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Volume 20 No. 42

People and Pop Culture

The St. Louis Cardinals promoted Ron Warner to assistant field coordinator, Dane Sorensen to director of baseball development, Jeremy Cohen to director of baseball analysis and systems, and Patrick Casanta to manager of baseball systems.

The Class AA Eastern League’s Akron (Ohio) RubberDucks hired Jody Sellers as director of ticket sales; James Phillips as executive chef; Zach Aaron as coordinator of creative services; James Parsons as assistant director of ballpark operations; Dominic DeMarco, Kyle Hixenbaugh and Thyran Nowden as ticket sales executives; and Brandon Fish, Jeff Bell, Joe Mayancsik, Lisa Roos, Rik Segel and Tyler Liles as ticket associates.

The Class AA Southern League’s Pensacola (Fla.) Blue Wahoos named Tony Atchley vice president of sales.

Baylor University named Doug McNamee senior associate athletic director for external relations. McNamee was senior associate athletic director for development for the Baylor Bear Foundation.

Wagner College hired Joe Varga as assistant athletic director for athlete performance. Varga was director of strength and conditioning for the Marshall University men’s basketball team.

Troy University named Tony Ferrante senior associate athletic director for facilities and operations, and Sandy Atkins added the title of deputy athletic director for internal operations to her role as senior woman administrator. The university hired Brent Jones as deputy athletic director for external operations and Kyle George as associate athletic director for marketing and sales.

The Philadelphia 76ers hired Sookjo Park as manager of esports business development for their franchise, Team Dignitas.

Michigan International Speedway hired Jason Lucas as director of marketing and communications. Lucas was director of consumer marketing at Daytona International Speedway.

Comcast Spectacor promoted Kim Damron to president of its Spectra Ticketing and Fan Engagement team, Steve Demots to chief revenue officer, Craig Ricks to senior vice president of marketing and Christian Lewis to vice president of business development.

MJC Partners hired Carlton Jenkins as president in its financial services group. Jenkins was a partner with The Yucaipa Cos.

The LPGA’s Symetra Tour promoted Dave Lafrennie to vice president of corporate partnerships and administration and Tim Kramer to senior director of tournament business affairs.

The Aspire Group promoted Kyle Brannigan and Meghan King to service consultants at Army and hired Amanda Paratore as a sales and service consultant at the University of South Florida, Maggie Sprague as a sales and service consultant at the University of Massachusetts and Cole Long as a sales consultant at Army.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Adidas named Aaron Maines director of soccer sports marketing. Maines was vice president of global soccer for Wasserman.

Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards

The Greater Columbus Sports Commission promoted Ariana Tyler to events manager, Laura Brown to marketing coordinator and Michelle Mercer to business development coordinator.

DTI Management hired Rey del Valle as chief financial officer. Del Valle was senior vice president of finance for AXS Ticketing.


The National Center for Drug Free Sport promoted Chris Guinty to president and chief executive officer.

Bellator hired Ryan Grab as senior director of communications and athlete strategy. Grab was director of communications for Phoenix International Raceway.

Awards and Boards
The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association named Ken Neal, a Fox South and SportsSouth producer, the recipient of the WBCA Mel Greenberg Media Award.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame named to its board of trustees Kim Metcalf-Kupres, Johnson Controls’ chief marketing officer; hall of famer Anthony Muñoz; and Amy Adams Strunk, Tennessee Titans controlling owner.

Lands’ End named Bob Bowman, MLB president of business and media, to its board of directors.

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 email 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.

Zach Maurides was a sophomore football player at Duke in 2004 when he came up with the idea for a mobile app that would make communication easier for large groups. He launched Teamworks in 2005, and last year raised $6 million in new capital. The firm services more than 1,000 pro and college clients globally. And with the NCAA as a client, Teamworks is the hub of communications for the 132 teams in the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

As a society, the reason we’ve moved more toward text and chat messaging is that it’s just the most efficient way to communicate. It sounds strange to say, but email is going the way of dinosaurs. It already has. The next generation that’s entering the workforce just doesn’t respond to email. It’s a less efficient form of communication.

On the root of Teamworks’ success: What we’ve done is digitize the whole flow and exchange of information, and it’s all happening on your phone. It’s built for a mobile workforce.

On the company’s role with the NCAA tournaments: You’ve got 132 teams competing in multiple locations with very quick turnarounds. That means we have to process a lot of information in a short period of time. We’re providing them with information on airlines and where they’re staying, bus companies, practices, shoot-arounds, media events … it’s all handled on the Teamworks platform. They have access to a dynamic schedule that reflects all updates, like a delay in the start time for TV.

On gravitating to faster, more efficient means of communication: I have family members just five or six years my junior who get annoyed when I leave a voicemail, because who uses voicemail anymore? And they’re right. A text message is far more efficient and less disruptive. That’s why there’s technology that converts voicemails to text.

On making the Teamworks platform a way to drive revenue: Universities are putting their donors and corporate sponsors on the system and it takes them to a fully branded experience in the team colors with a schedule of events specific to the donor. That could be exclusive access to information or videos or coaches’ messages. …You can snap a picture or video of the scene in the locker room and share that with your top 50 donors or your top sponsors. It makes them feel special with exclusive and instantaneous content.

On the power of communication: The really great leaders don’t just care about communication, they innovate their communication. … The great leaders are the ones trying to find new, more efficient ways to do things. … You can add more parts to the machine, but communication is really the grease within the machine.

                                                                                                                             — Michael Smith

USTA Foundation raises funds at MSG

At the USTA Foundation’s fundraising reception March 6, the day before the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden: actor Norm Lewis, ESPN’s Chris Evert and Chris McKendry, tennis pro Venus Williams, retired tennis pro Andy Roddick and USTA Foundation Executive Director Dan Faber.
SRLA honors

The Sport and Recreation Law Association recently celebrated its 30th anniversary during its conference in Las Vegas. Annual award winners included Natasha Brison, Texas A&M University; Steve McKelvey, University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Annie Clement, whose award was accepted on her behalf by SRLA President John Grady from the University of South Carolina.
Photo by: SRLA
Tatum at Octagon

At Octagon’s company meeting March 2: Octagon Chairman and CEO Rick Dudley; NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, a guest speaker; and John Shea, Octagon president of marketing and events.
Photo by: OCTAGON
Youth sports safety awards

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association presented its Youth Sports Safety Ambassador Awards on March 7 at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis: Larry Roziers, Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville; Scott Sailor, NATA president; and Jon Butler, Pop Warner Little Scholars.
Red Bull session

Marc de Grandpre, New York Red Bulls general manager, and Ray Kerins, Bayer Corp. SVP, at the Red Bulls’ annual partner summit at the W Hotel in New York City.
Partners and hardware

The Chicago Bulls held their annual team summit March 6 at the Advocate Center with more than 100 of the team’s corporate, community and marketing partners: Bulls VP of corporate sales Scott Sonnenberg; WANT and Voice of Gen Z Consulting founder Grace Masback; Bulls VP of marketing and communications Susan Goodenow; “Grow” author and keynote speaker Jim Stengel; and Bulls director of digital Dan Moriarty.
ACC takes Brooklyn

ACC Commissioner John Swofford and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CEO Brett Yormark were joined by Ama Dwimoh, special counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. The New York Life ACC Tournament was played at Barclays Center for the first time April 6-11.
Seen at MIT Sloan conference

At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference March 3-4 in Boston: The “Titans of the Sports Industry” panel: Jared Smith, Michael Spillane, Casey Wasserman, Michael Rubin, and moderator and conference co-founder Jessica Gelman.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver discussed the state of forecasting in sports, politics and investing.

Please submit photos for review of industry conferences, parties, product launches and openings showcasing the people and personalities at the event. Include the event date, location, names/titles of those featured along with credit information. The photo specifications are as follows: 300dpi, tiff, jpeg or eps color images. Submit digital photos for review at: or send color prints to: Faces & Places, c/o Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202.