.
"I remember we said it was our parent's music, but we loved it," she said. "I just remember how cool I thought it was that we had this arena now, and it was right in our back yard."
You don't have to be that old to remember when the entertainment landscape of the Quad-Cities was a little less than fertile, and if you wanted to see a live show, it usually meant a three- or four-hour drive to somewhere else.
"I don't think people realize how lucky we are to have this here," Mrs. Nagle said. "I think my first concert was at the Col Ballroom, and it was Club Nouveau. But yes, I remember driving to Milwaukee for their summer fest, Cedar Rapids, Chicago. I saw Bush, Counting Crows and Joan Jett at Palmer when they used to bring bands in. There wasn't a lot here for a long time."
Mrs. Nagle now works for the i wireless Center, formerly known as The Mark, as marketing manager, and is responsible for advertising cultural and sports events that come through the venue.
A St. Ambrose graduate,Mrs. Nagle started as an intern and loved the experience."I kept my foot in the door, I worked in the box office and kept up with what was going on here," she said. "Then, when there was an opening that fit, I put my name in for it."
She spent two years with her husband, Kevin, in Chicago, working to open the Sears Centre, but moved back to the Quad-Cities after the birth of their daughter, Peyton.
"We were both from here and we wanted to raise her in the Quad-Cities," she said. "I was lucky enough they had an opening and so I came back. Peyton's 5 and will be starting kindergarten next year."
Mrs. Nagle's job has changed a little, and she's now responsible for the i wireless Center's Facebook page, Twitter and updating its website.
"I enjoy it, I feel like it keeps me young," she said. "I have to know what people are listening to, reading and watching, and I don't think I would be quite as plugged in if I was doing something else. If i wasn't doing this, I think Facebook and Twitter would be kind of a head-scratcher for me."
She would love to see U2 come to the Quad-Cities, but admits "their stage is so huge I doubt it would fit in our back door."
She'd also love to see Billy Joel return, and Dave Matthews, but can't really complain about the acts that have come through.
"It's been a great year for us," she said. "Our country acts were amazing as usual. Maroon 5 was a highlight for me personally, and probably a highlight for a lot of people."
Mrs. Nagle said the concert experience has changed for her since she started working for the i wireless Center.
"I don't think you ever watch a concert or a sporting event in the same way because you know what goes into them, what an undertaking it all is," she said. "When the power went out during the Super Bowl, I snapped right to what we would be doing if that happened here, who would be doing what."
One of the biggest misperceptions people have when they learn what she does is thinking she gets to meet famous people.
"Everyone thinks that I have the most exciting job, but the truth is I usually don't get to see the people who come here unless they are on stage. Every now and then, if there's something special going on I will get to meet someone, but it doesn't happen often."
She said her daughter doesn't understand what her work day is like, too.
"She comes to a lot of the family events we have, like the circus and the rodeo and the Disney stuff, so she loves coming to mommy's work," Mrs. Nagle said. "She thinks Mickey Mouse is wandering around, and we have monster trucks, and there's a bunch of clowns wandering around. She doesn't quite have a grasp on that yet."
Outside of work, Mrs. Nagle said she's a fair-weather runner and plays golf with her husband, but plays it "poorly."
"Like a lot of parents of a 5-year-old, she's kind of our hobby," she said. "I used to read a ton, but now it's mostly "The Tale of Tink." I have a pretty serious 'Real Housewives' addiction from Bravo TV."
Mrs. Nagle said she's glad they moved back to the Quad-Cities."We loved Chicago when we didn't have a kid, but we knew we wanted to move back. We knew we would be more comfortable here. Hey, the Quad-Cities are a great place to grow up."
Especially now that you don't have to drive four hours to see a good concert.
Today is Monday, May 20, the 140th day of 2013. There are 225 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: A petition is being circulated asking the city council to order awell bored in Market Square. It would be a great accommodation to the public. 1888 -- 125 years ago: At 1 p.m. on May 18 the Mississippi River flooded its banks atRock Island and destroyed the warehouse of the Rock Island Lumber Co. and damagedRock Island Arsenal power plant. Total loss is estimated at $100,000. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Residents of Sough Rock Island Township are circulating apetition favoring the annexation of that area to the City of Rock Island. 1938 -- 75 years ago: A group of state members of the National Grandmothers Clubmeeting in Rock Island are making plans to petition for the observance of a NationalGrandmothers Day. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Deere and Co. reported today that its U.S. and Canadian sales forthe first half of the 1963 fiscal year set an all time record of $323,716.628. 1988 -- 25 years ago: William G. Lawrence, first administrative director, has retired fromPECO Enterprises, Inc. Prior to his service at PECO, Mr. Lawrence was the civilianpersonnel officer at the Rock Island Arsenal.