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Volume 24 No. 154

People and Pop Culture

Navigate Research President AJ MAESTAS spends an awful lot of time up in the air, as his role keeps him hopping around the country to serve his clients. When on the ground, Maestas calls Chicago home for around half of the year, but during the harsh winter months, he escapes to the warmer climate of Arizona. Like many jet-setting execs, Maestas values his downtime, and hopes for just a little taste of it before zipping off to Orlando this weekend.

SNOW BIRDS FLY WEST: We have an office in Scottsdale, Arizona, and I work out of that office until about mid-May. There are some legitimate reasons -- it’s easier to see people on the west coast for business and to spend time with the people in that office in person -- but you can imagine the timing of that schedule is not a coincidence. I’m kind of hiding from Chicago’s winter.

RESET BUTTON: Saturdays are my down days. I do so many business dinners in the week and travel so much -- I’m constantly flying -- that Saturday, I call that my rehab day. It’s like my restart day basically. I never go out late on Fridays, or rarely do. I get a big, slow, nice breakfast. I do a workout at my gym, which is right next to my office, so it’s super convenient. It’s an effort to sort of purge all the pain of the week and give myself downtime which I am not good at. I don’t get out of there until maybe 2:00pm. But I start fresh, it’s almost like a reset.

STATING HIS CASE: I’m going to go to the National Sports Forum this weekend. They have the Opening Dinner, they call it the Founders Dinner. It’s where all the speakers go and the sponsors. We are the people who write the Case Cup every year. So I’m going Saturday to be a part of the Case Cup. GMR is actually the one sponsoring the case this year and we’re working with them to write the case. It’s like a family reunion, so I am really looking forward to it. The National Sports Forum for me is ... like a wedding reception with your good friend from college who’s getting married. So you go back, you see all your old buddies. I’m really looking forward to Saturday.

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Depending on if I’m in Phoenix or Chicago, I have a couple of favorite breakfast spots that are all within a beach cruiser ride away. I love biking, but I’m not a serious cyclist. It's not like I’m doing it for competition. So something within a one-mile ring of my place and sit outside. I love eating outdoors. In Chicago, it’s probably John’s Place in Lincoln Park in my neighborhood. In Scottsdale, it’s the Herb Box or Olive & Ivy. Great brunch places.

LET’S GO FOR A CRUISE: Our Scottsdale office has five or six beach cruisers. They’re so fun. So that way a big group of us can go to lunch together at once. Our office is by this canal that runs through Old Town Scottsdale, so we can use that to get to all kinds of bars and restaurants and fun stuff. It’s more disliking driving and liking to be outdoors than it is about enjoying biking. But no question, if I can bike, I would never get in my car to drive somewhere on the weekend unless I absolutely have to. I do not wear a helmet. That’s not smart.

FAR FROM HOME: I was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. Eighteen years in this really cold town. So I always check the weather -- and it’s going to be 40 below there, not counting wind chill -- 40 below there this weekend. So I always check the weather. Then I always send a text to my brother or mother or call family and let them know what the weather is like where I am ... as well as check up on nice stuff too. Not just rubbing their nose in it.

UFC fighter MATT HUGHES has retired and taken the position of VP/Athlete Development & Government Relations with the MMA outfit (, 1/24)….The Univ. of Minnesota named RANDY HANDEL Associate AD/Development. He had been serving in the role on an interim basis since October (UM)….Penn State Univ. named Moravian College and Moravian Theological Seminary Chief of Staff JULIE DEL GIORNO Athletics Integrity Officer (PSU)….Online network security firm Fortinet named MLB Giants Chair Emeritus BILL NEUKOM to its BOD (Fortinet).

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In London, Ashling O'Connor writes former LOCOG Chair SEBASTIAN COE now has access to the U.K.’s "most powerful politicians, whose support will be critical if he is to be successful in what he describes as his next 'ten-year mission.'" Coe now "answers directly to U.K. Prime Minister DAVID CAMERON, who chairs the Cabinet Committee on Olympic and Paralympic Legacy." After only two meetings, Coe "is encouraged." It took Sydney "nine years to establish a similar body" after the '00 Summer Games. Coe, who "is not taking a salary for the role, does not see his job as political." He said, "This is a ten-year mission. Having this (unit) up and running 18 weeks after the Closing Ceremony is a good start" (LONDON TIMES, 1/25).

HELL OF AN ENGINEER: Georgia Tech AD MIKE BOBINSKI "agreed to a five-year contract worth an average of $695,000, with about a quarter of it coming in a deferred compensation package." His pay "starts at $625,000 and climbs to $725,000 by the fifth year, with $175,000 paid annually into a supplemental retirement plan that he becomes eligible for after he is at Tech for three years." Former GT AD DAN RADAKOVICH, who now serves as Clemson AD, "also had a significant deferred compensation package" (, 1/24)....LSU on Thursday announced that the proposed new contract for football coach LES MILES "calls for an average annual salary increase" from $3.751M to $4.3M over a seven-year term. The new deal "will be presented to the LSU Board of Supervisors at its Feb. 1 meeting" (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 1/25).

AWARDS & HONORS: The L.A. Sports Council named AEG President & CEO TIM LEIWEKE its '12 Sports Exec of the Year. The organization also named Gold Medal-winning U.S. beach volleyball players MISTY MAY-TREANOR and KERRI WALSH JENNINGS its Sportswomen of the Year (L.A. Sports Council)....Nationals GM MIKE RIZZO was named Exec of the Year by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (WASHINGTON POST, 1/25)....Indians manager TERRY FRANCONA received the Judge Emil Fuchs Memorial Award (, 1/24)....AHL Chicago Wolves Owner DON LEVIN on Sunday will be inducted into the Illinois Hockey HOF. Levin said of the Wolves' success on the ice and at the gate, "We've been really focused on being family entertainment, not raising prices a lot. Our entertainment is really family entertainment" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 1/25)....Northwestern State Univ. AD GREG BURKE was named the recipient of the '13 Contribution to Amateur Football Award by the Louisiana Chapter of the Nat'l Football Foundation & College HOF (NSU).

CHARITY STRIPE: The Orlando Magic Youth Fund on Thursday "surprised 17 local charities with more than $1 million." This came seven months after "hundreds of charities initially applied for the grants, and the winners had to endure a long winnowing process that included site visits by the selection committee." Magic CEO ALEX MARTINS said it was one of his "favorite days of the year" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/25)....Marlins LF LOGAN MORRISON raised more than $50,000 for the American Lung Association through his annual baseball camp earlier this month (, 1/24)....The Sharks’ charitable foundation, the Sharks Foundation, this week announced that it is “donating more than $419,000 in grants to 17 nonprofit groups” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 1/24).

NAMES: The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis on Thursday hosted a six-hour public visitation for late Baseball HOFer STAN MUSIAL. When the cathedral opened its doors at 2:00pm CT, the line “of mourners stretched a few hundred deep” (, 1/24)....The Duchess of Cambridge KATE MIDDLETON has accepted honorary membership to the All England Club (, 1/25)....Retired U.S. swimmer MICHAEL PHELPS and Basketball HOFer JULIUS ERVING will play in the PGA Tour Waste Management Phoenix Open Annexus Pro-Am on Wednesday (, 1/24)....Buccaneers coach and former Rutgers Univ. coach GREG SCHIANO “sent the university a $300,000 check this week, paying off the remainder of a no-interest home loan and cutting his last financial ties to the school” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/25)....Former MSG Sports President SCOTT O'NEIL and ESPN’s DARREN ROVELL are among the speakers at the inaugural Corporate Ticketing Impact Conference at MetLife Stadium on April 16 (ALSD)....NASCAR driver DANICA PATRICK yesterday said that she is dating fellow driver RICKY STENHOUSE JR. (AP, 1/25).