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Barons expand front office for move to new ballpark

Birmingham BaronsTime to staff up with a move to a new downtown ballpark: the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League) announced eight new hires in the front office.

The additions to their front office staff on Monday: Don Leo, Corporate Sales Manager, Brett Oates, Group Sales Manager, Steve Bayko, Community Group Ticket Representative, Sydney Weldon, Corporate Event Planner, Joseph Cooper, Director of Retail Sales, Randy Prince, Chief Financial Officer, George Chavous, Community Relations, and Nick Lampasona, Director of Stadium Operations for the 2013 season.
A native of Birmingham, Don Leo joined the Barons in the fall of 2012 and is entering his first full season with the team. Leo actually ran the scoreboard for the Barons in 1981 at Rickwood Field while working for 690 WVOK. No stranger to the market, Don has been in advertising and marketing in the Magic City since 1979 and has worked for Television, Outdoor and Radio. Don previously worked for Cox Media where he was the Director of Sales for 97.3 “The Zone”. Before that he was with Citadel Broadcasting for 10 years as Director of Sports Sales and was responsible for Alabama and Auburn Sports, NASCAR Racing and Atlanta Braves Baseball. Prior to that, Don was Director of NASCAR Operations for Texaco/Havoline Racing with Davey Allison as the Driver. Don helped develop and implement the NASCAR Marketing program for Texaco/Havoline Racing and was at every NASCAR event before coming off the road and rejoining the Birmingham Media.
Brett Oates joined the Barons in late 2012 as the organization’s Group Sales Manager. Prior to coming to the Barons he served as Senior Sales Representative with AZA & Associates in Birmingham. A native of Wilmington, Delaware he is a graduate of Grambling State University with a degree in Mass Communication. Brett is also a veteran of the broadcast news industry with more than a decade of experience working in various parts of the country including Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mobile & Birmingham.
Steve Bayko enters his first full season as the Barons’ Community Group Ticket Representative after joining the team mid-season in 2012 as an Intern. Originally from Clinton, KY, Bayko spent time living in Southern California and Pennsylvania while playing collegiate baseball. With family ties in Pittsburgh, Bayko eventually became a graduate of Saint Vincent College.

Sydney Weldon is in her first season with the Birmingham Barons as the team’s Corporate Event Planner. A Birmingham native, Sydney previously worked in all areas of the hospitality industry from the kitchen to event planning. She is a graduate of Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Joseph Cooper is entering his second year with the Barons after joining the team mid-season in 2012. A native of Birmingham, Joseph attended Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, and later spent time as a Youth & Music Minister as well as a Missionary to Mexico. Cooper brings 15 years of Retail Store Management experience to his current position as Merchandise Buyer & Director of Retail Sales for the Barons.

Randy Prince joins the Barons as the organization’s Chief Financial Officer. He earned a Bachelor Degree in Accounting from The University of Alabama where he was awarded the Austin Cup as the most outstanding business administration student. He began his career at a Big 4 accounting firm and worked in both the audit and tax departments. Randy went on to start and operate his own successful real estate development business in Tampa, Florida for several years.  Overall he has spent over 25 years working with small businesses in various financial and accounting roles including Chief Financial Officer for two home-building companies.

George Chavous enters his first season with the Barons in a full-time capacity after serving as an usher for 13 seasons including the past nine as Head Usher. In 2013 he was promoted to the Director of Customer Service. George previously worked in the music business for 30 years in promotions and marketing. After moving to Birmingham from St. Petersburg, Florida, George jumped at the chance to join the Birmingham Barons. In the years to follow, George came to embody the Barons’ commitment to great customer service at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium and now Regions Field.

Nick Lampasona enters his first season as the Director of Stadium Operations for the Barons and his sixth season in professional baseball. A native of Taylor Ridge, IL, Nick arrived in Birmingham after serving as the Director of Operations for the past 3 seasons for the Gary Southshore Railcats and previously worked as the Operations Manager for the Connecticut Defenders, a former Eastern League team. Nick graduated from Western Illinois University in 2006 with a degree in Recreation, Park, Tourism, and Administration.

The Barons also welcome five full-time interns for the 2013 season: Jarrod Johnson, John Gibson, Emily Stuenkel, Brian DiCiaccio and Spencer Cornelia. Johnson, a graduate of Troy University, becomes the Barons’ new Ticketing Assistant. Gibson, a graduate of the College of Wooster, is a Marketing Assistant. Stuenkel, a graduate of the University of Alabama, joins the Barons as a Marketing Assistant. DiCiaccio, a graduate of Ithaca College, takes the reigns as the new Food Service Assistant. Cornelia, a graduate of Georgia Southern University, is set to be the new Stadium Operations Assistant.


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