Lots of MiLB personnel news: HWS Baseball promotes three; Eric Jarinko is the new Greenville Drive GM; the Quad Cities River Bandits add two assistant GMs; Tonya Petrunak returns to Reading, and the Greeneville Astros add two sales reps.
HWS Baseball, the parent company of the Modesto Nuts (High Class A; California League), Mobile Bay Bears (Class AA; Southern League) and Mahoning Valley Scrappers (short season A; NY-Penn League) announced three staff promotions effective immediately.
Tyler Richardson has been promoted to General Manager of the Modesto Nuts. Richardson, who has served as the team’s Assistant General Manager since October 2010, has been a member of the Nuts front office staff since 2005. Richardson will oversee the day-to-day operations of the franchise. Richardson is a Modesto native with a degree from California State University, Stanislaus.
“This is an exciting day for the Modesto Nuts. Tyler began his career in professional sports with the Nuts in 2005 and he has continued to grow and develop as a sport executive,” said HWS Executive Vice President Mike Gorrasi. “Tyler has been a key reason for our continued success and I look forward to watching him take on this next challenge.”
Richardson is the third GM since the Modesto franchise became the Nuts in 2005 following Gorrasi (2005 – 2007, 2009 – 2013) and Alex Schwerin (2008).
“I’m honored and privileged to be named the GM of the Modesto Nuts,” said Richardson. “This franchise has a storied history on the field and in the front office. I’d like to thank owner Mike Savit and Executive VP Mike Gorrasi for entrusting me with this next step in my career. To be the GM of my hometown team is an amazing opportunity and one made possible by the support of ownership and the mentors who have helped me along the way.”
In addition to Richardson’s promotion, Ed Mack has been promoted to Vice President of HWS Beverage, the concessionaire of the Modesto Nuts and Mobile Bay Bears. Mack has been with the Modesto Nuts since 2008 and was promoted to Assistant General Manager in 2009. Mack will oversee the concession operations for both the Nuts and Bay Bears.
“Ed has done an outstanding job with the Modesto Nuts,” said Gorrasi. “He has turned our food and beverage operation into one of the strengths of our company. I look forward to watching him having similar success with our Mobile operation.”
Mike Gorrasi has been promoted to Executive Vice President of HWS Baseball. Gorrasi will lead and direct both the Modesto Nuts and Mobile Bay Bears franchises. Gorrasi has been a member of the Modesto front office staff since November 2000. He has been assisting with the operation in Mobile for the past two seasons.
“Mike has done a great job as VP/GM in Modesto since HWS bought the team in 2005,” said HWS Baseball CEO Mike Savit. “He is highly deserving of this promotion and I have every confidence he will sustain this standard of success in Modesto and Mobile in the years ahead.”
During Gorrasi’s tenure, the Modesto Nuts have been named the California League’s Organization of the Year two times (2010, 2011) and the Modesto Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year (2008). Gorrasi was also named the California League’s Executive of the Year in 2010 and 2011.
The Greenville Drive (Low Class A; Sally League) announced the promotion of Eric Jarinko as the organization’s new General Manager. Jarinko has been with the Drive since their inaugural season in 2006, most recently serving as the organization’s Assistant General Manager. In his new role, the 31-year-old will oversee the organization’s day-to-day business and baseball operations, while continuing to strengthen the Drive’s brand in the Upstate Community.
Drive Co-Owner and President Craig Brown commented on the announcement, saying, “Eric has the ideal experience and qualifications to take the reins as the Drive General Manager. He is incredibly smart, diligent, thorough and hard-working, and most importantly, he is absolutely committed to providing our fans with the best possible customer service. As the Drive continues to enhance the fan experience at Fluor Field, with many exciting items coming online for the 2014 season, we have the chance to make this our best season ever. Under Eric’s leadership, and with the staff we have in place, I am confident we will get there!”
Jarinko joined the Drive as Director of Media Relations in November of 2005, prior to the organization’s Inaugural Season in Downtown Greenville. Over the past eight years his responsibilities have included the management and growth of numerous departments, including Entertainment, Ballpark Operations, Red Sox Relations and Sponsor Services, where he has worked closely with the Drive corporate partners.
“It’s very exciting to be moving into this new role with the Drive, and to be able to lead the organization’s ongoing commitment to provide the best fan experience and customer service in all of Minor League Baseball,” noted Jarinko. “Since 2006, this organization has established so many strong ties in becoming part of the fabric of Greenville Upstate Community, and much of that has to do with the Drive’s mission and leadership team.”
Jarinko added, “I equate this move to the path our players take when they begin their professional baseball careers in Greenville, striving to reach Boston. When I began my time with the Drive eight years ago my goal was to become a general manager, and I’m thankful to have realized that opportunity now with the Drive — a truly Major League operation. The experiences and responsibilities that Craig Brown, Mike deMaine, and Nate Lipscomb have afforded me during the past eight years have really assisted in my growth to this point, and I am eager to continue that professional development in my new role.”
A graduate of Clemson University, Jarinko has been recognized twice as the South Atlantic League’s Media Relations Director of the Year (2009 and 2010), and was named to Greenville Business Magazine’s “Best and Brightest Under 35” in 2011. His expanded responsibilities and close working relationship with Brown, deMaine, and Lipscomb were also integral in the organization being awarded the Bob Freitas Award by Baseball America in 2012, as well as twice being named the South Atlantic League’s Organization of the Year in 2008 and 2010.
Drive Executive Vice President Nate Lipscomb commented on Jarinko’s promotion, saying, “Eric has an extraordinary understanding of both the game and the business of baseball. His growth and maturity since joining the organization has been remarkable, and the Drive and Greenville Community could not have a better person to assume the role of General Manager. The respect he has earned from the Red Sox, from his peers in the League, from the Drive staff, and from the many fans and customers he has worked with and served is truly outstanding. I’m excited to continue working with Eric in his new role, as the Drive strives to make a positive impact on the quality of life for all our fans and partners here in the Upstate.”
The Reading Fightin Phils (Class AA; Eastern League) announced the return of Tonya Petrunak to the franchise as the club’s Director of Business Development. She returns to the club after spending eight years (2004-2012) with the Greater Reading Convention & Visitors Bureau where she most recently was the Vice President of Marketing and Operations.
“What a tremendous addition to our already strong Fightins staff,” said Fightin Phils General Manager Scott Hunsicker. “Bringing back someone with Tonya’s personality and experience is a major score for our organization. She was a highly successful member of our staff before and she went on to do great things in the community through her role as the Vice President of the Visitors Bureau. Now, we welcome her back to the Fightins family to help take us to the next level.”
With the visitors bureau, Petrunak created and managed the organizations’ marketing and sales plan while establishing relationships with community leaders and the hospitality industry among other responsibilities. She also worked as Marketing Coordinator with Tel Hai Retirement Community prior to her time with the bureau.
In her new position with the Fightins, Petrunak will work alongside Director of Sales Joe Bialek and Assistant Director of Sales Anthony Pignetti to foster business relationships in the area while assisting with other sales efforts throughout the season. She originally worked in the front office from 2000-2003 where she was Fan Development and Corporate Sales Manager (2001-2003) and Group Sales Coordinator (2000-2001). She completed an internship with the team prior to being hired full-time after four seasons on the game day staff.
A graduate of Exeter Township High School, Petrunak received her B.A. in Communication from Slippery Rock University in 2000. She currently resides in Exeter Township with her husband Jon and their children Charlotte and Kaden.
The Quad Cities River Bandits have made a pair of offseason acquisitions, as they announced their two new assistant general managers, whom the Midwest League club will have oversee the baseball operations of the franchise and the year-round special events at Modern Woodmen Park.
The front office team welcomes Travis Painter as the Assistant General Manager of Baseball Operations and Taylor Satterly as the Assistant General Manager of Special Events.
“We are very pleased to add two talented and experienced new members to our front office team,” said River Bandits co-owner Dave Heller. “Travis brings diverse experiences in Minor League Baseball and is widely regarded as a rising star within the industry, and Taylor is the kind of outstanding home-grown talent we pride ourselves on hiring. She has proven skills, great experience and the kind of familiarity with the Quad Cities region that only a local could have. Together, they are going to take baseball and special events at Modern Woodmen Park to a whole new level.”
Painter joins the River Bandits from the Pensacola (Fla.) Blue Wahoos, Double-A affiliate of the Cincinatti Reds in the Southern League. A native of Luray, Va., and graduate of James Madison (Harrisonburg, Va.) University, Painter previously served as assistant general manager for the Potomac (Va.) Nationals, the advanced Class-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals in the Carolina League. He also helped start the Pensacola franchise and open its new stadium in his two-year stint with the Blue Wahoos. Painter will assist with the day-to-day operations of the club and help oversee many of the River Bandits front office departments.
“I am excited to be joining the River Bandits, and helping to take this already extraordinary team to the next level,” Painter said. “It’s been a great transition to the Quad Cities, and I look forward to jumping into my new role, and meeting lots of new people.”
Satterly comes to the River Bandits after eight years at the Stoney Creek Inn of Moline, Ill., most recently as the Assistant General Manager. A native of Henry County, Ill., Satterly graduated from Western Illinois University in the Quad Cities. She will lead the special events department at Modern Woodmen Park and will oversee all sales, planning, setup and cleanup of special events – including weddings, rehearsal dinners, corporate meetings, luncheons, holiday parties, fundraisers and many other year-round events.
“I would like to thank Dave Heller and Bob Herrfeldt for this opportunity to join such a great organization so committed to outstanding customer service,” Satterly said. “I am very excited to use my years of experience in the hospitality industry to help make Modern Woodmen Park the first choice for weddings, parties and all kinds of events here in the Quad Cities.”
The Greeneville Astros (rookie; Appalachian League) have hired Ben Spillner and Kelsey Thompson as sales account executives. Spillner and Thompson both originally joined the Astros organization prior to the 2012 season and have served as baseball operations assistants for each of the past two seasons.
Spillner will be adding corporate and group sales duties to his previous responsibilities which include overseeing The Upper Deck team store, online store orders and assisting with facility management. A native of Antwerp, Ohio, he received his B.A. in Film and Broadcasting from Tusculum College in 2013.
Thompson, in addition to continuing her responsibilities with in-game promotions and assisting with gameday production, will also increase her role with corporate and group sales. Originally from Tampa, Florida, she completed her B.A. in Economics and History from Vanderbilt University in 2012.
Greeneville Astros general manager David Lane said, “We feel that adding Ben and Kelsey in a full time role will affect our organization in a positive manner and open up a new world of opportunities for marketing and community outreach with our fans.”
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