We have some personnel news to report today from the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Class AA; Southern League), MiLB and the Forest City Owls (summer collegiate; Coastal Plain League).
In Pensacola, Chuck Arnold is the new Sales Manager for the Blue Wahoos, with Michael Taylor the new Group Sales Executive and Courtney Griffith of Lawson Consulting the new Public Relations Consultant. Arnold and Taylor will report to Jonathan Griffith, Executive Vice President, and Courtney Griffith will report to Bruce Baldwin, President.
Arnold will focus on corporate sales and client services for the Blue Wahoos. He will seek to gain new partners, maintain current partners and create new ways for local companies to gain exposure in the Blue Wahoos experience.
Before taking this position, Arnold, a native of East Tennessee, attended Milligan College on a baseball scholarship and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Performance and Exercise Science. Following his time at Milligan, he attended East Tennessee State University and received a Master’s Degree in Sports and Leisure Management. He had a brief stint as an assistant baseball coach at King University before joining the Johnson City Cardinals (rookie; Appalachian League) as Assistant General Manager. After two seasons with the Cardinals, Arnold was promoted to General Manager and served in this role for the past eight years.
Taylor will work to grow the group sales business for the team. Duties will include selling birthday parties, the Field of Dreams experience, the ballpark’s all inclusive party decks and other group outings at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.
Before taking this position, Taylor worked as a trainee in the Wahoos Box Office during the 2013 season. While he was born in Texas, Taylor grew up in Pensacola and attended Booker T. Washington High School where he was a kicker on the football team. Following high school he attended Troy University on a football scholarship and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management. Many of Taylor’s football records still stand at Troy.
Griffith will manage the team’s off-the-field PR initiatives and assist with the team’s baseball media relations, including drafting press releases, creating the weekly e-newsletter, social media and writing content for BlueWahoos.com. She will also assist with the community relations, PR and marketing strategic objectives and calendars.
A graduate of Emerson College in Boston, MA, Griffith is the owner of Lawson Consulting and her client list also includes Margaritaville Hospitality Group and First Watch Restaurants. Prior to owning her own consulting business, Griffith was the Public and Community Relations Manager for the Gwinnett Braves (Class AAA; International League) under Baldwin. She held this position during the team’s inaugural season in Gwinnett and created the team’s charitable foundation and grant program. Griffith also held a similar position with the New Britain Rock Cats (Class AA; Eastern League) and previously managed the off-the-court PR for the Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA) and day-to-day PR for the Minnesota Lynx (WNBA).
Minor League Baseball announced today that Brian Sinclair, who joined Professional Baseball Umpire Corp. (PBUC) on a part-time basis in June, is now a full-time Field Evaluator/Instructor. Sinclair will observe, instruct and evaluate Minor League Baseball umpires throughout the 16 domestic-based leagues.
Sinclair, a native of Lakewood, Colo., worked nine years in Minor League Baseball with stops in the Pacific Coast (2010-12), Texas (2007-09), Florida State (2006), South Atlantic (2005), Northwest (2005) and Arizona (2004) Leagues. He also worked in the Venezuelan Winter League (2010), Arizona (2006-07) and Florida Instructional (2004-05) and Major League Baseball Spring Training (2011).
Sinclair currently resides in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife Stephanie, and daughter, Sophia.
Cory Dirksen, who had most recently been the Associate General Manager for UTEP/IMG, is the new General Manager of the Forest City Owls. Dirksen’s wife, Christina Dirksen, will join the team as Director of Group Sales.
“We are tremendously excited to bring someone into our organization like Cory,” said Managing Partner Jesse Cole. “His experience and knowledge of running franchises is second to none. We consider ourselves very lucky to have Cory and his wife, Christina as not only part of the Owls organization but part of the Forest City community. We are expecting big things from them this season and can’t wait until Opening Night.”
Dirksen spent the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons working for the Austin Toros, the NBA Development League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs. During his first season with the Toros, Dirksen doubled group sales and increased overall attendance by 500 per game en route to a league championship.
Prior to his time in Austin, Dirksen spent five seasons as the General Manager of the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings (independent; United League Baseball. While leading the franchise, the WhiteWings led the league in group sales, increased attendance every year and made three trips to the playoffs, including two to the championship series.
The WhiteWings are not the only team the veteran baseball executive has led. Dirksen spent time as the General Manager of the Windy City ThunderBolts (independent; Frontier League), where he turned around a struggling franchise. Previously, he spent time as the Director of Sales and Scouting for the Rockford RiverHawks (independent; Frontier League), where they led the league in group sales and won the league championship.
“Forest City has previously been one of the best organizations in the nation,” Dirksen said. “I want to give fans a reason to come back. We are going to create so much fun at the ballpark that a lot of the fans will leave with a smile not even knowing who won. I want to create the place for local companies, organizations and families to spend their summer. We are going to roll together a baseball game, a carnival and the county fair into one experience.”
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