Residence: Augusta, Ga.
Year of Graduation: 1994
Major: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration;Sport Management concentration
Current position: Group sales manager for the Augusta GreenJackets, Class A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants
How did you end up coming to RMU?
I went to two prior schools before ultimately transferring to RMU. My original plan of trying to become a baseball coach took a detour, and I focused more on getting involved with the “business” side of industry. I liked how RMU’s curriculum was more business-based than other schools.
What was your RMU experience like?
The campus size suited me well, as my professors got to know me personally and professionally. It was also neat to be close to a major city like Pittsburgh, though RMU was far enough away that you can enjoy the peace and quiet.
Did you take part in any other activities/groups at RMU?
I worked for Marty Galosi in the sports information office for several years. I was also an assistant in the intramural office my last year there.
How did you get into minor league sports?
All my professors at RMU kept telling me to get involved and get motivated, so I started getting involved in things both on and off campus. When there was talk of a minor league baseball team coming to my hometown of Wilmington, Del., I contacted the local reporter for the paper there who was covering the story. He put me in touch with Buddy Harrelson, who was one of the team’s original owners. Buddy told the G.M. there he was impressed how I tracked him down. That led to an internship there. After doing another internship with the Blue Rocks the following year, I went to graduate school at Delta State University. I missed minor league baseball though, and did another internship with the Hudson Valley Renegades in New York. That helped me land my first full time job in Texas with the Midland RockHounds baseball team and Odessa Jackalopes hockey team, who were under the same ownership group.
What’s the minor league world like?
It is different than the show the fans see. We work very long and very hard. There is all kinds of work behind the scenes: selling sponsorships and tickets, coordinating events night after night, being able to adapt on the fly in case of a weather situation, etc. There are all kinds of details the fans don’t see that go into the final product. For example, a little league most likely just won’t buy hundreds of tickets. At our level, we need to provide incentives such as going onto the field, bringing the mascot to their location, providing order forms for the individual parents to order tickets. There is an awful lot of planning, coordination, and reaching out to many people to pull a night off. Many people have ideas, but you need to pick and choose what you do and what you put your efforts into. Just because we are in sports doesn’t mean you are on “easy street,” which I think some people think. We are effected by the same factors as other businesses. It is not uncommon for teams to move and/or fold and/or get new ownership and/or make cutbacks and/or get new management teams. So often, like in my case, you may a lot of moves. Many employees also move to another city for a promotion. It is a great feeling though to see an event come together and know that you played a role in it. With all the problems the world seems to have, minor league baseball is one thing that can bring entire communities together.
How has your RMU education helped you in your career?
Anytime I have a problem or I need someone to talk to, I know I can call Dave Synowka. If he can’t help me, he will put me in touch with a fellow RMU alumni who understands my situation. I feel connected to RMU. They also are concerned about my future growth, as evidenced by them always wanting me to be a part of their annual sport management conference. This not only allows me to share my thoughts with others, it allows me to learn from both students and industry insiders. Dave also has other ways of keeping the alumni connected. RMU is definitely a school that raises eyebrows when people see it listed on a resume.