The Gary-SouthShore RailCats (independent; Northern League) revamped their front office at the end of the 2010 season, as president/GM Roger Wexelberg is out, Andy Viano is in, and Dave Salvi takes over as head of the franchise.
Wexelberg became the organization’s first employee in July 2001 when he was hired as Vice President/General Manager, a position he held until December 2006 when he left to take a vice president position with North Coast Distributing of Valparaiso. During his time with the ‘Cats, Wexelberg was named Northern League Executive of the Year in 2005. That year the RailCats won their first Northern League Championship and hosted the league’s All-Star Game. In 2006 under his leadership, the RailCats were named Northern League Organization of the Year.
Viano, 28, first joined the RailCats as an intern in 2004 and has spent six seasons as part of the team, including the last three as the Director of Media Relations and Broadcasting. The lead play-by-play voice of the club since 2008, Viano has also been responsible for maintaining the team’s website, the production of all printed materials and been the team’s chief media liaison. A graduate of nearby Valparaiso University, Viano has also worked at his alma mater and with Manhattanville College in Purchase, N.Y.
“I am both humbled and excited to be a part of this new chapter in RailCats history,” Viano said. “This organization means so much to all of our great fans throughout The Region and the opportunity to help lead this team with Dave [Salvi] and the rest of our incredible staff is one I am eager to begin. I can’t wait to build on all of the great accomplishments we’ve had in our first nine seasons and lead us into this new decade of ingenuity and on and off-field success.”
“We are very excited about the direction of the RailCats looking forward to 2011. Andy has been with the organization for some time now and has a number of ideas to take this franchise to the next level,” RailCats CEO/Owner Pat Salvi said. “At the same time, enough cannot be said about Roger [Wexelberg]’s contribution to RailCats organization. We sincerely appreciate his dedication and commitment to making professional baseball a success in Northwest Indiana and wish him nothing but the best in future endeavors.”
“It has been a great run personally for me with the RailCats,” said Wexelberg. “I have made lifelong friends with fans, sponsors, staff and players and I truly appreciate all of them.”
In a separate move, Dave Salvi will take over as President of PLS Holdings, the holding company of the RailCats. As part of his responsibilities, Salvi will be charged with overseeing the overall mission, brand and philosophies of the RailCats while Viano will manage the franchise’s day-to-day operation.
Salvi, 25, has worked in the RailCats front office since 2008, serving primarily as the team’s Manager of Advertising & Promotions. In that role, Salvi developed, designed and produced all RailCats advertising and oversaw the team’s gameday entertainment and the execution of the club’s aggressive promotional calendar. Prior to his work with the RailCats, Salvi was part of Dig Communications, a Chicago-based public relations firm, after graduating from Loyola University of Chicago.
“This is a very exciting time for RailCats baseball,” Salvi said. “I’m honored to work alongside Andy [Viano] and the great staff we have as we build our brand even further in Northwest Indiana. As leaders of this franchise, our focus is simple: fun. The RailCats will be trailblazers in ways of marketing, promotions and entertainment. Our entire franchise will strive to be the pinnacle of our industry and one of The Region’s most innovative businesses.”
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