We have front-office news from the Joliet Slammers (independent; Frontier League), Orem Owlz (rookie; Pioneer League), Reading Fightin Phils (Class AA; Eastern League) and Great Lakes Loons (Low Class A; Midwest League).
In Joliet, Ben Davis is the team’s new Sales and Marketing General Manager. He brings 10 years of sports marketing industry experience to the Slammers.
He has held positions with Major League Baseball teams and two Power 5 College Athletic Conferences directing ticket sales. Davis will be residing in the area with his wife Abbey and their one-year-old daughter Harper.
In Orem, Julie Hatch was named assistant GM of the Owlz. She has been apart of the organization since it relocated to Orem in 2004.
“Nobody represents everything the Orem Owlz are about and strive to be like Julie does,” says General Manager Justo Vazquez. “Her passion, loyalty and drive for the team are unmatched. We always are trying to provide the best experience and product for our fans and Julie has always been a driving force for fans and the community. There is no one else I would rather have at this position then Julie Hatch.”
Hatch was also unanimously nominated as the Rawlings Woman of the Year representative from the Pioneer League.
“It was time to recognize Julie’s immeasurable value to the organization,” said Jeff Katofsky, managing member of the Owlz. “Julie is the key to our great fans having the best experience in Minor League Baseball night in and night out.”
The Reading Fightin Phils announced staff changes for the 2015, including four new hires from the team’s internship program. With the hire, 18 of the 25 full-time front office members were Fightins interns before becoming full-time employees with the organization.
Jenn Pirri, 22, has been brought on board as the team’s Tickets & New Media Manager following her time spent last season as a Public Relations and New Media Intern. In her new role, Pirri will manage the team’s social media accounts and e-mail marketing efforts while working alongside Executive Director of Tickets Mike Becker with season tickets and mini-plans. A native of East Greenville, Pirri is a graduate of the Perkiomen School and the University of Michigan, where she studied Communications.
Stephen Thomas, 22, will continue to oversee the team’s extra events and be a part of the game presentations as the Groups/Extra Events/Game Presentation Manager. In addition to his duties, the Warminster native and William Tennent alum will be working the Fightins Groups Office. Thomas interned in the front office in 2013 and 2014 while studying Business Administration at Albright College.
Bill Richards, 24, rounds out the members of the 2014 intern class now working in the front office. The Mohnton resident and Governor Mifflin grad has come aboard as a Groups Manager for the 2015 season after spending 2014 as a Box Office Intern and 2013 as a Front Office intern. Richards went to Lock Haven University where he has a degree in Sports Administration and a minor in Coaching.
After a season working as an account executive for Coca-Cola and hibu, Derek Lupia, 24, has returned to the Fightins, where he interned in 2013. A graduate of Muhlenberg High School, he will rejoin the team as a Groups Manager. Lupia earned a degree in Business from Lycoming College and currently resides in Reading.
In additional moves within the organization, Anthony Pignetti has been promoted to Director of Business Development, Jon Nally has been promoted to Assistant Director of Groups, and Tonya Petrunak will shift roles to Director of Marketing. Pignetti, a Point Park University alum and native of Rotterdam Junction, N.Y., will foster and create new partnership opportunities with corporate clients in his new role. As Director of Marketing, Petrunak, an Exeter Township resident and Slippery Rock grad, will oversee the Fightins’ advertising and in-house marketing efforts. Nally, a Wilson and Lock Haven University grad, will work alongside Director of Groups Jim Taipalus in managing the groups department and sales efforts during the 2015 season.
In Midland, Brad Golder is stepping down as the Voice of the Loons to pursue other opportunities.
“This was an extremely difficult decision for me but it was the right time to leave and pursue other opportunities,” Golder said. “I am so thankful for the Great Lakes Loons for believing in my abilities as a young broadcaster and giving me the forum to grow professionally.
“I am going to miss calling Loons games, interacting with our incredible fans and watching the future generation of Dodgers play at Dow Diamond, but I am looking forward to starting a new chapter of my life.”
He’ll remain with the team and ESPN 100.9-FM through the end of February to finish out the basketball season and to assist in the transition to his replacement.