SBJ/Feb. 7-13, 2011/People and Pop Culture

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  • Faces and Places

    Digging in for Rose Bowl renovation project

    Officials of the Rose Bowl, city of Pasadena, Tournament of Roses and UCLA participated Jan. 25 in groundbreaking ceremonies for the three-year, $152 million renovation of the Rose Bowl Stadium. From left: Rose Bowl Operating Co. President and Pasadena Vice Mayor Victor Gordo, Tournament of Roses President Rick Jackson, Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero and Andrea Van de Kamp, campaign director for Legacy Connections.

    Solutia ready to run

    At the Jan. 24 announcement of Solutia as the title sponsor of the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Louis Marathon, from left: Competitor Group VP David O’Connell, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay; Solutia CEO Jeff Quinn; Competitor Group VP Sean Clottu; and U.S. Olympian Alan Culpepper. Competitor Group will manage the race, which is set for Oct. 23, 2011.

    Heat, Hublot Watches party with heart

    The Miami Heat Charitable Fund raised more than $1.2 million at a benefit presented by Hublot Watches at the home of Heat President Pat Riley and his wife, Chris, on Jan. 20. From left: Eric Woolworth, Heat president of business operations; Jean-Claude Biver and Rick De La Croix of Hublot; and Steve Weber, Heat EVP of sales.

    NHL leaves legacy for North Carolina kids

    At the opening of an NHL-NHLPA All-Star Legacy Classroom during a North Carolina Children’s Hospital Chapel Hill visit Jan. 28, part of NHL All-Star Weekend in Raleigh, from left: The Philadelphia Flyers’ Claude Giroux, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Cam Ward, the Flyers’ Danny Briere, former player Aaron Ward, the hospital’s Dr. Alan Stiles, Cisco’s Joe Novak, former player and Companions in Courage founder Pat LaFontaine, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Hurricanes President and GM Jim Rutherford and hall of famer Grant Fuhr.

    Snider stars with Shining Stars

    The first Comcast SportsNet Shining Star Sports Awards to benefit the March of Dimes were held Jan. 21 at the Westin Philadelphia. With the evening’s Shining Star honorees are, back row, from left: Phillies pitcher Ryan Madson, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia SVP and GM Brian Monihan, Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk, Lifetime Achievement Award winner and Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider, Comcast Networks EVP Dan Finnerty and Comcast SportsNet Anchor and Shining Star MC Ron Burke.

    AthletesTouch holds first charity tournament

    AthletesTouch, a resource organization for former college and pro athletes now in other business careers, had 130 people at its first celebrity charity golf tournament Jan. 31 at MountainGate Country Club in Los Angeles. From left: AthletesTouch co-founder Kent Seton, special guests Jerry West and Marcellus Wiley, and co-founder Justin Blaine.

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  • People: John Force Racing reorganizes

    The Class AAA Pacific Coast League Las Vegas 51s promoted Chuck Johnson to general manager, and named Don Logan executive director.

    The Class AAA International League Norfolk (Va.) Tides hired Joe Pinto as director of business development and marketing. Pinto was general manager of Roger Dean Stadium.

    The Class AA Montgomery (Ala.) Biscuits promoted Marla Terranova Vickers to general manager.

    The Class A South Atlantic League Lexington (Ky.) Legends hired Jordan Gillum as an account executive.

    The independent Atlantic League York (Pa.) Revolution hired Ryan Long as stadium operations manager.


    The Heat Group promoted Keith Haeberle to director of media production.

    The Los Angeles Sparks hired Diana Imhoff as vice president of marketing partnerships, Ben Alkaly as director of communications and Lou Rosenberg as director of ticket sales.


    The College of Charleston hired Steve Stroud as associate athletic director for external affairs. Stroud was associate athletic director for external affairs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

    Pfeiffer University promoted Mary Ann Sunbury to athletic director, Jason Smith to assistant athletic director of operations and Micki Thompson to director of compliance and senior woman administrator.

    Rutgers University hired Brian Colvin as associate athletic director for finance and administration. Colvin was assistant athletic director for business affairs at Fordham University.

    The Buffalo Bills promoted Mary Owen to executive vice president of strategic planning.

    The Arena Football League Arizona Rattlers named Zach Truty director of public relations and player personnel.

    The National Hockey League Players’ Association hired Colin Campbell as director of corporate sponsorships, Robert DeGregory and Maria Dennis as associate counsel and Richard Rodier as a lawyer and economic consultant.

    GMR Marketing hired Allen Brooks as vice president of international client management. Brooks was vice president of Olympic marketing for SportsMark Management Group.

    Octagon named Simon Wardle chief strategy officer. Wardle was executive vice president and head of the Octagon Marketing North America Insights and Strategy unit.

    STR Marketplace hired Ray Adams as director of website development and technology and Jason Hensley as marketplace coordinator.

    World Sport Group hired Adrian Staiti as senior vice president of stadiums and arenas. Staiti was senior vice president of business operations for Front Row Marketing Services.

    Fox Networks promoted Jamia Bigalow to senior vice president of affiliate marketing.

    Blood-Horse Publications named Eric Mitchell editorial director of The Blood-Horse business unit, Evan Hammonds editor of and related digital media and Scot Gillies editor of professional products. Tom LaMarra will now manage the company’s team of news reporters and correspondent corps, and continue as news editor for The Blood-Horse family of products. Dan Liebman will continue as editor of The Blood-Horse magazine.

    Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic promoted George Psillos to vice president of finance and business administration, Steve McIntosh to director of on-air presentation and Steve Weber to director of technology. Jennifer Williams was hired as digital media producer for and Williams was an associate producer for

    Competitor Group promoted Courtney Baird to editor-in-chief of Inside Triathlon magazine.

    ESPN Star Sports named Colin Sherriff vice president of operations and technology. Sherriff was general manager for Television Systems Limited.

    Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket named Lindsay Amstutz director of marketing and on-air presentation.

    Speed promoted Erik Shirmer to producer, Jackson Gardner and Brian Buchauer to associate producers, Zach Grandle to associate manager for events, Melissa Reitano to manager for on-air strategy and planning, Paul Wilson to associate director for on-air branding and Matt Scoggins to associate writer and producer.

    Sportsman Channel named Greg Trager vice president of programming and production. Trager was senior director of programming and acquisitions at ESPN for the ESPN Outdoors and Bassmasters brands.

    Tennis Channel hired Gail Rodriguez as director of ad sales marketing. Rodriguez was a marketing strategy manager for Discovery Channel.

    Hendrick Motorsports
    promoted Shannon Hooper to manager of partnership development and Beth Jones to manager of hospitality and events. The organization hired Jake Backer and Brian Johnson as account executives and Sean Pragano as video production coordinator.

    John Force Racing reorganized its leadership by naming John Force chief executive officer; Robert Hight president; Dean
    general manager of the John Force Racing Brownsburg, Ind., facility; Ashley Force Hood president of John Force Entertainment; and hiring television producer Brent Travers to work with Force Hood on the development of a new reality television show.


    USA Water Polo hired Claudia Dodson as associate director of competition and Christy Medigovich as membership manager.

    FC Dallas
    restructured its senior leadership team by promoting Tom Jones to vice president of complex management and Nick Shafer to vice president of stadium operations; and naming Kelly Weller vice president of marketing, communications
    and strategic planning, Eduardo Carvacho senior director of international development, Jimmy Smith vice president of finance and Matt McInnis vice president of business development.

    The New England Revolution promoted Nick Kropelin to soccer operations manager and hired Evan Allen as assistant athletic trainer, Rob Dudley as equipment manager, Alex Kantor as communications coordinator and Stephen Sands as soccer operations coordinator.

    United Soccer Leagues hired Jason Arnold as USL Pro operations manager. Arnold was program director for i9 Sports’ franchise in Tampa.

    The New York Cosmos named Eric Cantona director of soccer and Cobi Jones associate director of soccer and ambassador.

    Sporting Goods and Apparel
    Easton Hockey named Tom Copeland western sales manager.

    Maverik Lacrosse hired Casey Connor as Mid-Atlantic regional manager. Connor was senior manager of sports marketing for Under Armour.

    Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards
    The Indiana Sports Corp. promoted Brad Bowman to senior vice president and chief financial officer and John Dedman to vice president of communications.

    The New Haven Open at Yale and Market New Haven promoted Dana Cialfi to tournament manager, Eliza Folsom to corporate sales and services manager, Scott Kurlansky to corporate partnerships manager and Megan Axtell to consumer sales and marketing manager.

    The Annika Foundation named Tatjana Chenoweth director of development. Chenoweth was a senior major gift officer and assistant director at Rollins College.

    Awards and Boards
    The Orange Bowl Committee named Jeffrey Roberts president and chairman of the board, Ford Gibson chairman-elect and Andrew Hertz first vice chair.

    Women in Sports and Events
    named to its national board of directors: Sophia Kuo, who will lead the organization’s signature mentoring program WISE Within; Amanda Mitchell, who will chair the career resources committee; Megha Parekh, who will join the governance committee; Melody Perry, who will serve as treasurer; Alison Wagner, who will be co-chair for the national growth and membership committee; and Erin Weinberg, who will lead the marketing and communications committee.

    People news
    To have your personnel announcements included in the People section, please send information and photos to Brandon McClung at 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202, or e-mail them to Electronic photos must be a jpg or tiff file for Macintosh, 2.25 inches wide at 300 dpi. Color only, please. News items may also be sent via fax to (704) 973-1401. If you have questions, call (704) 973-1425.

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  • What I Like: Christopher Erb, EA Sports, Vice President, Brand Marketing


    What I Like

    An insight: Managing up is not as important as managing down and across.

    An influential person in my career: My parents, who taught me the value of hard work and honesty.

    An out-of-the-box idea: Netflix completely changed the rental market and then cannibalized its own business with streaming. Don’t be afraid to change the model.

    A timeless idea: Listening to your customers.

    A business deal: In this current economic climate, it’s all about partnerships and collaboration.

    A sports facility: Yankee Stadium.

    A sports event: The Super Bowl.

    A strategy: Quality and focus. Do fewer things better.

    A hire: Alex Ferguson.

    A brand: Nike. Constantly impressed with their endless ability to “edit and amplify.”

    A trend: Social media. It is changing everything … for the moment.

    An innovation: Consuming digital content.

    A pro league or team business initiative: The NFL expanding overseas with regular-season games. Is the Super Bowl next?

    A story that bears watching: Upcoming potential NFL and NBA work stoppages.

    An idea or invention I wish I had thought of: Monetization of Twitter.

    A fantasy job: Brian Cashman’s!

    What I Like About

    My job: The opportunity to connect with EA Sports consumers on a daily basis and see their tireless passion for the brand.

    Sports: The ability of sports to bring entire communities together. Nothing else can galvanize a city, state or country like sports.

    Sports business: Its permanency.

    Sports media: ESPN’s “30 for 30” series. A great idea, executed well.

    Sports technology: No other entertainment industry sets the pace for technology like sports does.

    Competing: The constant, relentless drive to be the best.

    Sports fans: Their pure passion and loyalty.

    What I Would Like To

    Change in what I do: Less time working and more time playing FIFA 11.

    See: An NBA team return to Seattle.

    See more of in sports: Washington Husky victories.

    See less of in sports business: Personal seat licenses.

    See different: Same thing as everyone else — a playoff in college football.

    Eliminate: The current BCS system.

    What I Don’t Like

    In general: People who don’t put in the effort.

    Pet peeve: Negativity.

    In sports: Potential work stoppages.

    In business: E-mails. What happened to picking up the phone?

    About sports fans: Over-consumption.


    What I Like

    People: Faith and loyalty.

    That would surprise those who know me: I was a batboy for the Seattle Mariners for six years.

    Heroes: My wife for delivering our twin boys last year. She is an inspiration.

    Players: Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey Jr.

    Possession: My TV and DirecTV subscription.

    Memento: Game-used, signed baseball by Derek Jeter from his major league debut in Seattle.

    Time of year (because): Christmas break. Nothing means more than time with family.

    Music: Changes daily.

    Books: Mostly business or biographies … if I am not learning, I would rather be doing something else.

    Author: Malcolm Gladwell.

    Magazine: Fast Company.

    Websites: Twitter (@ChrisErb) and Facebook.

    Gadgets: My Xbox 360 and iPad.

    iPad app: At Bat.

    Chore: E-mail.

    Hobby: E-mail.

    Movies: Anything by Christopher Nolan.

    TV: “First 48” on A&E.

    Concerts: Patiently waiting for the upcoming Soundgarden tour.

    Artist: Frank Miller and Marc Ecko.

    Dessert: Chocolate mousse.

    Drink: Unsweet iced tea … by the gallon … from Chick-fil-A.

    Vacation spot: Paris.

    Singer: Eddie Vedder.

    Quote: “Well done is better than well said.” — Ben Franklin.

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