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Storm Chasers, Rafters announce staff additions/promotions

Omaha Storm ChasersSome personnel news to convey: the Omaha Storm Chasers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) promoted Andrea Stava to assistant GM, while the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (summer collegiate; Northwoods League) promoted Liz Kern and John Fanta.

In addition, the Storm Chasers hired Sean Olson as the team’s new director of ticket sales.

“The front office of a professional sports team is just as vital to our service to the community as the players on the field, and we feel these front offices changes will help us build off the 2013 National Championship heading into the 2014 campaign,” said Martie Cordaro, president and general manager of the Omaha Storm Chasers. “I am extremely proud of Andrea Stava, who has risen up the ranks from intern to assistant general manager, and she has been key to our successful transition to Werner Park. Sean Olson will be a tremendous asset to our organization, as he has been a fixture in the Omaha business and sports communities for more than a decade.”

Andrea Stava joined the then Omaha Royals as an intern in 2005 and was hired on fulltime in the fall of 2006 as a group sales executive for the club, a position she held from 2006-10. As the team transitioned out to Werner Park, Stava shifted her focus to community relations and was named director of community relations in 2012.  She joins Laurie Schlender as the team’s two assistant general managers under Martie Cordaro.

During her time as director of community relations, Stava oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Storm Chasers charitable arm, the Home Run Foundation of Greater Omaha. This past season, the Home Run Foundation donated its largest amount since its inception in 2010 with $521,638 raised for local charities. The Storm Chasers were honored as the Pacific Coast League’s nominee for the inaugural John Henry Moss Community Service Award, presented to a club that demonstrates an outstanding, ongoing commitment to charitable service, support and leadership within their local community and within the baseball industry.

For the past ten years, Sean Olson has served as a convention center sales manager with the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority (MECA) at CenturyLink Center Omaha, the Omaha Civic Auditorium and TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Olson is active in the community and has been a part of many different organizations including Toastmasters International, Meeting Professionals International, Omaha Young Professionals Council and the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and has served in a number of leadership roles in those organizations.

Olson started his career at the University of Nebraska-Omaha Athletic Department serving as an assistant basketball coach, radio color announcer, athletic ticket manager and director of athletic facilities and concessions. He served on the committee that brought Division I Men’s Hockey to UNO and also oversaw multiple construction projects for the athletic department including a $6.5 million athletic complex renovation. Olson coordinated all game management activities for multiple athletic venues including eleven Division II sports and one Division I sport.

In Wisconsin Rapids, Kern, who has served as the general manager each of the Rafters first four seasons, has been named vice president of the team, while Fanta, who has been Kern’s assistant general ,anager since the team’s inception, has been named general ,anager. Both Kern and Fanta will continue to reside in Wisconsin Rapids.

Fanta will supervise day-to-day operations in Wisconsin Rapids as well as work closely with Field Manager Chris Ebright to construct the team for 2014. Fanta will also work with area high school and American Legion teams to schedule games and coordinate activities at Witter Field. 

The Rafters Ownership group that includes Madison Mallards owner Steve Schmitt and Vern Stenman, have partnered with Madison Mallards General Manager Conor Caloia to launch a third NWL club in Kenosha that will start play in 2014. With the expansion of the group, Kern’s role will evolve to include oversight of the Rafters along with some cross-organizational duties focusing on customer service training and developing efficiencies between all three clubs.

“The foundation of the success of our business is 100% based on our people. As we continue to grow as an organization, it is important for us to continue to challenge the good people that have gotten us to this point and continue to put the fan experience first in each of our three markets.These moves combine to ensure that our teams will continue to do that and continue to get better,” said team president Stenman.

“I am excited for this opportunity and to continue to work with this great organization,” Kern said. “We are working hard to make 2014 the best season on and off the field and look forward to continuing to work with the great fans of Wisconsin Rapids.”

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue working with our ownership group, Liz Kern, and the passionate baseball fans in the greater Wisconsin Rapids area,” said Fanta. “This is truly a special fan base which motivates us to put the best product on the field each year.  I look forward to collaborating with our new field manager, Chris Ebright, to make 2014 the best season yet.”


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