We have personnel news to report today from the West Virginia Power (Low Class A; Sally League), the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), the Staten Island Yankees (short season A; NY-Penn League) and the Holyoke Blue Sox (summer collegiate; NECBL).
In Charleston, Will Bell, Adam Marco and Jordan Pence have been promoted while Kaitlin Parsons, Robert Robinson and John Schraer have all been added to the full-time staff.
“We are excited and fortunate to be able to promote from within this off-season,” Power Executive Vice-President Ken Fogel said. “The staff members moving up are very deserving of the opportunities in front of them and the new hires have certainly proven themselves as interns.”
Bell has been promoted to Group Sales Manager after two seasons as the Street Team Coordinator. He was an intern with the team in 2011 after graduating from Davis and Elkins.
Marco will now serve as the Power’s Director of Marketing & Media, adding responsibilities formerly held by Kristin Call, who left the club in October for a similar position with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (High Class A; Carolina League). Marco will still handle media relations in addition to his role as the club’s broadcaster.
Pence, a 2012 graduate of West Virginia University, is now the team’s Manager of Client Services after spending the 2013 season as the Suite Coordinator. She also interned with West Virginia during the 2012 season before joining the staff in a full-time capacity.
Robinson, Parsons and Schraer each completed an internship with the Power over the last few years and are now members of the full-time staff. Robinson interned during the 2013 season and will serve as the Street Team Coordinator. Parsons was an intern in 2009, returned to the Power in 2013 as a Marketing Assistant, and is now the Assistant Director of Marketing. Schraer will serve as an Account Executive after interning with the club during each of the last two seasons.
Steven Violetta is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Staten Island Yankees.
“I’m thrilled and honored to have been asked by Glenn Reicin, Nick Tiller and the other owners at Nostalgic Partners to lead this organization through what we all feel is an unprecedented period of opportunity,” Violetta said. “The power of the Yankees brand, attraction of baseball as a family-friendly sport and the unmatched views from this Ballpark are intriguing enough on their own. But when you factor in the upcoming New York Wheel project and the Empire Outlets retail project, both of which will almost touch our outfield walls, the number of potential customers we can showcase our unique blend of value, entertainment and unmatched customer service to increases exponentially.”
The City of New York has planned the construction of the world’s tallest Ferris Wheel and a retail outlet complex literally feet from the Richmond County Bank Ballpark. Immediately adjacent to the left field wall will be the 625 foot tall New York Wheel. This structure will exceed the height of Singapore Flyer, London Eye and the New Wheel on the Las Vegas Strip. It will carry 4.5 million riders per year. In the right field area, between the Ballpark and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, the City of New York plans a 350,000 square foot development. This features a 200 room hotel, 1,250-space parking garage and an upscale brand shopping mall featuring 100 stores.
As CEO Violetta is responsible for the overall strategic vision of the Staten Island Yankees franchise, including all planning and day-to-day operations. He also has full responsibility of the P/L, driving forward all club business operations including sponsorship sales, ticket sales, premium seat and suite sales, box office, broadcast rights and operations and new media.
“Steve has developed a unique personal brand over his career,” Reicin said. “He’s known as a bottom line achiever who combines a strategic marketing mindset with ability to maximize assets like net revenue and brand development. Those skills will be key as we develop short term and long term plans for the organization”.
President and General Manager Jane Rogers enters her 16th season with the Staten Island Yankees. She will report to Violetta and continue to oversee Ballpark Operations as well as the player/affiliation relationship with the New York Yankees. Rogers will also now devote more of her time to Community Relations and generating non-baseball events for the organization.
“I am delighted to welcome Steve to our leadership team, Rogers said. “He joins us at an exciting time of the year as we prepare for the 2014 season. I believe with his extensive sports background, energy and resourcefulness, we will have one of our best seasons yet”.
As a Major League Sports Executive, Violetta has personally negotiated over $350 Million of sponsorship contracts, including two Facility Naming Rights deals. He was instrumental in the conceptualization, presentation and negotiations of the San Diego Padres naming rights agreement with PETCO.
Violetta most recently was Founder, President and CEO of S&V Sports Enterprises, a consulting company working with other sports entities in areas like Revenue & Sponsorship evaluations, Strategic Planning and Brand Management.
Also in his career Violetta has been the top Business Executive for the Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League. As well as Executive Vice President of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres. Besides negotiating the Ballpark’s naming-rights deal, while with the Padres Violetta closed over $130 million in long-term sponsorship commitments, oversaw a 125-percent increase in season-ticket sales and helped the Padres’ attendance grow to over 3 million in the 2004 season.
After another record-setting season in 2013, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox announced three promotions within the team’s front office staff: Chris Phillips has been promoted to Assistant General Manager and Director of Corporate Sales, Whitney Shellem moves up to Senior Director of Ticketing and Keith Hodges has been promoted to Senior Director of Group Sales.
Chris Phillips just completed his second season with the Sky Sox, and his 11th year in minor league baseball. In 2003, Chris started his baseball career as a Ticket Account Executive with the Altoona Curve, and quickly moved up the ranks to Assistant Director of Ticket Sales. In 2005, Chris took on the role of Director of Ticket Sales for Greenberg Sports Group, overseeing the ticket sales departments for both the Altoona Curve and the State College Spikes. Chris was then promoted to the Assistant General Manager of the State College Spikes, overseeing all ticket sales, sponsorship sales, and business development for the team before joining the Sky Sox as Director of Corporate Sales in 2011. “Chris took over as part of a restructuring of the Corporate Sales Department in 2011,” said Sky Sox President & GM Tony Ensor. “And through his leadership has been that igniting force that has taken our Corporate Sales team to the next level in both sales and client satisfaction. While the success of our Corporate Sales team has been noted, it is also the experience and intangibles that he brings to the organization everyday that make him an invaluable member of our management team.”
Whitney Shellem has been overseeing ticket operations for the Sky Sox for the last 10 seasons and under his watch the Sky Sox attendance has grown year after year. Whitney’s interest in Minor League Baseball stems from growing up around the Wilmington Blue Rocks and later the Salem Avalanche. After a summer volunteering with the Blue Rocks during his senior year, Whitney joined the Sky Sox as an intern in 2004 and was later promoted to Box Office manager. Since then Whitney has moved up the ranks and has made Colorado Springs his permanent residence. “While ticketing is in his title, that is only part of the story,” said Ensor. “Whitney also handles our New Media Marketing program as well as running our ticketing department. Whitney is seen as the ultimate utility player because he has done so many things to get Sky Sox Baseball where it is today. His leadership in these areas is a major reason for the tremendous growth in our attendance and brand over the past several years.”
Keith Hodges has been handling corporate hospitality events and sponsorships at Security Service Field for the past eight years. This past season marked Keith’s eighth season with the Sky Sox & fourth season as Director of Group Sales. He is from San Antonio, TX and has been around the game of baseball his entire life. He also played Division I baseball at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX and began coaching after graduating college in 2004. After a seasonal internship with the Round Rock Express Baseball Club, Keith moved up to Colorado Springs in 2005 and has been here ever since. “Keith came to us eight years ago and I am especially proud of the growth he has displayed each and every year,” Ensor explained. “His dedication to his clients, his co-workers and this organization truly make him a very special leader in this community. His commitment to excellence for himself and his department has also made him one of the most respected leaders in his field in all of Minor League Baseball.”
Hunter Golden is the new GM of the Holyoke Blue Sox, as announced by new team owner Clark Eckhoff.
“In getting to know Hunter over the past few weeks, it’s easy to tell that he’s a great leader, has excellent people skills and we know he’ll do a great job with us,” said Eckhoff. “It really represents a fresh start for us. “
As General Manager, Golden will be in charge of shaping all aspects of the Blue Sox organization, from roster building & baseball operations through to game day event management and community relations. On the heels of an ownership change and his hiring, Golden is optimistic about a successful restart for the Blue Sox brand.
“Heading forward, there are a lot of things for our fans and the community to be excited about,” said Golden. “We have a clear vision and strategy – and it’s all about creating a sustainable winner both on and off the field.”
Golden brings a unique combination of marketing and baseball experience to the table having run both a marketing consultancy for the past five years as well as writing about sabermetrics and the Boston Red Sox for ESPN.com’s Sweet Spot Network. As a marketing consultant, Golden worked with prominent brands such as Citi, Home Shopping Network, A&E, Children’s Friend & Family Services and Blackboard. As a baseball analyst, he has appeared frequently on 98.5 The Sports Hub, WEEI and ESPN’s weekly MLB power rankings.
“Taking a look at the totality of his experience, his ideas for building the roster, involving in the community and blending that together into one comprehensive vision for the organization made for a very appealing overall package for us,” continued Eckhoff. “We’re excited to have him on board and we know he’ll hit the ground running in full stride and that no one will outwork him.”
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