We have personnel news to pass along from the Frederick Keys (High Class A; Carolina League), Akron RubberDucks (Class AA; Eastern League), Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), Reading Fightin Phils (Class AA; Eastern League) and the summer-collegiate Coastal Plain League.
In Frederick, Kari Collins has been elevated to Director of Stadium Operations. Originally from Iowa, Collins served as Stadium Operations Manager this past season. She has spent three seasons with the Keys, while she has also worked in stadium operations for minor league teams in Albuquerque, Charlotte and Omaha.
Ben Sealy has been promoted to Director of Ticket Operations. A graduate of Juniata College, the Seneca Falls, N.Y. native has been a member of the Keys staff since 2013, when he worked as a Box Office Assistant and Account Manager.
Doug Raftery becomes the team’s Director of Sponsorship after working as a Sponsorship Account Manager this past season. A 2012 graduate of Hood College, Raftery also served as one of the club’s radio voices, and will continue to broadcast Keys games in 2015. Prior to joining the organization, he spent two years with the Eau Claire Express in the collegiate Northwoods Baseball League as Director of Broadcasting and Media Sales.
The Keys are announced that Chris Colletti and Casey O’Brien have joined the full-time staff as Group Sales Account Managers.
A recent Towson University graduate, O’Brien worked as a Marketing and Community Relations Assistant this past season. He hails from Kent Island, MD.
Colletti was also a member of this year’s seasonal staff, serving as a Marketing Assistant. In addition to his time with the Keys, he has worked for the Buffalo Bisons, a minor league baseball team in the International League. He graduated from SUNY Cortland in 2013.
Matt Miller continues as the team’s Director of Group Sales after being promoted into that role midseason. A member of the Keys staff since January 2010, the Virginian is a 2009 graduate of Lynchburg College.
Elizabeth Wenger was added to the full-time staff during the season, after beginning the year as a Sponsorship Assistant. She currently serves as the team’s Office Manager and will also continue her work in the sponsorship department. She is a graduate of Robert Morris University and Mount St. Mary’s.
In the summer-collegiate Coastal Plain League office, Shelby Hilliard has been added to its full-time staff as the newly appointed Director of Media Relations.
Hilliard, originally from Comanche, Texas, served the past two summer seasons as an intern in the league office. As Director of Media Relations, she will immediately oversee all media and public relations duties, including writing press releases, updating and maintaining content for the league’s website, www.coastalplain.com and the production of various CPL publications such as the newsletter and media guide.
“We are very excited to bring Shelby on board full-time,” said CPL Commissioner Justin Sellers. “She has worked very hard the past two seasons and has quickly become part of our CPL family. Shelby is an outstanding young lady who works tirelessly and produces brilliant work. We are blessed to have Shelby on board and look forward to her helping us accomplish new goals.”
Hilliard comes to Holly Springs from Texas Tech University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Exercise Sports Sciences in 2012 before recently obtaining an M.S. in Exercise Sports Sciences with a focus on Sport and Exercise Psychology, as well as an M.A. in Mass Communications with a focus on Sports Media in May of 2014. During her time in graduate school, Hilliard served as a teaching assistant for four lab sections of Theories and Principles of Exercise Psychology; as well as working with her advisor and fellow graduate students on multiple research projects, with three studies reaching publication.
“I am grateful for this opportunity with the Coastal Plain League,” said Hilliard. “I am excited about what the CPL represents, but even more so about what it has the potential to be.”
While an intern for the CPL in 2013 and 2014, Hilliard was responsible for several tasks, but most notably, the creation and production of the league’s newsletter – Behind the Dish – that went out to over 1,500 players, parents, host families and fans. Additionally, her writing portfolio includes freelance writing for OldCoachMagazine.com, TexansUnited.com, and CoachandPlayer.com. Hilliard has also gained valuable experience from working other internships, including as a Fox Sports liaison for the Texas vs. The Nation Bowl and teaching English to refugee children in Australia.
In the Akron RubberDucks front office, Mark Carlozzi and Jenna Reed were hired on as full-time Ticket Sales Executives. Carlozzi is from Poland, Ohio, and attended Gannon University where he majored in sports marketing and management, and earned a master’s in business administration. Reed is a graduate of Kent State University with a degree in sports administration. Joining them from the 2014 intern class is Colin Tulley, who interned in the food and beverage department. He will join the staff as Assistant Director, Food and Beverage. Tulley is a native of Euclid, Ohio, and a graduate of Xavier University.
“We take a lot of pride in our ticket sales associate and internship programs. Our goal is to help individuals grow and learn to help them in their careers, but to also identify difference-makers who can keep our team at the top of its game. Mark, Jenna, and Colin did a tremendous job this season and we’re honored to add them to our full-time staff,” said RubberDucks General Manager Jim Pfander.
There are two more front office additions. Taylor Myers joins the staff full-time as a Graphic Designer after working in that capacity in a part-time roll during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Myers is from Alliance and studied graphic design at the Columbus School of Art and Design. Also joining the team is Melissa Dies, who will be the Office Manager and Executive Assistant to Owner and Chief Executive Officer, Ken Babby. Dies is an Akron native who is heavily involved with operation of the West Akron Baseball League (WABL).
Staff promotions include Pete Nugent moving from ticket sales executive to Box Office Manager and bookkeeper Leslie Wenzlawsh, who is a native of Mogadore, is now taking on the role of Controller. Nugent, a Tarentum, Pa. native, started with the RubberDucks in 2013 as a ticket sales associate. He is a graduate of Robert Morris University where he earned a degree in business administration. Wenzlawsh came on board for the 2014 season and oversaw both the finances of the RubberDucks and the new The Game Grill + Bar.
Some staff are moving into new roles for 2015. Akron native and University of Akron graduate Sam Dankoff, who started with the franchise in 2013 as the assistant food and beverage director, is now the Manager of Suites and Picnics. Hartville native Brock Cline is taking over the role of Community Relations and Special Events Manager. Cline is a graduate of the University of Akron where he majored in exercise physiology and is expecting to complete his master’s from there in sports administration in December. Cline was the box office manager in 2014 after starting as a ticket sales associate in 2013.
Nick Dobreff is the new Director of Public Relations for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League).
A familiar face will be returning to the Reading Fightin Phils family, as Mike Becker has been named Executive Director of Tickets, the club announced on Tuesday.
Becker comes back to his Baseballtown roots after a season away from the team working as an Assistant Branch Manager for Diamond Credit Union. Previously, Becker spent 16 seasons in the Reading front office as the Director of Ticket Operations. He originally got his start with the club in 1998 as an intern during his senior year at Millersville University and was hired following the internship.
In his new role with the club, Becker will oversee season tickets and mini-plans, ticket books, single-game ticket sales while overseeing the box office.
“It’s always great to welcome back a long-tenured, experienced employee back to the Fightins organization such as Mike Becker,” said Fightin Phils General Manager Scott Hunsicker. “Along with our front office, I know that our valued season ticket and mini-plan holders will be thrilled to see a familiar face back in the ticket office as we ready for the 2015 season.”