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Executive Vice President, Ticketing, Suites & Corporate Hospitality - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
As Executive Vice President of Ticketing, Suites and Corporate Hospitality, John Abbamondi is responsible for driving sales, retention, customer service and growth initiatives for all tickets, clubs and premium hospitality products across all of the company’s sports and entertainment assets, including MSG’s professional teams, famed showplaces and original productions. Mr. Abbamondi defines and institutes strategic and operational performance standards for sales, operations and service across departmental functions, which include: season subscriptions, service and retention, individual and group tickets and premium hospitality.
Mr. Abbamondi has more than a decade of experience in the sports industry, including team and league positions at the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. Prior to joining MSG in 2016, Mr. Abbamondi served as Senior Vice President of Team Marketing and Business Operations for the NBA. In this role, he was responsible for growing NBA team profitability through strategic consulting on all aspects of business operations, including ticket and suite sales and service, corporate partnerships, marketing and digital, and arena development and operations. Before joining the NBA in 2013, Mr. Abbamondi was Vice President of Strategy and Business Analysis for the San Diego Padres, overseeing a team that was charged with long-term strategic planning and project management. Previously, he served as Assistant General Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, where he helped lead all aspects of the club’s Major League operations, including professional scouting, analytics and contract negotiations. Mr. Abbamondi began his sports career at Major League Baseball as part of the League’s Labor Relations Department.
Before beginning his career in sports, Mr. Abbamondi served nine years as a U.S. Navy flight officer and is a two-time recipient of the Navy Air Medal with 40 combat missions over Iraq. He earned a Bachelor of Science in political science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Master of Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Group Vice President, Ticketing & Guest Experience - ST. LOUIS BLUES
Josh Bender was named Group Vice-President of Ticketing and Guest Experience for the St. Louis Blues, Scottrade Center and the Peabody Opera House in September of 2014. Entering his 18th year in the sports ticketing industry, he is responsible for all of the ticket sales and service programs of the St Louis Blues and Scottrade Center, including ticket packages, premium seating, suites, groups and single game sales, as well as all ticketing functions for the Peabody Opera House.
In addition to driving record ticket revenue growth, Bender has implemented comprehensive changes to all aspects of the ticketing programs in St. Louis, including a complete transformation to a data-driven marketing and pricing model, a conversion to full digital and mobile ticketing tools, creation of a world-class guest service culture and a physical renovation of the premium hospitality spaces at Scottrade Center.
Prior to joining the Blues, Bender spent 6 years with AEG and the Los Angeles Kings as Senior Director of Ticket Sales and Service, where he oversaw the ticket sales and service department, as well as serving on the board of the Kings Care Foundation. Before joining the Kings, Bender spent 8 years at the Vancouver Canucks, having been originally hired as Customer Account Manager before being promoted to Manager of Client Development and Service.
Bender is originally from Vancouver, Canada, where he attended the University of British Columbia.
Vice President of Operations - ALTITUDE TICKETS
Vice President, Sales & Service - SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Jamie Brandt joined the San Francisco 49ers in 2008 and serves as the team’s vice president of sales and service. Brandt oversees all aspects of sales, service, and special events for the club. In his career, he has been part of four stadiums or arena openings, including three in the NFL.
Brandt was instrumental in initially establishing the sales and service culture within the organization upon his arrival in 2008. One of his most important tasks was to methodically construct a team of dedicated sales and service professionals focused on growing and maintaining the 49ers ticket-buying fan base.
In 2012, in his role as the 49ers vice president of ticketing & fan experience, Brandt oversaw game day entertainment and is responsible for incorporating numerous enhancements to the show, such as the foghorn played during pregame and during the game after 49ers scores. Most recently and as part of the transition from Candlestick Park to Levi’s Stadium, Brandt has engineered a complete makeover of the ticket operations unit from personnel to policies and procedures.
Prior to joining the 49ers, Brandt was the senior director of ticket sales for the Arizona Cardinals from 2001-08. He was responsible for developing annual sales campaigns and overseeing day-to-day sales department activity, as well as overseeing service provided to the team’s season ticket holders. In 2006, Brandt led the Cardinals’ ticket relocation and new sales campaign for the University of Phoenix Stadium, which opened in the fall of that year. During Brandt’s time with the Cardinals, the season ticket base more than doubled and at the time of his departure the Cardinals had established a consecutive home sellout streak and season ticket waiting list for the first time in team history.
From 1997-00, Brandt served as the manager of club seat sales for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selling the new Raymond James Stadium which opened in September of 1998. During Brandt’s time with the Buccaneers, the team officially established a season ticket waiting list for the first time in its history. Brandt left the NFL for one season to assume the role of senior director of sales & administration for the XFL’s Orlando Rage in 2001.
Brandt started his career in sports with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning from 1996 to 1997. Brandt was part of a staff the sold the new Ice Palace Arena (now the Tampa Bay Times Forum) that opened in the fall of 1996.
A graduate of Eckerd College, located among the sunny beaches in St. Petersburg, Fla., Brandt earned a bachelor’s of business management degree with a focus in economics. He is also a board member with Juma, a non-profit based on the Bay Area that strives to break the cycle of poverty by paving the way to work, education, and financial capability for youth across America. Brandt and his 12-year old dog reside in San Francisco.
Senior Vice President, Ticket Sales & Services - ATLANTA HAWKS & PHILIPS ARENA
As the Senior VP of Ticket Sales & Service, Kyle currently oversees all aspects of ticketing including operations and premium seating for the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena. His career began with the Atlanta Hawks after graduating from the University of Florida as a ticket sales representative and has included responsibilities for Sales, CRM, Marketing, Digital as well as Research and Analytics. He resides in Marietta, GA with his wife, three kids and dog.
Vice President, Marketing & Business Development - KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Michael Bucek is in his eighth season as the Royals Vice President-Marketing & Business Development. He oversees the Royals marketing and branding, ticket sales and service, corporate partnerships, digital platforms, radio broadcast sales and game entertainment. During his tenure, the Royals established a franchise attendance record and unprecedented growth for corporate sales revenue. The number of followers and engagement across all Royals social platforms consistently outperforms the size of the home market. The Royals have instituted digital tickets, variable and full dynamic pricing, backed by a growing analytics group. Royals marketing efforts have been recognized with numerous national and local awards including a Gold Clio.
Prior to joining the Royals in 2009, Bucek spent five years with the NHL Arizona Coyotes where he was the club’s Executive Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer. During Bucek’s tenure, the Coyotes’ marketing department created numerous initiatives designed to grow the sport of hockey in a non-traditional market and received several prestigious awards, including the NHL’s Best Member Club Marketing Campaign.
Bucek spent two years with the Indy Racing League where he served as Vice President of Sales and Business Development. In this capacity, Bucek was responsible for managing corporate sales, fulfillment, and business development for the IndyCar Series.
Bucek also previously was with the Milwaukee Brewers as Vice President of Ballpark Development for six seasons. He played an integral role in the development of Milwaukee’s ballpark and negotiated the naming rights and concessions agreements for Miller Park as well as primary sponsorship and broadcast rights agreements. He supervised the suites sales campaign and participated in the ballpark design process.
He served as the Director of Marketing and Broadcasting for the Chicago White Sox for seven years. He was responsible for corporate sales and fulfillment, marketing, promotions, broadcasting and game entertainment. He negotiated sponsorship and broadcast agreements for the White Sox and created new branding for the franchise, producing unprecedented licensed product sales in the early 1990’s.
Bucek’s career in sports started with a three-year stint in the Pacific Coast League with the San Francisco Giants Triple-A affiliate Phoenix Firebirds from 1985 to 1988.
Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning - CONTEMPORARY SERVICES CORPORATION
Mr. Camillo began his career in law enforcement as a Special Agent in the U.S. Secret Service where he completed a distinguished 21-year career that included three separate assignments at the White House. Specialized assignments at the White House required protecting four U.S. Presidents and family members in various capacities and ultimately being head of the White House Security Branch, which encompassed the supervision of daily security, emergency preparedness and all-hazards operations at the White House Complex.
Following his final White House tour of duty, Mr. Camillo continued his advancement in the Secret Service being appointed to the position of Deputy Assistant Director (SES), detailed to the headquarters of the newly created Department of Homeland Security. He continued working in critical assignments until his return to Secret Service headquarters where he was appointed the Chief Technology Officer for the agency.
Mr. Camillo held several key positions during his career in major event planning, but the most notable was being appointed the Olympic Coordinator for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics. Under his direction, the Secret Service executed its mission through Presidential Executive Order to design, plan and implement the Federal operational security plan for the Games. The successful execution of this carefully designed preparedness and prevention plan was later identified by the White House Office of Homeland Security as an excellent model for future security designs at Events of National Significance.
Mr. Camillo is a well-known and respected subject matter expert in venue security and emergency preparedness, and currently serves Contemporary Services Corporation as the Senior Vice President for Strategic Planning. CSC is the largest event security and crowd management provider in the United States.
In 2015, Mr. Camillo was appointed to the position of Distinguished Lecturer at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York City, serving as a professor and mentor within the department of security, fire and emergency management. Classes taught include; ‘Function and Role of Homeland Defense’, ‘Trends and Movements in Private Security’ and ‘Risk, Threat and Critical Infrastructure’. Mark currently teaching at the graduate school level in an adjunct capacity.
Mark serves as:
Appointed member: American Society of Industrial Security’s Global Terrorism/International Crime Council
Active member: International Association of Chiefs of Police
Faculty member: Academy for Venue Safety & Security conducted annually by the International Association of Venue Managers.
Senior Fellow: George Mason University Center for Infrastructure Protection.
Co-chair: DHS Commercial Facilities Sector Coordinating Council.
Director, Ticketing, Sales & Marketing - ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
BIO: As the St. Louis Cardinals Director of Ticket Sales and Marketing, Martin Coco is responsible for overseeing the Group, All-Inclusive and Theme Ticket Sales departments, as well as the team's overall Marketing and Advertising efforts. He also serves as the club’s primary business liaison with MLB Advanced Media. A 18-year veteran of the Cardinals front office, Martin is a 1998 graduate of Baylor University, and began his career with the Cardinals as a sales rep in 2000.
Chief Executive Officer - ON LOCATION EXPERIENCES
John Collins joined On Location Experiences (OLE) in December 2015 as Chief Executive Officer. Collins has overseen the company’s expansion with acquisitions and joint ventures in the travel, hospitality and events industries. With Collins at the helm, OLE’s expansion enables the company to deepen its existing core business and create unlimited new opportunities tied to major international events including the Super Bowl, for which OLE is the NFL’s official hospitality partner and the premier source for Super Bowl premium experience packages. With his expertise and experience, Collins has helped position OLE as a premium experiential hospitality business providing exceptional opportunities for fans in the world of sports and entertainment.
Collins came to OLE from the National Hockey League, where he served as Chief Operating Officer for nine seasons. He was the architect of a brand and business strategy that helped transform the NHL and drove unprecedented levels of popularity and financial growth. Over Collins’ tenure, the NHL grew from a $2B to a $4B industry, with national businesses averaging 18% annual revenue growth and 28% annual operating profit growth, while the league was recognized as Sports League of the Year twice. His accomplishments included a $2.2B media rights deal with NBC, a $5.2B landmark rights agreement with Rogers, and a groundbreaking $1B digital media rights partnership with MLB Advanced Media.
Prior to joining the NHL, Collins was a senior executive with the NFL for 15 years before being appointed CEO and President of the Cleveland Browns for the 2004-06 seasons.
President & Chief Executive Officer - EXPERIENCE
Greg Foster has spent his entire career as an entrepreneur or an investor and advisor to early stage businesses and high growth companies. His areas of expertise include technology, digital media, and marketing automation.
Most recently, he was the founder and CEO of BrightWhistle, the first marketing automation platform built exclusively for the healthcare industry. The company raised nearly $7 million in capital and was acquired by Influence Health in 2015.
Greg also served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with Chrysalis Ventures and as a Partner at Noro-Moseley Partners, focused on early stage digital media investing. He was responsible for Corporate Development at Turner Broadcasting after selling his first start-up, Southern Direct, to TBS in 2005. Prior to Turner, he was a member of the management teams for both iXL and Silverpop, two Atlanta-based startups. IBM acquired Silverpop in 2015.
Graduating magna cum laude from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering, Greg also holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He sits on the Board for the Bobby Dodd Foundation, the Georgia Council on Economic Education, and the Georgia Tech College of Engineering. He lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife Christine and their two sons, Jack and Henry, where he is actively involved with his church, Marietta First United Methodist.
Chief Revenue Officer - ORLANDO CITY SC
Chris Gallagher is in his 4th season with Orlando City Soccer Club after joining the organization in February 2014 as Vice President of Ticket Sales. In January 2016, he was promoted to Senior Vice President of Sales and was appointed to his current role, Chief Revenue Officer, in March 2017.
His team is responsible for all revenue generation for Orlando City SC of Major League Soccer, Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League, Orlando City B of the United Soccer League and Orlando City Stadium. Revenue generating areas of the business include: Ticket Sales, Corporate Partnerships, Merchandise, Soccer Camps and Clinics, the LionNation Membership Program, Non-Gameday events and Concessions.
In their inaugural MLS season, Orlando City set a league attendance record for an expansion team, drawing an average of 32,847 fans per home game – including 62,500 in the home opener – and became the fastest team in MLS history to host a half million fans.
On March 5, 2017, Orlando City SC’s new soccer specific stadium opened in downtown Orlando as the team beat New York City FC 1 – 0, in front of a sold-out crowd of 25,527.
The Orlando Pride began play in April 2016, bringing professional women’s soccer to Orlando for the first time, setting the NWSL single-game attendance record with 23,403 fans.
Chris was recognized in 2015 as Major League Soccer’s Ticket Sales Executive of the Year.
He brings 23 years of experience in the sports & entertainment industry to Orlando City SC. During his career, he has held executive leadership roles for teams in 4 out of the 5 major leagues in North America, including: • National Hockey League: Florida Panthers • Major League Baseball: New York Yankees • National Football League: Miami Dolphins & Cleveland Browns • Major League Soccer: Orlando City Soccer Club
Chris earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. He and his wife Britta, along with their son Lucas, reside in Windermere, FL.
Chief Executive Officer - KRAFT ANALYTICS GROUP
Jessica Gelman is the CEO of Kraft Analytics Group (KAGR), a technology and services company focused on data management, advanced analytics and strategic marketing. During a 15-year evolution that began with the Kraft Sports Group (New England Patriots, Gillette Stadium, New England Revolution), Gelman built a team and technology that transformed the business through analytics and continues to power the business side of the Kraft Sports Group. KAGR was created to offer leading organizations the opportunity to collect and understand their data across all platforms, while providing the infrastructure to create their own data-driven strategies.
Since joining the Kraft Family on the business side of the sports properties in 2002, Gelman has overseen many areas for the Kraft Sports Group, including business operations (ticketing, retail, analytics and business intelligence), customer marketing (database marketing, market research, sales planning, and direct marketing), and strategy to build new businesses.
Gelman has received recognition for her leadership and innovation, including the 2014 Sports Business Journal “Forty under 40” which honors the most promising young executives in sports business under the age of 40 and in 2012 Sports Business Journal’s “Game Changers″ which honors women who are leading and innovating in sports business. Gelman has represented the New England Patriots on several NFL committees, including Customer Data Management and Fan Engagement Research Advisory. Additionally, she was selected to be part of Ticketmaster’s Sports Technology Advisors Group.
Previously, Gelman worked as a strategy consultant at the Mitchell Madison Group, a McKinsey spin-off, and played professional basketball in Europe. Gelman has been inducted into both the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and The Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Gelman earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA, cum laude from Harvard College. While at Harvard, she was honored as Harvard Female Athlete of the Year after leading Harvard to consecutive Ivy League titles and NCAA Tournament appearances. She is an elected board member of the Harvard Alumni Association. Gelman co-founded and continues to co-chair the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference, the first and largest analytically focused sports conference.
Gelman is married, has two sons, and resides in the greater Boston area.
Chief Executive Officer - ATLANTA HAWKS & PHILIPS ARENA
The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club named Steve Koonin its Chief Executive Officer in April 2014. Koonin oversees all business, financial and strategic operations of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, and represents the owners as the head of the organization.
The Hawks added more than 15 new corporate sponsors under Koonin’s leadership during the 2016-17 season, including long-term deals with Emory, UPS and Verizon. Koonin was instrumental in three franchise-altering negotiations in 2016: construction of the team’s practice and training facility at the Emory Sports Medicine Complex; the $192.5 million transformation of Philips Arena; and, the Hawks’ acquisition of rights to own and operate an NBA Development League franchise that will begin play in College Park, Ga., in 2019-20.
With oversight from Koonin in 2015, the club landed on Google’s year-end list of the 10 most-searched sports teams and Sports Illustrated’s “Social 100” list – one of only three clubs to make the list, and ranked as the No. 1 NBA team to follow on Twitter. The Hawks led the NBA in year-over-year attendance increase and set single-season franchise records for retail sales, sellouts and season ticket memberships – including a record 500% uptick in annual season ticket sales – and experienced a 250+% rise in television viewership among people 18-34 years of age.
Koonin, a longtime entertainment and marketing veteran, joined the Hawks after spending the previous 14 years with Turner Entertainment Networks, most recently serving as the division’s president. Prior to his stint at Turner, Koonin helmed the marketing and worldwide advertising operations at The Coca-Cola Company, where he spent over a decade.
A lifelong resident of Atlanta, Koonin serves on the boards of Emory Healthcare, the Georgia Aquarium, the Fox Theatre, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Woodruff Arts Center. He is also on the board of GameStop, the world’s largest video game and entertainment software retailer. Among his many accomplishments, Koonin has been named one of The 100 Most Influential Atlantans by Atlanta Business Chronicle, one of Atlanta Magazine’s Most Powerful People Shaping Atlanta, one of Entertainment Weekly’s Smartest People in Television, and was selected for The Power List by TV Guide.
He studied marketing at the University of Georgia, where he and his wife, Eydie, have established the Koonin Scholars Fund at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. The fund provides scholarships for Grady students preparing for careers in the creative industries and media.
Vice President, Digital Strategy & Analytics - AEG & LA KINGS
Aaron is the Vice President, Digital Strategy & Analytics for the LA Kings & AEG Sports. With the Kings, he manages the analytics, database marketing, and technology departments, while also assisting in the definition of the team’s overall digital strategy. In addition to this role, Aaron works with each of the 6 sports teams owned and operated by AEG in a variety of capacities. Prior to joining the Kings and AEG, Aaron worked for the Oakland Raiders, Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns. Aaron is a graduate of both Arizona State University & Boston University.
Director, Marketing and Ticketing/Championships - NCAA
Senior Vice President, Ticket & Premium Revenue, Strategy and Development - NEW YORK JETS
Fred Mangione is in his first season with the Jets after being named the Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales and Premium Revenue, Strategy and Development in April. Prior to joining the Jets, Mangione spent the last 18 years with the Brooklyn Nets organization, most recently as the Chief of Staff at Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, where he oversaw the strategic development and implementation of business operations, marketing, and ticket sales for Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets, the New York Islanders, the Long Island Nets, and NYCB Live, home of the new Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Prior to being named the Chief of Staff of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, Mangione held several high-ranking positions throughout his tenure with the Nets and Barclays Center, including Chief Operating Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Revenue Officer.
A native of Jefferson, New Jersey, and graduate of Centenary College, Mangione resides in Glen Rock, New Jersey, with his wife, Jennifer, and two children, Madeline and Mason.
Vice President, Stadium Operations and General Manager - LEVI'S STADIUM
Jim Mercurio is in his 24th year with the San Francisco 49ers and his third as vice president, stadium operations & general manager. In his current role, Mercurio oversees all aspects of stadium & event operations including executive oversight of the food and beverage operations, engineering, grounds, guest services, housekeeping, operations & logistics, parking and transportation. He additionally manages all police, game & event day security and medical services working with various local, state and federal governmental agencies.
Prior to being named vice president in 2009, Mercurio spent four years as the director of stadium operations for the 49ers at Candlestick Park.
Mercurio has become an NFL leader in security and stadium management. He developed the stadium emergency evacuation video for the 49ers that has since been mirrored by arenas and stadiums affiliated with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and NCAA.
In August 2005, Mercurio was influential in aiding the California Department of Homeland Security officials in the first Large Stadium Initiative Program (LSI), presenting Best Practices for NFL Security.
Born in San Francisco, Mercurio graduated from the University of Pacific in 1993, with a B.A. degree in public relations and a minor in broadcasting. Mercurio earned his master’s degree in sport administration and management from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, in 2001. In 2005, Mercurio was selected to complete an NFL Executive Program for Managers at Stanford University. He is currently a member of the Stadium Manager’s Association and is an inductee into the Pacifica Sports Hall of Fame. In July 2016, Mercurio was honored with the prestigious National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) Professional of the Year Award, which recognizes a professional in the field who has enhanced venue safety and security operations. Mercurio currently serves on the NCS4 Board of Directors.
Senior Vice President, Client Strategy - FORTRESS U.S.
Britton Stackhouse Miller joined Fortress US as SVP, Client Strategy in 2015 to lead the US Client initiatives for Fortress GB. Prior to joining Fortress, she was Senior Director, Business Development and Innovation at the Washington Nationals Baseball Club where she was integral in the development and creation of the Washington Nationals new virtual access program that integrated all systems – access, concession, merchandise, loyalty and eCash into one unified system – the first of its kind in any American sports team. Previously, Britton worked at two marketing agencies in Athlete Marketing and Corporate Consulting, August Jackson and Octagon, where she managed the schedules and careers of professional track and field clients. Since 2010, Britton has served as an adjunct faculty for Georgetown University’s Masters in Sports Management Program. She has taught classes on Leadership including topics on Gender and Diversity in Sports.
Britton has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University where she ran cross country and track and field for the Demon Deacons and a Masters in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University.
Founder & Chairman - THE ASPIRE GROUP
Chief Strategy Officer - DYNASTY SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Greg Nortman is the Chief Strategy Office at DSE. In his role, Greg drives the company's strategic goals as part of its continued efforts to be the leader in pricing, distribution and yield manage of live event tickets.
During his seasoned career in the sports ticketing business, Greg has been an industry leader in assisting rights holders in capturing more of their ticketing and hospitality revenue. Greg was the Chief Operating Officer of PrimeSport from inception through its two private equity sales, ending his tenure in 2015. Prior to PrimeSport, Greg worked at Razorgator and Ticketmaster. At Razorgator, Greg created a talent relations division that developed marketing and promotional partnerships with athletes and celebrities. During his tenure at Ticketmaster, Greg founded Ticketmaster VIP, which is Ticketmaster's travel and hospitality business, while also managing the NFL Ticket Exchange and college bowl strategy.
Prior to entering the ticketing industry, Greg was a civil defense attorney at Stone & Hiles, LLC. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Princeton in 2000, where he played on the football team all four years. Greg received his J.D. from Tulane Law School in 2005 and lives in Los Angeles, CA with his wife Stephanie and their two kids Jack and Francesca.
Vice President, Business Intelligence - CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
Kevin O’Toole is the Vice President of Business Intelligence for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena organization. The organization includes the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL), Cleveland Gladiators (AFL), and Canton Charge (NBADL). He oversees business analytics and data management to strategically capture, manage, and analyze customer data to optimize business processes across all revenue driving areas.
Since joining the organization in 2010 as the Manager of Strategy and Analysis, Kevin has helped transform how the organization analyzes data. He introduced a scientific method approach to sales and marketing that involves creating hypotheses, segmenting the customer base and using analysis to predict customer behavior. Kevin’s “big picture” approach to collecting data resulted in the re-organization of the analytics and data management teams to create the “business intelligence group,” or BIG.
Prior to his work with the Cavaliers, Kevin spent 10 years in the banking industry in senior leadership roles with PNC Financial Services and Capital One. He earned a B.S. in engineering from Widener University and an M.B.A. from Purdue University. Kevin serves on the board of the Irish American Archives Society and on the associate board of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. He currently resides in Avon Lake, Ohio with his wife and two daughters.
Coach - GEORGIA TECH'S MEN'S BASKETBALL
Chief Marketing Officer - ORLANDO MAGIC
Anthony Perez serves as Chief Marketing Officer for the Orlando Magic and is responsible for all marketing and strategy operations. Anthony has led several of the Magic’s most significant strategic projects such as implementing the team’s data and analytics platform, deploying marketing automation, and re-launching the team’s mobile app to name a few.
Anthony was recently named to SportsBusiness Journal/Daily’s Forty Under 40 class of 2017. He has been a featured speaker on the topic of analytics and digital strategy, having spoken throughout the United States, as well as internationally. The Orlando Magic strategy group has been recognized as one of the most sophisticated operations within the professional sports industry.
Chief Executive Officer - AXS
Senior Vice President, Pricing and Revenue Management - DELTA AIR LINES
Eric Phillips is Senior Vice President – Pricing and Revenue Management for Delta Air Lines. In this role, he is responsible for the development, planning and execution of pricing and inventory management strategies across the entire Delta system as well as revenue management systems development and corporate forecasting.
Eric began his career at Delta in 1998. Since joining the airline, he has held numerous positions across the Commercial and Finance Divisions, including Corporate Strategy, Business Development, Network Planning, Financial Planning and Analysis, Treasury Management, and Revenue Management.
He earned his MBA at the University of Notre Dame and is also a graduate of Leadership Atlanta.
Senior Vice President, Ticketing - MLBAM
Mark Plutzer serves as Senior Vice President, Ticketing for MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), LP, the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball, that manages the official league site, MLB.com, and each of the 30 individual Club sites. Plutzer is responsible for overseeing the relationships between MLBAM, its ticketing partners and the MLB Clubs and has implemented many ticketing initiatives where MLB was first into the space within sports such as a league-level secondary market partnership, mobile ticket delivery and most recently subscription-model ticketing. With over 20th seasons working in professional baseball, Plutzer is a graduate of The Ohio State University, lives on Long Island, NY, with a beautiful wife and two awesome kids, considers Chocodiles his favorite food and cannot putt.
President - HOUSTON TEXANS
Chief Operating Officer - ATLANTA HAWKS & PHILIPS ARENA
Thad Sheely is the Chief Operating Officer of the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club and Philips Arena and oversees all aspects of team and arena business operations and real estate development.
Sheely manages the operations and planning for the re-imagination of Philips Arena. Philips Arena is consistently ranked among North America's Top 10 arenas and will be upgraded with almost $200M of improvements in the coming years.
Sheely is the point person for the design and construction of team’s the 90,000 SF new practice facility, part of Emory Sports Medicine Complex. The complex combines sports, medicine and science with three industry-leading tenants; the Atlanta Hawks, Emory Orthopedics and the Peak Performance Project, P3 the leader in athlete training and analysis. This partnership is designed to provide world-class medical and training to the Hawks and the Atlanta community
Sheely also oversees business operations for the team including Accounting and Finance, Analytics, IT and Human Resources.
Joining the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena in 2015 with over 20 years of sports and real estate experience, Sheely’s previous projects included the development of Hudson Yards for the Related Companies, a 28-acre mixed-use property on Manhattan’s West Side, designing and planning their public experience, and managing the operations of the $20 billion development. Prior to Hudson Yards, Sheely led the stadium development and financing for major sports facilities including MetLife Stadium for the New York Jets and Giants, and American Airlines Arena for the Miami Heat.
His professional contributions have distinguished Sheely in the industry as Sports Business Journal selected him for their Forty under 40 Award in 2010, and Billboard Magazine recognized MetLife Stadium, while under his direction, as the #1 top-grossing stadium in the world in 2010 and 2011.
Sheely holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from Columbia College. Sheely lives in Atlanta’s Morningside area with his wife and two sons.
Vice President, Business Intelligence - KROENKE SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT
President - TICKETMASTER N.A.
Jared Smith was named president, Ticketmaster North America in December 2012. In this role, Jared is responsible for Ticketmaster’s world-leading ticketing software platforms and consumer businesses. Previously, Jared served as chief operating officer at Ticketmaster.
Jared has been at Ticketmaster since 2003. Under his leadership, Ticketmaster has continued to revolutionize the company’s approach to technology and fan engagement, particularly around using mobile tools to extend and enhance the live event experience. Always an instrumental part of innovative initiatives, Jared also led the transformation of the company's client-facing sales and support organization and its focus on data-driven products, services and technology-driven marketing tools.
Prior to joining Ticketmaster, Jared held various roles in sports tourism and venue management. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa.
Senior Vice President, Team and Venue Services - VAN WAGNER SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Chris Allphin, Senior Vice President and Partner at Van Wagner, heads VWSE’s Team & Venue Services division, which includes the company’s overlapping specialties in naming rights and sponsorship, premium ticket sales, analytics, and technology integration. Allphin led VWSE’s successful engagements with the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium and the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park.
A 2015 recipient of the SportsBusiness Journal’s Forty under 40 Award, Allphin brings a unique perspective to VWSE’s diverse client base. Under his leadership, VWSE has been tapped for projects including naming rights for F.C. Barcelona, DC United, the Minnesota Vikings, the Atlanta Braves, sponsorship and technology integrations for Cirque du Soliel, the Detroit Red Wings, and MLBAM.
Allphin joined VWSE in 2012 after ten years at Wasserman Media Group where managed naming rights and entitlement projects including MetLife Stadium and Team RadioShack. Allphin began his career in the corporate consulting division of Envision, LLC (later AEG) managing Nestle USA’s sports sponsorship portfolio. Originally from Oakland, California, Allphin attended the University of Southern California and earned a degree in Political Science. He currently resides with his wife and three children in San Diego, California.
Director, Electronic and Creative Media - GEORGIA POWER COMPANY
As Electronic & Creative Media Director at Georgia Power, Mayu oversees all the advertising, digital marketing, sponsorships, social media strategy and creative services of the company. As the official energy partner of Atlanta professional and college sports teams, she aims to provide engaging, memorable and branded experiences in-venue and out.
She is also responsible for leading the brand strategy and building awareness and demand for Georgia Power’s products and services and oversees a team of 45 marketing, communications, and creative professionals.
Prior to joining Georgia Power, Mayu spent over 10 years working on digital, web and social media marketing strategies for Fortune 500 brands across a wide array of industries including Food & Beverage, Consumer Packaged Goods, Home Improvement, Automotive and Financial Services.
Mayu was born in Toronto, raised in Hawaii and now resides in Atlanta. She is a graduate of the University of Hawai’I with a degree in Journalism and Ethnic Studies. She is an avid traveler, self-professed foodie and enjoys attending live sporting and music events.
Chief Architect - IBM
Benjamin is the Chief Architect for the IBM's Global Sports & Connected Venue services team. In this role, he is responsible for developing the technical solutions and reference architectures to service stadiums, arenas, shopping malls, airports, hotels, casinos, and other large public venue spaces. He is also responsible for educating and enabling the in-country local IBM delivery teams around the world with the assets and training which they need to successfully deliver these projects.
Prior to this role, Benjamin was the Chief Technology Architect on the Atlanta Falcons' new Mercedes-Benz Stadium project. This $1.6 Billion stadium hosts NFL Football and MLS Soccer events in a state-of-the-art facility. At this project, IBM served as the "IT Prime Contractor", responsible for end-to-end success of the network - from the physical conduit and fiber optic cabling through system integration, configuration, test, and go-live. The end results can be seen most Sunday nights this fall!
Ben is a 16-year IBMer, and holds a degree in Computer Science from Rensselaer in Troy, NY and holds an active Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) certification. He currently resides in Milton, Pennsylvania with his wife and 2-year-old son.
Chief Executive Officer - ATLANTA FALCONS
Group Director, Sports Management - THE COCA-COLA COMPANY
John Cordova has spent more than thirty-four years in the sports business industry, beginning in the early 1980’s when sports marketing burst onto the scene as the newest trend in breakthrough brand marketing strategy. As a result of a wide variety of sports roles within league, team and sponsor organizations, John has been fortunate to construct one of the more diverse resumes in the business.
Originally employed at Texas Instruments (Lubbock, TX), in its fledgling home computer division, John began his sports business career as a member of the Executive Development Program at the Major League Baseball Commissioners Office (New York) in 1983-84. At the Commissioner’s Office he was given the opportunity to experience and excel in many aspects of the “business” of sports ranging from public relations, player records, minor league operations, licensing, corporate sponsorship and television production.
At the conclusion of the 1984 MLB season John joined the Miller Brewing Company (Milwaukee, WI) as Coordinator, Sports Marketing. As a part of the Miller Sports Marketing team John managed Miller’s sports marketing efforts with Major League Baseball, the United States Football League and the Major Indoor Soccer League. After a successful stint managing those properties, John was promoted to Manager, Pro Sports Marketing where he directed all of Miller’s pro sports marketing efforts against the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, PBA Tour and Olympics.
In 1988, John was recruited by former Major League Baseball Commissioner, Bud Selig, to join the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club with a vision to “redesign” the club’s marketing efforts in preparation for new Miller Park. John joined the club as a Director, ultimately earning the title of Vice President, Marketing. During his tenure with the Brewers, the club embarked on many new marketing initiatives which included the preliminary planning on Miller Park, as well as the pioneering of the first home plate signage concept in MLB.
Since 1994 John has been an integral part of The Coca-Cola Company’s (Atlanta, GA) domestic pro sports marketing efforts. Serving in various roles ranging from Director, Sports Marketing to his current role as Group Director, Sports Management; John has been a key player in the reinvention and continued development of Coca-Cola’s strategic approach to sports business partnerships.
A native of Denver, Colorado, John graduated from New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM) with a BA in Business Management (1981) and an MBA (1983).
John earned a football scholarship to NMSU, played for the Aggies from 1976-79 and was an All-Missouri Valley Conference selection and team captain in his senior year. After his playing career he served as NMSU’s assistant offensive line/strength coach during the 1980 and 1981 football seasons.
In 2006, John was inducted into the New Mexico State University College of Business Hall of Fame. He currently serves on the NMSU Foundation Board where he was the past Chairman, and also served on the board of New Mexico State Sports Enterprises, Inc.
President - ATLANTA UNITED
Senior Vice President, Director, Sports Facilities Design - HEERY INTERNATIONAL
Michael Holleman is a Senior Vice President and the Director of Sports Facilities Design at Heery International. His experience includes designs for Olympic, professional and collegiate facilities, master plans, renovations, expansions and enhanced fan and player amenities. His work has received national and international awards and accolades from the American Institute of Architects, American Institute of Steel Construction, American Society of Interior Designers, International Interior Design Association, the Society for College and University Planning / AIA Committee on Architecture for Education, and the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design / The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, among other respected industry organizations. Mike’s involvement on each sports project touches all phases of design and delivery. His proven leadership and ability to coordinate complex projects has made him a recognizable industry leader for over 35 years.
Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer - TEXAS RANGERS
Joe Januszewski is Executive Vice President, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer for the Texas Rangers Baseball Club, reporting directly to team ownership. He is responsible for all club revenue streams, including Ticket & Premium Sales, Corporate Partnerships, and media sales. Januszewski also leads the ballclub’s Marketing, Promotions, In-Game Entertainment, Video Productions, Ticket Operations and Community Outreach departments, as well as the Texas Rangers Foundation. Joe has spent the last 19 years in various sales & marketing roles with three major league baseball teams, including eight seasons with the Boston Red Sox, serving as a Senior Vice President, before joining the Rangers in early 2011.
Joe is heavily involved in the design of the Rangers new $1.1 billion retractable roof ballpark breaking ground in Arlington this fall, scheduled to open in 2020. The Rangers are also building a $250 entertainment district contiguous to the new home of the Rangers. Texas Live!, a partnership with the Cordish Group, will open in mid-2018. Joe has oversight for all ticket and partnerships sales at the new ballpark and entertainment district. He also led the team’s efforts to secure a naming rights partner for both the current and new Rangers ballparks, resulting in a deal with Torchmark for Globe Life Park in Arlington, announced in February 2014 and the recently announced Globe Life Field, opening in April, 2020. The Rangers will also be selling all founding partnerships and premium seats for the new ballpark.
Joe has expanded the club’s digital ticketing initiatives, as well as adding more mobile technology-based enhancements to the fan experience in concert with Major League Baseball. He also launched Rangers Destinations, a travel program that has successfully brought fans on the road to several cities across the country over the past seven seasons, including Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago and New York to see the Rangers play.
In Boston, he was part of the team that managed the $275 million privately funded renovation of historic Fenway Park, leading up to its 100-year anniversary in 2012. In Joe’s tenure in Boston, the Red Sox corporate sales department grew revenues 300% and saw the number of sponsors increase 100% to over 100 corporate clients. Joe also oversaw Fenway Enterprises, which sells and operates non-baseball events at Fenway Park, as well as the operation of the team’s year-round tour and mascot programs. Januszewski built and guided the club’s membership programs, which include Red Sox Nation and Kid Nation.
Januszewski was the catalyst for the business team that led the successful acquisition of Liverpool Football Club for Fenway Sports Group in October, 2010. He also worked with Fenway Sports Management since its creation in 2004, serving as Senior Vice President selling local, national and international properties for the sales agency. Previous to coming to Boston, he worked for three years with the San Diego Padres. He started his professional sports career in his home state with the Rangers, working in the corporate sales department in 1999. Prior to that, he worked in the film industry in production for 10 years.
The University of Texas at Austin graduate has a bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV-Film and a Masters of Education specializing in sport management. He serves on the Advisory Board of the College of Education at UT-Austin, the Board of the North Texas Chapter of the Positive Coaching Alliance, the SMU Athletic Forum Board, is a Director of Bantu Rovers, a pro soccer club in Zimbabwe, and is on the Ambassadors Council of Grassroot Soccer, an international non-profit focused on eradicating HIV/AIDS in Africa. Joe and his wife Ashley live in Dallas with their five children.
General Manager - MERCEDES-BENZ STADIUM
President - JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
President - TD GARDEN
Amy Latimer was part of TD Garden’s inaugural executive team when the arena opened in 1995. As an early adopter of database marketing, Latimer founded the e-business departments for both TD Garden and Boston Bruins. Throughout her tenure, she has served in various sales, marketing and ticketing roles that have continued to place TD Garden at the forefront of the industry. In 2012, Latimer was promoted to president of TD Garden, and, just three years later in 2015, was called upon by the arena’s owner and operator Delaware North, a global leader in hospitality and food service, to lead the company’s operations in the United Kingdom.
As president of TD Garden and Delaware North’s United Kingdom Operations, Latimer is responsible for leading day-to-day operating functions of one of the most active, highly regarded and successful sports and entertainment venues in North America, while also working to enhance and expand Delaware North’s United Kingdom business. Delaware North’s UK operations include food service at six major soccer stadiums – including Wembley Stadium, Emirates Stadium and The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – and travel hospitality services at Heathrow Airport in London and five other airports.
Under the leadership of Charlie Jacobs, CEO of Delaware North’s Boston Holdings, Latimer has guided the arena through a $70 million, floor to ceiling renovation, which was completed in 2015. As TD Garden enters the next phase of transformation, Latimer will take the lead on a multi-level, 60 thousand square foot expansion of the arena, while playing a key role in the Delaware North and Boston Properties partnership to develop the 1.5 million square foot site of the original Boston Garden. This project, known as The Hub on Causeway, broke ground in January 2016 and will provide TD Garden with a new, grand entrance to the arena. The Hub on Causeway will include a smaller scale live entertainment and bowling venue, a movie theater, and a grocery store, among other amenities for visitors and TD Garden fans.
Thanks to her extensive experience and knowledge in the sports and arena industry, Latimer continues to champion TD Garden as a best-in-class innovator, overseeing the areas of premium service, fan experience and overall revenue generation. She continues raise the profile for Boston’s premier sports and entertainment arena by attracting national and international events, such as the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four, 2016 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball East Regional and the 2022 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four, to TD Garden’s calendar each year.
A recognized leader in the sports & arena industry, Latimer was named one of Sports Business Journal’s ‘Game Changers’ in 2011, 2015’s ‘WISE Woman of the Year’, has been named to Boston Magazine’s 2017 ‘Boston Business Power Players’ and has been consistently ranked among Boston Globe’s ‘Top 100 Women-led businesses in Boston’. Most recently, Latimer was appointed to the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority’s Board of Directors and named to the New England Advisory Council for the Boston Federal Reserve.
Latimer also oversees and participates in many of the arena’s charitable endeavors supported by the arena’s philanthropic arm, Garden Neighborhood Charities. Latimer currently serves as the Executive Director of Garden Neighborhood Charities in addition to serving on the Salvation Army of Massachusetts State Advisory Board, the MIAA Educational Athletic Advisory Board, The Special Olympics of MA Advisory Board, Board of Directors for Good Sports Inc. and, most recently, she has joined the Shooting Touch Board of Directors. She continues to play a key role in developing and hosting annual events and support for community partners such as The Salvation Army, Action for Boston Community Development, Friends of Boston's Homeless, Good Sports and The Special Olympics Massachusetts.
The native of Ellicott City, MD received her degree in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island, which she attended on a full basketball scholarship. Latimer also took political management courses at George Washington University and worked for Empower America while living in Washington, D.C. She currently resided in Topsfield, Massachusetts with her husband Jody and their three sons.
Senior Vice President, Strategy & Development - TAMPA BAY RAYS
Chief Executive Officer - ORLANDO MAGIC
Alex Martins, who has spent 30 years in professional sports management and rejoined the Magic in June 2005, was promoted to chief executive officer on
December 7, 2011. He previously served as president for more than one year and was the team’s chief operating officer from 2006-10. Martins also serves as
CEO of SED Development, LLC, an affiliate of the Magic which is currently planning an entertainment mixed use development across Church Street from the
Amway Center. Martins is also the team’s Alternate Governor to the NBA Board of Governors, as well as managing partner of the Lakeland Magic, Orlando’s
affiliate in the NBA G League.
Martins, who served in various senior-level management capacities with the Magic between 1989-98 and as the organization’s executive vice president of
marketing and franchise relations in 2005-06, oversees all operations of the club.
Included in the franchise’s success has been the largest season ticket base in franchise history in 2010-11 (14,200) and the most successful corporate sales
effort in franchise history in 2014-15. Amongst these records are the largest increase in attendance in the NBA over the five-year period, the most new sales
and season tickets sold in the league in two of the last five years, and the largest group ticket sales effort in team history last season, ranking first overall in the
NBA over the last two seasons.
Martins was instrumental in helping to secure the new state-of-the-art Amway Center in Orlando. The Amway Center is part of a public community venues
program that also includes a new Performing Arts Center and a renovation of the Citrus Bowl Stadium. The new Amway Center opened in October 2010. The
facility was named a finalist for the SportsBusiness Journal’s Sports Facility of the Year Award for two consecutive years, and captured the award in 2012.
Additionally, the Magic also contributed $20 million toward and constructed five community recreation centers throughout Orange County, Florida, as part of its
commitment to build the new Amway Center. The Amway Center was honored in 2013 with the Customer Experience Award during TheStadiumBusiness
Awards presentation held in association with TheStadiumBusiness Summit in Manchester, England.
Martins originally joined the Magic as director of publicity/media relations in April 1989. In September of 1996, he was promoted to senior director of
communications. He also previously served as the Chairman of the Board of the Magic Action Team Community Fund. The Magic Action Team Fund
developed into the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, which has distributed nearly $18 million to local nonprofit organizations during the last 23 years, including $1
million this season. Additionally, Martins served on the developmental board of the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at the University of Central
Florida. The program has been funded through a $9 million endowment by Rich and Helen DeVos and awards dual Masters degrees in Sport Management
and Business Administration.
Martins also has served as the senior vice president of marketing and branding for the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets, vice president of communications and
public affairs with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and vice president of sports ventures with the Tavistock Group. At Tavistock, Martins served as tournament
director of The Tavistock Cup, a PGA Tour-sanctioned event.
Martins started his career as a student assistant in the Villanova sports information department, assisted in the Philadelphia 76ers public relations department
and was also the assistant sports information director at Georgetown University (1988-89).
Martins currently serves as a trustee on the board of the University of Central Florida, also serving as Chair of the Finance and Facilities Committee. He is
also past chairman of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission and The Central Florida Partnership, as well as past chairman of the Orlando
Community Construction Corporation, the entity responsible for the construction of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Martins also has served on
the board of directors of the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Central Florida Commission on Homeless. He currently serves on the
Central Florida board of directors for Seaside National Bank & Trust, and on the Governor’s Council of the Orlando Economic Partnership.
In April 2015, Martins received the James B. Greene Economic Development Award, which is the highest honor bestowed by the Orlando Economic
Development Commission, and recognizes an individual whose work has contributed substantially to the economic prosperity of the region. In 2013, he was
awarded the 2013 Charles Andrews Memorial Hospitality Award for Community Leadership by the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association. The award
is CFHLA’s highest honor recognizing an individual’s achievements and contributions to the Central Florida hospitality industry as well as the community at
Following the tragedy at Pulse nightclub in June 2016, Martins was chosen by the City of Orlando to lead the board of directors for the largest fund for victims
of the shooting, the city-sponsored OneOrlando fund.
Martins earned his MBA from the University of Central Florida where he is a member of the College of Business Administration’s Hall of Fame. He also serves
on the Dean’s Executive Council for the College of Business Administration at UCF, and was honored with the opportunity to serve as Commencement
Speaker at UCF in August 2008 and serves on the UCF Board of Trustees.
A native of Kearny, New Jersey, Martins earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Villanova, where he graduated from in 1986. He
resides in Orlando, Fla., with his wife, Juliet, and daughters, Sophia (13) and Gabrielle (11).
Senior Vice President, Marketing Activation and Engagement - SUNTRUST BANK
Krista Massey currently serves as the lead for all movement, purpose, geography, sponsorship, community engagement and event marketing activity across the bank. She joined SunTrust in April 2006 after serving four years with The Home Depot sports marketing team. Ms. Massey began her career in 1993 with BellSouth Corp. Krista held a variety of marketing and sales positions within the organization and was an original team member of the Cingular Wireless launch. She left Cingular in 2002 as the Director of Sponsorships having developed and integrated programs with NASCAR, NCAA, and Special Olympics.
In a decade at SunTrust, Krista has distinguished herself by creating our consistent and strategic approach to marketing activation and sponsorship. She has shown great leadership on the SunTrust Park project; helped build partnerships with the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the Atlanta Falcons, the Volvo Cars Open (the largest stand-alone WTA event in the country) several colleges and universities, and more; and received the 2014 Charles R. Yates Award for outstanding service on the Woodruff Arts Center campaign.
Krista attended college at The University of Georgia and holds an M.B.A from Mercer University. She is an Atlanta native and now lives in Newnan, Georgia with her husband Chad and her two sons Drew and Jake. Krista has also spent time volunteering with several organizations including Junior Achievement, WISE Atlanta (Women in Sports and Events), the Woodruff Arts Center, and teaching Sunday school at Newnan United Methodist Church.
Founder - MCCUNE SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT VENTURES
Scott McCune is an experienced business leader and marketing executive with a unique global perspective, a deep appreciation for diversity and an outstanding record of creating value, developing people and building enduring relationships.
Scott is the Founder of McCune Sports & Entertainment Ventures (MS&EV), LLC working with brands, intellectual property owners, media, countries and startups on leveraging the passions of sports and entertainment to create new value for their respective businesses.
Prior to founding MS&EV, Scott had a successful 30 year career with The Coca-Cola Company and Anheuser-Busch Inc. where he gained significant skills and experience building global brands, leading and inspiring diverse organizations, planning and executing complex operations, innovating new approaches to the business, negotiating and maximizing partnerships, driving productivity and managing P&Ls.
Recognized as an industry leader, Scott and his teams negotiated more than $3B in deals and transformed how Coca-Cola leverages Strategic Partnerships, like the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup into global platforms that drove the Company’s business around the world. Scott led Coca-Cola’s global strategies and organizations for Integrated Marketing, Media, Interactive, Experiential, Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Licensing, Global Events and Partnerships. These strategies added significant value to the business while generating more than $2B of productivity.
Scott gained an exceptional understanding of cultures and businesses around the world by working directly in more than 50 countries and indirectly in more than 180.
Scott serves on the board of directors of TENGA Media and several non-profit organizations.
President - ATLANTA FALCONS
Founder - MEIS ARCHITECTS
Recognized as one of the world’s foremost designers of sports and entertainment venues, Dan Meis, FAIA, has over 30 years of experience in sports and entertainment architecture. Dan’s design for Paul Brown Stadium was the first NFL facility to ever win an AIA Honor Award and his design for Los Angeles’ Staples Center continually ranks it among the highest revenue producing buildings in North America. In 2001, Dan was featured in Time Magazine as one of their “100 Innovators in the World of Sports” and his work has twice been awarded the esteemed Business Week/Architectural Record Award, recognizing the value of design to a client’s business. Dan has also been recognized twice as one of Sports Business Journal’s “40 under 40” executives who have made the greatest impact in the sports industry. In 2006, he was elevated to the prestigious College of Fellows of the AIA and, in 2007, Dan launched MEIS in Los Angeles, California, later adding a New York based studio beginning in 2013. Among other exciting projects, Dan is currently the Lead Designer for the new Stadio Della Roma project in Rome, Italy, and new stadium development for Everton FC in Liverpool, England.
Digital Strategy and Interactive Experience Practice Lead, Communications Sector, North America, Global Business Services - IBM
Shannon Miller is the North America Digital Strategy and Interactive Experience lead for IBM’s Communications Sector.
Shannon has over 19 years experience in business consulting and over 14 years focusing on Customer Experience with a focus on the Media and Entertainment, Retail, and Energy and Utilities industries.
Shannon has led IBM’s strategy globally for the Retail business and Smarter Commerce initiative as well as IBM’s Sports and Entertainment Practice. He has spent several years in IBM’s Customer Strategy consulting practice and regularly contributes to IBM’s thought leadership. Most of his time is spent working with clients on improving customer experience.
Shannon has a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Alabama and received his M.B.A from Emory University. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and 3 children.
Senior Talent Buyer - AEG PRESENTS SOUTHWEST
Robin Phillips has been a Talent Buyer/Promoter in the DFW metroplex for 20 years. Robin’s start began in Lubbock, Texas booking small clubs while in high school. After graduating from The University of North Texas in 2001, she formed her own company, Daughter Entertainment, and was successful from 2001-2007 promoting shows in the Southwest region. In 2007, she was sought out by AEG Presents to join their team as a Senior Talent Buyer at the age of 29. For 10 years she has booked the southwest region for AEG Presents growing artists such as Sturgill Simpson, LCD Soundsystem, Death Cab For Cutie and The Lumineers from small club acts to large theatres and arenas. Her main focus is Dallas, TX including one of AEG Presents flagship venues, Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie.
President, Development - ATLANTA BRAVES
Mike Plant is in his 14th season with the Braves and his second as president, development. Plant joined the organization as executive vice president of business operations in November of 2003.
As part of the Braves executive leadership team, Plant was instrumental in the Braves’ efforts to secure and plan SunTrust Park and the adjacent mixed-use development, The Battery Atlanta, which will open in Cobb County in April 2017.
Plant joined the Braves after having served as executive vice president of Turner Sports since February 2002. In that position, he was in charge of the day-to-day operations of the division, a $500-million acquisition, promotion and production company that at the time broadcast approximately 1,200 hours of sports programming on various Turner networks.
Before becoming executive vice president of Turner Sports, Plant was president of Ted Turner’s multi-sport event, The Goodwill Games, and vice president of events for Turner Sports. He was responsible for the overall direction and management of The Goodwill Games, as well as all sports properties acquired by Turner Sports.
Prior to joining Turner Sports, Plant was president of Medalist Sports, a full-service sports marketing company he founded in 1988. Medalist Sports created and operated premier professional cycling events in the United States and China. In addition, Plant was the associate executive director of the United States Cycling Federation in Colorado Springs, Colo., from 1986 to 1988 and the executive director of the Canoe and Kayak Team from 1985 to 1986.
Plant was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Speedskating team in Lake Placid, NY, and a six-time member of the U.S. World Championship speedskating teams. Since 1980, he has been appointed to numerous committees and boards for the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), the U.S. International Speedskating Association, International Cycling Federation, and USA Cycling. Plant served on the Atlanta Committee for the 1996 Olympic Games (ACOG) Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees for the Salt Lake City Olympic Bid Committee for the 2002 Winter Games.
Plant served two eight-year terms on the USOC’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee (1984-1992 and 2003-2011). He was chairman of the USOC Athletes Council, and chairman of the Athlete Performance Group (1992-1996). Plant was president of USA Cycling, the National Governing Body for Olympic cycling, from 1995 to 2002, and is the current president of U.S. Speedskating.
Internationally, Plant is currently serving his second term on the International Cycling Federation’s (UCI) Executive Committee, and is president of three different commissions. In 2009, Plant was elected U.S. Olympic Chef de Mission for the Olympic team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games.
He and his wife Mary have two daughters, Erika and Maddie, and a son, Drew.
President, Business - ATLANTA BRAVES
Entering his 14th season with the Atlanta Braves and second season as president of business, Derek Schiller manages all business functions of the front office. Schiller oversees both revenue-driving departments such as corporate partnerships, ticket sales, licensing and merchandising; as well as service-driven departments including client services, community relations and public relations. In his role, Schiller sets the strategic vision for the Braves brand, guides revenue growth and champions innovation across all areas of the business.
Since the team’s 2013 announcement of SunTrust Park and its adjacent mixed-use development, The Battery Atlanta, Schiller’s role has expanded significantly to include the oversight of revenue, design, partnerships and the overall strategy of both venues.
As part of the Braves’ executive leadership team, Schiller was not only instrumental in securing plans for SunTrust Park and The Battery Atlanta, but also has played a pivotal role throughout the design and execution phases of the project. Collaborating with SunTrust Park architect Populous, Schiller and the executive team have tailored the ballpark to authentically represent the organization and its rich history, while creating unique fan experiences and pioneering first-of-its-kind technology. Schiller’s emphasis on innovation was the driving force behind many of these enhancements, along with a Comcast partnership that will make SunTrust Park the most technologically advanced venue in all of sport.
Outside of the ballpark, Schiller and the executive team have guided the philosophy behind The Battery Atlanta to ensure a seamless integration with SunTrust Park, in both an aesthetic and strategic capacity. Schiller’s focus on pursuing and cultivating relationships with tenants who align with the Braves’ and The Battery Atlanta’s mission has led to a robust landscape of tenants, including Comcast, Omni Hotels and Resorts, Live Nation’s Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre, and a multitude of restaurant and retail tenants.
In conjunction with Braves Chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk and Vice Chairman John Schuerholz, Schiller has been a key factor in guiding the front office to further increase sales and visibility, improve customer service and become an industry leader in technology and innovation.
Under Schiller’s direction, the Braves have introduced many technical developments including digital ticketing, variable and dynamic pricing, and a Customer Relationship Management system that has enhanced customer service and data management for both corporate partners and ticket holders. During his tenure, the organization has also placed a focus on expanding fan outreach by creating engaging content on Braves.com, Facebook and Twitter. All marketing outreach and brand campaigns also remain in Schiller’s responsibilities, including this year’s “Welcome Home” campaign.
Additionally, Schiller oversees all broadcasting relationships, which include Braves television partner FOX Sports South and FOX Sports Southeast, as well as the team's radio partner, Dickey Broadcasting, and their 150 affiliates across the Southeast.
Schiller joined the Braves in November 2003 as senior vice president of sales and marketing and was promoted to executive vice president of sales and marketing in August 2007. He came to the Braves after serving as vice president of sales and marketing for the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team since 1998. In that position, he led the development of the Thrashers as an expansion franchise in the National Hockey League, which included the management of all business operations and marketing.
Before joining the Thrashers, Schiller served as vice president of business development for the New York Yankees from 1996 to 1997. While there, he was responsible for all revenue-producing and related functions, including sponsorship sales, marketing, ticket and suite sales, publications, concessions and merchandising, fan services and licensing. He was instrumental in putting together one of the largest sponsorship deals in sports between the Yankees and Adidas.
Prior to joining the Yankees, Schiller was the executive director of Atlanta’s International Sports Plaza (ISP). He developed the first-ever private press center serving non-accredited press organizations during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games and managed the hospitality venue during the Games in partnership with several Olympic sponsors.
Schiller earned a degree in engineering from Vanderbilt University. He is an executive board member of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, a board member of the Jack and Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation and the Atlanta Sports Council, a Metro Atlanta Chamber Board of Directors member, and an alumnus of Leadership Atlanta and supports a number of metro Atlanta charities. He also currently serves in a variety of roles for a number of MLB committees. Schiller and his wife Kristin and their two children, Luke and Carson, reside in Norcross.
Vice Chairman - ATLANTA BRAVES & NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAMER
John Schuerholz, Vice Chairman Atlanta Braves
Named as the Braves’ Vice Chairman on March 21, 2016, John Schuerholz is in his 52nd year in professional baseball and his 27th season in Atlanta. Schuerholz oversees all operations for the Braves franchise, including SunTrust Park and the mixed-use development, The Battery Atlanta, which opened in April 2017. He served as club president for eight and-a-half years before being named to his current post.
Schuerholz received the game’s highest honor in December 2016, when he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was formally inducted into the illustrious club in a ceremony at Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 30, 2017.
Following 26 years as a Major League general manager, from 1982 to 2007, Schuerholz stepped aside as GM after the 2007 season and was named president of the Braves on October 11, 2007. He spent 17 seasons as the Braves’ executive vice president and general manager, from 1991 to 2007. Schuerholz came to the Braves from the Kansas City Royals in October of 1990, and before his promotion to club president, he had the longest tenure with the same organization among all Major League general managers.
Under his leadership and guidance as a GM, the Braves achieved unprecedented success, compiling the best record in baseball (1,594-1,092; .593) over those 17 seasons from 1991 to 2007. The Braves established an American professional sports record by winning 14 consecutive division titles from 1991 to 2005 (the 1994 season was not played to completion).
The Braves have won five National League pennants, one World Series, several organization of the year awards and have surpassed the 3,000,000 mark in home attendance six times since 1991. By finishing 101-61 in 2003, the Braves reached the century mark in victories for the fifth time in seven seasons and for the sixth time since 1993.
Schuerholz has served as chairman of Major League Baseball’s Pace of Game Committee and was chairman of the Instant Replay Expansion Committee, which oversaw the historic implementation of the use of expanded replay beginning in 2014. He has also served on the Playing Rules Committee
During his career with Baltimore, Kansas City and Atlanta, Schuerholz has been associated with three World Champions (1966, 1985 and 1995), eight pennant winners and 20 division crowns.
In 2004, to honor his nearly 40 years of success at the major league level, Baseball America named him the recipient of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Atlanta’s overall success in 2005 also helped the Braves earn Baseball America’s prestigious Organization of the Year award.
Schuerholz was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in August 2016 and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in February 2015. In January 2014 he was honored with the Outstanding Achievement in Baseball Award by the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation. He was inducted into the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum recognized John as the National League Executive of the Year with its Andrew “Rube” Foster Award in 2001, 2002 and 2005. The Braves 400 Club bestowed its Ivan Allen, Jr. “Mr. Baseball” award, presented to “the person who has contributed significantly to the promotion of baseball in the Atlanta area” to Schuerholz in February 2000. Baseball America honored the Braves as the most outstanding Major League franchise of the past two decades with its 20th Anniversary Award of Excellence in December 2001. As a result of the Braves’ 1991 worst-to-first performance, Schuerholz was named the Executive of the Year by UPI, the Boston Writers Association and the Maryland Tops in Sports group, Executive of the Year by the Georgia Securities Association and Georgian of the Year by Georgia Trend Magazine.
When the Braves won the 1995 World Series, Schuerholz achieved a unique distinction - he became the first executive to be general manager of world championship teams in both the American and National leagues. In his 26 years as a general manager with Kansas City and Atlanta, his teams totaled an amazing 2,348 wins.
During Schuerholz’s time with Kansas City, the Royals won one World Championship (1985), two American League pennants (1980 and 1985) and six division crowns (1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1984 and 1985). The Sporting News, in a poll of baseball’s general managers, selected Schuerholz as the Major League Executive of the Year in 1985, when Kansas City won the World Series.
As a general manager, Schuerholz proved to be a man of action ever since joining the Braves. An average of 10 new faces appeared on the club’s Opening Day roster each year, reflecting offseason transactions and the maturing of farm system products.
Almost without exception during the season, Schuerholz annually acquired at least one player who contributed greatly to the Braves’ successful run. John Smoltz was the only Braves player who was around for all 14 division titles from 1991 to 2005.
A native of Baltimore, Schuerholz left a job as a junior high school teacher to join the Orioles in 1966. He moved to Kansas City two years later, and as an administrative assistant, was involved in the expansion draft that created the first ever Royals roster. He was named Assistant Farm Director in 1970 and became Farm Director in 1975. He was promoted to director of player procurement and development in 1976 and vice president-player personnel in 1979. The Royals named Schuerholz executive vice president and general manager in October of 1981, when he was 41.
Born October 1, 1940, Schuerholz is a graduate of Towson (MD) University, where he played soccer and baseball. He was an all-conference choice in baseball and was named the school’s Athlete of the Year in 1962.
He was inducted into Towson’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1973 and served on the school’s Board of Visitors. Towson’s baseball facility is named John Schuerholz Park. Schuerholz authored his first book, “Built to Win: Inside Stories and Leadership Strategies from Baseball’s Winningest GM,” which was released in the spring of 2006.
He and his wife Karen have two children, Gina and Jonathan, and four grandchildren. Jonathan Schuerholz has been a player, instructor or executive in the Braves’ system since 2002. The 2017 season marks Jonathan’s third as the club’s assistant director of player development, following four seasons as a field manager in the farm system.
Chief Revenue Officer - USTA
Lewis H. Sherr
Chief Revenue Officer, USTA
Lewis H. Sherr is the Chief Revenue Officer for the USTA. In this role, he is responsible for all commercial activities and business development for the USTA, the US Open, US Open Series, community-based programs and all associated USTA properties. In this capacity, Sherr oversees the Broadcast, Sponsorship, Ticketing and Hospitality businesses, driving significant growth in recent years. He works out of the association’s national headquarters in White Plains, N.Y.
Sherr initially joined the USTA in 2010 as Managing Director, Corporate Partnerships, before being promoted to his current position in 2013. Previously, he worked at Madison Square Garden in New York, where he served as the Senior Vice President, Marketing Partnerships, for both MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment. In that position, Sherr secured the largest sponsorship agreement in MSG Entertainment history with the creation and sale of the MSG Concert Series naming rights platform to ABSOLUT. He also oversaw partnerships with brand leaders such as American Express, Coca-Cola, Delta, Hilton, JetBlue and T-Mobile.
Prior to his time with Madison Square Garden, Sherr served as Vice President, Client Partnerships at Time Warner Global Marketing, and as Regional Vice President at Clear Channel Advantage, both in New York, where he elevated strategic marketing and sales dialogue with top advertisers and agencies and strengthened and expanded client relationships. Sherr started his career at Wilson Sporting Goods Company in Chicago, where he rose to Managing Director of the Golf Division in Tokyo and led all business and marketing activity for Wilson’s golf clubs and golf balls.
Sherr, 51, is a graduate of Duke University, where he received both his undergraduate degree and his MBA. Sherr, his wife MaryBeth and three children reside in Princeton, N.J.
President - PHOENIX RACEWAY
For nearly 30 years, Bryan R. Sperber has been an integral part of the motorsports and entertainment industry at its highest levels, spearheading change and innovation from coast to coast. Currently the President of Phoenix Raceway, Bryan leads the strategic and operational vision for one of the most popular venues in the sport.
Throughout his 15 years as president of Phoenix Raceway, Bryan has guided the track through significant capital expansion, overseen the addition of a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, as well as helped secure the return of the Verizon IndyCar Series to the Raceway. The highlight of his tenure at Phoenix Raceway is the current $178 million modernization project – the Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar – which will create a best-in-class facility in Phoenix that will serve as a destination for motorsports fans everywhere.
An active and connected leader in the Phoenix and Arizona business communities, Bryan has been cited as a “Power Broker” by Arizona Sports & Leisure Magazine four times during his decade and a half at Phoenix Raceway. He also was named to the Phoenix Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2006 – after only four years as track president.
Prior to arriving at Phoenix Raceway, Bryan was the president of Watkins Glen International, where he was the youngest track president in NASCAR, being elevated at age 30 from the Director of Sponsorships at International Speedway Corporation (ISC).
Away from the track, Bryan has been an involved member of the Phoenix community through a number of local organizations, and is a member of the Arizona chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO). He is president of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, and is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Fiesta Bowl.
A graduate of Florida State University, he and his wife Lara, live in Phoenix with their son, Aaron.
Chief Operating Officer - LEGENDS
As Chief Operating Officer for Legends, Mike Tomon is responsible for operations across all business divisions, in addition to new business development for Legends, in both domestic and international markets. Collaborating with each of the three business service divisions - Global Planning, Global Sales and Hospitality - Tomon has successfully led Legends new business development growth in attractions, sports and music industries across Legends’ global client platform. With more than a decade of experience in the sports and entertainment industry, Tomon is a known as a thought leader, instituting strategic performance standards for sales, operations and service across all departmental functions, while identifying new opportunities, implementing strategies and ultimately managing partner relationships.
Prior to joining Legends in 2014, he served as Senior Vice President of Global Premium Sales at AEG. In that role, Tomon was responsible for new business development for AEG Global Partnerships, where he created and oversaw the global premium sales strategy for all of AEG’s assets worldwide, including the STAPLES Center, StubHub! Center, O2 Arena in Europe, Las Vegas Arena and Farmers Field projects. Prior to joining AEG, Mike re-joined the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers in December 2008 as Senior Vice President of Sales & Service, where he oversaw all ticket sales and retention efforts, including suite sales, premium sales, season ticket sales and group sales, as well as premium and season ticket services, ticket operations, database marketing and analytics.
Tomon was recognized in 2015 by Sports Business Journal as one of the top sports business leaders with its prestigious “40 Under 40” award, and he also resides on boards of various organizations and non-profits. Tomon graduated from Georgetown University, where he was a member of the Hoyas football team.
Chief Operating Officer - MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Kevin Warren was named Chief Operating Officer of the Minnesota Vikings on February 12, 2015. Warren’s extensive experience in all business facets of the organization create the perfect foundation for him to lead the business operations of the organization.
Since being promoted to COO, Warren has continued to play a critical role in all business, legal and operational facets related to U.S. Bank Stadium. Warren has also played a key role in the design, development and planning of Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, the new Minnesota Vikings headquarters in Eagan, in addition to the ancillary real estate development.
Warren enters his 19th NFL season and 13th with the Vikings in 2017. He is the highest-ranking African-American executive working on the business side for a team in the NFL and is the first African-American COO in NFL history.
Prior to joining the Vikings, Warren worked with the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig. Additionally, he spent two seasons with the Detroit Lions as Senior Vice President of Business Operations & General Counsel and four seasons with the St. Louis Rams as Vice President of Football Administration, and Vice President of Player Programs & Football Legal Counsel. Warren was with the Rams organization when they won Super Bowl XXXIV over the Tennessee Titans.
Warren earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Grand Canyon University in 1986, his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Arizona State University in 1988, and his Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Notre Dame School of Law in 1990. Warren is a licensed attorney with the State Bar of Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota (House Counsel-Rule 10), and the District of Columbia.
Philanthropy is an integral part of Warren’s life and he and his wife Greta, are active members of the Minneapolis-St. Paul community. In 2012, the Warren family “adopted” Lucy Craft Laney Community School in Minneapolis, which is predominantly African-American and has 98 percent of its student population coming from underserved communities. The Warren family has donated over 3,600 backpacks to students at Lucy Laney and other Twin Cities elementary schools.
In December 2014, Kevin and Greta created Carolyn’s Comforts in conjunction with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital and are donating $1 million to a pediatric emergency care assistance fund, to honor the legacy of his sister Carolyn Elaine Warren-Knox who passed away of brain cancer. Since the inception of Carolyn’s Comforts, over 175 financial grants have been made to families in need.
In 2017, Kevin and Greta launched the “No Doors Closed” scholarship program, selecting high-school seniors from District 191, who will be first generation college students. Each student was awarded with a four year, $5,000 per year academic scholarship to attend their college institution of choice. Kevin and Greta plan to continue awarding four scholarships annually over the next four years until a total of 16 students are in the program on a perpetual basis.
Warren places a priority on civic leadership and engagement, serving on several charitable boards, in addition to serving on a publically traded board and has been recognized on a national basis for his leadership in the business and charitable communities.
Vice President, Marketing and Business Strategy - MILWAUKEE BREWERS
Teddy Werner, 40, enters his 12th season with the Brewers and first as vice president of both marketing and business strategy.
Werner is responsible for all aspects of consumer marketing, advertising, creative and branding initiatives for the organization. Werner also oversees the newly-formed strategy and analytics department, which provides strategic, quantitative and qualitative support to all functions of business operations.
In addition, Werner assists in various areas of the organization's business affairs, with particular attention paid to the relationship with its concessionaire, Delaware North, as well as construction projects and other enhancements to the Miller Park experience. This past off-season, Werner oversaw the remodel of the food and beverage program at Miller Park.
In 2012, Werner was named to the "Forty Under 40" list by The Milwaukee Business Journal. Werner is a board member of the Milwaukee College Preparatory School, the Froedtert Hospital Foundation and the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Foundation. He is also a co-founder of the Miracle League of Milwaukee.
Prior to joining the Brewers, Werner was a labor and employment associate at Proskauer Rose, LLP in New York from 2003-06. He worked in the NFL's media relations department from 1998-2000.
Werner graduated from Yale University in 1998 and from Duke Law School in 2003.
A native of Los Angeles, Teddy resides in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, with his wife, Karin, and children Isabel, Andy and Nora. He has completed the Boston, New York and Chicago Marathons and enjoys golf, skiing, paddle-boarding on Lake Michigan and spending time with his family.
Vice President & Director, Sports Practice - DIMENSIONAL INNOVATIONS
Vice President, Cognitive BigData Systems - IBM
Paul C. Zikopoulos is the Vice President of Cognitive BigData Systems at IBM. Paul is an award winning writer and speaker with more than 23 years of experience in data and is seen as a global expert in Big Data and Analytic technologies. Independent groups often recognize Paul as a thought leader with nominations to SAP’s “Top 50 Big Data Twitter Influencers”, Maptive’s “Top 100 Big Data Experts to Follow in 2016”, “Big Data Republic’s “Most Influential”, Onalytica’s “Big Data Top 100 Influencers and Brands”, and Analytics Week “Thought Leaders in Big Data and Analytics” lists. Big Data Made Simple noted him as one of the “Top 200 Big Data Thought Leaders on Twitter”, Technopedia listed him one of its “Big Data Experts to Follow”, and GreyCampus named him to their “150 Most Influential People in Big Data & Hadoop”. He has also been consulted on the topic of Big Data by the popular TV show “60 Minutes” and advises various universities on their graduate-level analytics programs. Paul has written more than 360 magazine articles and 19 books, some of which include “Big Data Beyond the Hype”, “Hadoop for Dummies”, and “Harness the Power of Big Data”. Ultimately, Paul is trying to figure out the world according to Chloë—his daughter, whom he notes didn’t come with a handbook and is more complex than the topic of BigData, but more fun too.
President & Chief Executive Officer, Business Operations - ST. LOUIS BLUES
Chris Zimmerman was named President and CEO of Business Operations for the Blues in June 2014. He oversees all aspects of the Blues’ business operations, as well as Scottrade Center and the Blues’ role and interest in the Peabody Opera House.
Zimmerman came to the Blues with more than 30 years of experience in sports, marketing, and business management, including stints as General Manager of Nike Golf, President of the Vancouver Canucks, and similar roles with both Bauer Hockey and Easton Sports.
Since joining the Blues, Zimmerman has led resurgence in the Blues’ business operations. In 2015-16, he oversaw the most successful financial season in the organization’s history. The following season, Zimmerman helped St. Louis earn the opportunity to host the NHL’s marquee regular season event – the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic – at Busch Stadium. Zimmerman continued to build on that success this summer, facilitating legislation that will aid in a multi-million dollar renovation to Scottrade Center which will allow St. Louis continue to compete for major national sporting events, concerts, and more.
In an effort to grow the game of hockey throughout the region, Zimmerman has also helped architect plans for a new multi-sheet, regional ice center in Maryland Heights. The proposed facility will be the only one of its kind within a 500-mile radius of St. Louis and will host hockey at every level from learn-to-play to the NHL. Zimmerman continues to expand the organization’s presence in the community by serving on several boards, including the Board of Directors of the St. Louis Sports Commission, the St. Louis Regional Chamber, Blues for Kids, Downtown STL Inc., and the Legacy Ice Foundation.
Zimmerman played hockey at the University of Vermont, and he served as an assistant hockey coach at Babson College while working toward his MBA there. Zimmerman, along with his wife Emily and daughter Katie, relocated to St. Louis when he joined the Blues. His son Ted is currently studying Sports Management at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.