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Curve announce 2016 front-office lineup

Altoona CurveThe Altoona Curve (Class AA; Eastern League) announced four additions to the team’s front office for the 2016 season: Mike Kessling, Trey Wilson, Michelle Gravert and Emily Rutzen.

Kessling, a native of State College and longtime resident of Altoona, came to the Curve in mid-June as the Director of Marketing and Promotions. He has vast marketing, promotional, and sales experience with Warners Innovative Solutions, Planet Ares Media, Go Time Productions/Snap Fitness and Forever Media. While a co-owner and marketing director for Warners Innovative Solutions, Kessling helped successfully launch the Secure-Connect product which helps keep electrical components plugged in with child-proof security.

“Mike got a baptism by fire in Minor League Baseball joining us in the middle of our season,” said Curve General Manager Rob Egan. “He’s handled the unique transition very well as he not only executed the marketing and promotional events that were already planned but also added to them with innovative ideas, enthusiasm and a fresh set of eyes.  Mike is looking forward to having a full ‘off-season’ to plan, develop, and market our ideas for 2016.”

Wilson, a Virginia native and graduate of Bluefield (Va.) College, started with the Curve in February in the seasonal position of Communications/Broadcasting Assistant. In late June, he was promoted to the full-time position of Communications and Broadcasting Manager. Wilson will be entering his fourth season in professional baseball in 2016. In addition to his work with the Curve in 2015, he was a Broadcasting & Media Relations Assistant with the Lansing Lugnuts (Low A; Midwest League) in 2014 and the Director of Media Relations & Broadcasting with the Bluefield Blue Jays (rookie; Appalachian League). Wilson has also served as the Assistant Director of New Media & Sports Information and lead broadcaster for Bluefield College (2010-2015) among his other professional credits.

“Trey has done an excellent job with our communications and broadcasting responsibilities since he began with us in February,” said Egan. “He was up to the challenge of becoming the manager of the department in late June and has generated a lot of great content for our website, social media channels, and blog in the relatively short time that he’s been here. He’s a solid broadcaster, knowledgeable about the game, and has a keen awareness of how to connect fans with our franchise and its activities on and off the field.”

Gravert began her position as the Curve’s Merchandise Manager on November 16. A graduate of Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, she has worked in professional baseball for each of the past five seasons. After completing an internship with the Princeton Rays (rookie; Appalachian League) in 2011, she spent three seasons (2012-2014) in the merchandise and community affairs departments of the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Low A; Midwest League). She managed both departments in 2013 and 2014 for the Hot Rods. Gravert returned to Princeton in 2015 as Operation Assistant.

“Michelle has several years of experience in minor league baseball with much of that time dedicated to the merchandise and retail operations of the teams for which she worked,” said Egan. “She’s well versed in MiLB’s retail licensing process and has already contributed some great ideas that will help build on our strong brand with a range of merchandise items from which our fans can choose.”

Rutzen begins her role today as Director of Creative Services for the Curve. A 2013 graduate of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida, she has worked in professional baseball for the past three seasons. In 2013, Rutzen was a broadcast assistant for the Jacksonville Suns (Class AA; Southern League). Then, in 2014, she was a video intern for the West Michigan Whitecaps (Low A; Midwest League). After two years of minor league experience, Rutzen returned to Florida as a video production intern for Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins.

“Emily has packed a lot of experience into her three seasons in baseball,” said Egan. “From her work on Jacksonville’s broadcasts, social media channels, and website, to all of the video production elements she fulfilled for West Michigan’s operation to the experience she gained working with the Marlins’ major league video department, Emily understands how to engage fans with the game both inside and outside of the ballpark.”

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