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Volume 20 No. 46

People and Pop Culture

Michael Young, senior vice president of corporate partnerships for the Los Angeles Dodgers, retired.

Delaware North promoted Rick Abramson to chief customer officer and Jim Houser to executive vice president and chief operating officer.

The Florida Panthers hired former NHL player Shawn Thornton as vice president of business operations.

The Minnesota Wild promoted Matt Majka to president and NHL board of governors alternate governor, Jamie Spencer to executive vice president of business development, Carin Anderson to senior vice president of corporate partnerships and retail management, Brent Flahr to senior vice president of hockey operations, Mitch Helgerson to senior vice president of marketing and ticket sales, Maria Troje to vice president of customer service and rentention, Erica McKenzie to senior manager of customer service and retention, Wayne Petersen to director of community relations and hockey partnerships, and Rachel Schuldt to executive director of the Wild Foundation.

The Los Angeles Kings named Gabe Gelbard community and player relations assistant and Cody von Rueden coordinator of Lil Kings and events.

Lewis Brisbois named Brian Michael Cooper partner of its Denver office in the entertainment, media and sports practice.

MKTG hired Doug Hall as senior vice president of sports and entertainment. Hall was senior vice president at Ascendant Sports Group.

MWWPR named Mark Riggs senior vice president. Riggs was executive vice president at Taylor.

Learfield promoted Gerry Dickey, Jeff Bolitho and Tim Utrup to vice president and Tom Wistrcill and Pat Fagan to senior vice president. The company named Scott Silvestri vice president and general manager at the University of Wisconsin and hired Gil Beverly as a vice president. Beverly was vice president of college sports marketing and sponsorship activation at ESPN.

Wasserman named Alan Palmer vice president of growth and development. Palmer was a founder and principal at Knowmatter.

Whistle Sports promoted Deirdre Lester to executive vice president and global head of brand partnerships.

TV executives Vincent Cordero and David Torres launched Invivo Media Group.

Fox Sports Digital senior vice president of content Mark Pesavento and vice president Mike Foss are leaving the company.

NextVR hired Joey Maestas as senior social marketing strategist. Maestas was a social media strategist for the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Rafa Matos formed race team Next Level Motorsports.

Formula One named Nigel Kerr finance director of motorsports, Jason Somerville head of aerodynamics and Craig Wilson head of vehicle performance.

Speedway Motorsports Inc. promoted Daniel Bandoly to director of business development, Bryan Hammond to executive director of business development and entertainment, Kelly Watts to manager of business development and Mike Ziegler to vice president of business development.

Orange County’s NASL club, which will begin play in spring 2018, hired Michael Collins as president and general manager.

Sporting Goods and Apparel
Columbia Sportswear President and Chief Operating Officer Bryan Timm is leaving the company.

Adidas hired Beth Gast as director of public relations in its Portland office. Gast was a global communications director for Nike Golf.

Sports Commissions and Tourism Boards
The Charlotte Sports Foundation promoted Will Pitts to associate executive director.

Amazon Tickets named Michael Shaw principal of business development for sports. Shaw was head of sports, arts and theater partnerships for Groupon.

Nolan Partners named Stewart King head of performance.

Awards and Boards
The Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame enshrined multisport athlete Overton Curtis, golf instructor Butch Harmon, boxer Floyd Mayweather, driver and race team owner Sam Schmidt and the Las Vegas Bowl.

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.

Josh Rebholz was fresh out of college in 2004 when he took a development job at Portland State making $21,000 a year and living in a friend’s basement. Now the senior associate athletic director at UCLA, Rebholz touts his time at Portland State, where he was a one-man fundraising department in a market obsessed with Oregon and Oregon State, as a critical step in his growth. Rebholz also has emerged as a leader among his fundraising peers now that he is president of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors. As part of the NACDA convention this week in Orlando, NAADD speakers will include Ohio State AD Gene Smith and WME-IMG co-CEO Patrick Whitesell.

  It’s a fairly volatile time in college athletics.


On the NACDA convention this week: The convention used to be “rah-rah” and you’d talk about how to sell more tickets. It was pretty basic stuff. Now it’s become a lot more sophisticated. You’re battling perceptions and the court of public opinion about all of the money in the system, but college athletics is still very much a benefit to campus and the community.

What else will administrators be discussing? There’s such increased attention in the difference between the divisions, the haves and the have-nots. The amount of money these deals are creating — at UCLA we did a $280 million Under Armour deal and a $150 million multimedia rights deal — how do we make sure this is an environment where the Portland States and others stay competitive.

What are the challenges with fundraising? If you’re talking to a donor and they know that your football coach makes $3.5 million, then it does become a much tougher sell on the philanthropy side. What we really try to stress is our student-athlete support. We have a $16 million scholarship bill each year. But I can’t lie — when we announced the $280 million Under Armour deal, we had some donors say, “Well, you don’t need my money.”

But donors keep giving: Access is, hands down, the biggest influencer, and mostly it’s access with our student athletes. When our donors get to meet and spend time with our student athletes, and they learn about them as people without a helmet or jersey.

What’s a good example? A few years ago, we had a linebacker, Myles Jack, and when he put that helmet on, he was “Superman.” But when he took it off, he was really shy. We have this dinner event at UCLA where we’ll have some student athletes there to mingle and network. Myles was so nervous. He didn’t know what to say. Well, at the end of the night, Myles said it was one of the greatest experiences he’d had at UCLA. He came away with all of these new relationships, and the donors got a chance to meet these young, wide-eyed athletes, and they know their donations are going to support these really special kids.

On working his way up: I tell these people that if you get a chance to take a job at a smaller school, even if your aspiration is to be the AD at Ohio State one day, you will be amazed at how much you learn and grow.

                                                                                                                               — Michael Smith

It’s warming up in Chicago, which meant the return of the Intersport Brand Engagement Summit and talk of what makes and keeps brands hot. Included was a trip May 30 to hear White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf and see a White Sox-Red Sox game.


Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Eelco van der Noll
Pro Football Hall of Fame’s David Baker
Instagram’s Brandon Gayle
Spalding’s Kenyatta Bynoe
Intersport’s Charlie Besser (right) chats during a VIP and speaker reception at his home.
Twitter’s Laura Froelich
Lauren Crupnick and Adrian Benjamin, both of Omnigon, attend a networking event sponsored by the Chicago Blackhawks.
Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf
Formula One Group’s Chase Carey
Ryan Luckey of AT&T and Blaise D’Sylva of Dr Pepper Snapple Group