Longtime IMS executive McAtee dies at 53
Longtime Indianapolis Motor Speedway executive Buddy McAtee died Feb. 12 in Indianapolis. He was 53.
McAtee passed away at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis with his family at his side.
An employee of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its affiliated companies since 1987, McAtee was promoted to the position of president, chief operating officer and executive producer of IMS Productions on Jan. 15, 2007 after serving as vice president and executive producer since 2002, and leading the company to new heights of creative programming, broadcasting and profitability.
"Buddy's contributions over a 20-year period have been enormous and have allowed us to grow as a company," said Tony George, IMS chief executive officer. "His leadership has taken on many forms, so much so that I have admired him as one of the most positive and energetic people I have ever known. He always was willing to go the extra mile, always willing to bring ideas to the table and offer solutions to problems or challenges. His love of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, having grown up in its shadows, fueled his passion for motorsports. He has been an integral part of the Indy Racing League from its inception and has been instrumental in all of our broadcast relationships.
"To say I will miss him would be an understatement. For all who knew him, we are privileged. For all who have worked with him, we feel honored."
Indianapolis native McAtee began his broadcasting career with Indianapolis television station WRTV Channel 6 while attending Indiana University, where he earned a degree in telecommunications and forensic studies in 1978. McAtee then spent almost a decade with WRTV as a news photographer, in sales and as promotion director.
He joined Wabash Valley Broadcasting, a subsidiary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in 1987, and then moved to the IMS staff in 1998 to sell sponsorships and oversee television production for Speedway events such as the Indianapolis 500, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and the United States Grand Prix.
During his tenure at IMS Productions, McAtee was responsible for many nationally broadcast programs, including the "Road to Indy" series, "Pit Pass" and "U.S. Grand Prix View." McAtee also oversaw production and television promotion of all IRL IndyCar Series events.
IMS Productions won numerous awards under McAtee's leadership, including many Telly Awards for outstanding local, regional and cable television commercials and programs, and video and film production. IMS Productions won six of the prestigious awards in 2005 alone.
One award for which McAtee was particularly proud was the prestigious accolade IMS Productions won for the one-hour documentary "Heart to Heart." The documentary was written and produced by IMS Productions and chronicled the story of Bailey Hunsberger, a then-12-year-old girl who suffered from various heart defects and sought treatment at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
"Heart to Heart" won the Best Documentary (Short) in November 2006 at the prestigious New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. The film was placed in the festival's Grand Festival Award category, the highest honor possible.
A personal commendation that McAtee was proud to receive was the Torchbearer Award from the Indiana University Cancer Center in May 2006. Seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, who also received treatment at IU Cancer Center, presented the award to McAtee.
McAtee is survived by his wife, Judy, and a daughter, Nikki.
Visitation is scheduled for 2-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15 at Crown Hill Funeral Home, 700 W. 38th St., Indianapolis. Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Feb. 16 at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis.
Memorial donations may be made to Indiana University Medical Center, Cancer Research. IMS PR