In May 2016, 8 Gettysburg students accompanied Katy Mattson and Tiffany Kurzawa of the Center for Career Development for a three day Careers in Context trip focused on the sports industry and community development. The trip highlighted the many ways that students can work in sports-related fields, including collegiate and professional athletics, the management of major sporting events and venues, and sports organizations/media networks and how they engage with the communities around them. Overall, it was an extremely informative and fun few days! Read more to hear the full details of each day:
Day 1: We kicked off our trip on-campus with a panel of professionals with experience in the sports industry: Ed Tapscott P’14, Vice President of Player Programs at the Washington Wizards, and two members of the Gettysburg College community – Dave Wright P’08, P’13, P’16, the Assistant VP for Athletics and Development Officer, and Joe Lynch ’85, Executive Director of Alumni Relations, whose career background includes sports public relations – met with our group to discuss their individual career paths and provide advice about pursuing careers in the sports industry. Immediately following the panel, the group met with Mike Bishop, Manager in Dining Services, to discuss his experiences as a coach of local youth sports teams, including his service as President of Gettysburg Youth Soccer Corporation. After some travel by van, what better way to end our first day than with a visit to Yankee Stadium for a Yankees vs. Royals game!
Day 2: Alum Wayne Hasenbalg ’76, President/CEO of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA), invited his colleague from Marketing & Communications at NJSEA, as well as the CEO of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the impact that major sporting and entertainment events have on the local economy. The conversation continued at MetLife Stadium with CEO Ron VanDeVeen and Mark Stefanacci P’19, Sr. VP and General Counsel, where the group was also able to get a glimpse behind the scenes of managing such a large facility (tour included!) and the complexity of the bidding (and securing) process of events such as a Taylor Swift concert and the final championship match of COPA America – set to take place June 26 at MetLife Stadium. We then visited and toured the Meadowlands Racetrack and ended with a late lunch at Redd’s in order to hear first-hand from the manager (and son of the owner) just how important events held in the Meadowlands complex are for his family’s business.
Day 3: The group traveled into NYC for a visit at YES Network with alum Eric Handler ’86, VP of Communications. Eric invited two of his colleagues from the YES Network and Sports Video Group to also be a part of the discussion, which included conversations around career paths in sports media/technology, the national/media focus on sports, and the challenges and trends of the industry. Eric wrapped up the conversation with a few words of advice, including the importance of building and maintaining relationships, particularly in the sports industry – a prominent theme we heard throughout our three days of visits with professionals!