The COO of the Golden State Warriors, Rick Welts, has been given the opportunity to act as unofficial foreman for construction of the Chase Center, scheduled to open in late summer of 2019. The team and its owners hope to build a world-class entertainment center to rival Madison Square Garden.

Welts is the league’s first openly gay executive and brings a deep well of experience, with the Phoenix Suns, Seattle SuperSonics, and now the Oklahoma Thunder, to the project. Golden State coach Steve Kerr puts his trust in Welts’s experience and franchise-management knowledge.

The arena project is staying on schedule, with interior work planned to begin in 2019. Doors will open by later that summer. As a lifetime fan of the sport and league, Welts considers it an immense honor and privilege to be managing the construction of the arena. It’s not only a once-in-a-career opportunity, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the league executive.