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Personnel news: Tennessee, Joliet, Wisconsin Rapids

Tennesee SmokiesWe have personnel news today from the Tennessee Smokies (Double-A South), Joliet Slammers (Frontier League) and Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (Northwoods League).

For the Smokies and Boyd Sports, Paul Makres is now Director of Finance. Makres brings over 30 years of experience in accounting, finance, and joint-venture environments, previously working for businesses such as Coca-Cola, and DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products.

“We are pleased to welcome Paul to the Boyd Sports team,” said Boyd Sports CEO Doug Kirchhofer via press release. “He is a talented professional whose broad base of career experience in financial management will be very valuable as Boyd Sports continues to evolve and grow.” 

A Knoxville native, Makres graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor of science degree in Finance. He has been married for 25 years to his wife Angie and have three children together, daughters Stevie and Danni, and son Brock.

“The Tennessee Smokies and Boyd Sports provide a great family environment to be a part of,” said Makres via press release. “This is a great team to have the privilege to work for.”

In Joliet, Heather Mills is the new Chief Financial Officer, overseeing all budgeting and financial aspects of the organization. Her responsibilities will also include ticketing operations, merchandising, and overseeing our Food and Beverage operations. She has been with the team since 2013 and General Manager since 2016

John Wilson, who was hired as the Vice President of Sales & Marketing in the fall of 2018, will become the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations/Chief Revenue Officer. He will oversee all revenue generation activities, as well as both baseball and ballpark operations.

Lauren Rhodes, who most recently served as Director of Ticket Sales, and who has been with the team since 2016, becomes the Assistant General Manager. She will oversee all ballpark rentals, ticket sales, and ticket sales staff.

Tom Fremarek, who has been the Director of Food & Beverage since 2014, retired at the end of the 2021 season. Replacing him will be Doug Clements, who most recently served as Director of Food & Beverage for the Kane County Cougars (American Association) and has previous experience at Arlington International Racecourse and in the NFL.

“Heather and John have been extremely important leaders for the ballclub and I am happy to recognize their many contributions to the Slammers both on and off the field” said majority owner Nick Semaca via press release. “We thank Tom for eight great years and wish him the best in his retirement, and we are excited to have landed a terrific new head of Food and Beverage in Doug Clements”.

Rachael Leystra joins the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters as Marketing and Inside Sales Manager, working with Nine-Game Pack holders and groups. She will also oversee the promotional team in order to provide a unique ballpark experience.

Leystra joins the Rafyers after completing a Marketing and Promotions internship with the Eau Claire Express (Northwoods League) during the 2021 season. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a double major in Hotel, Restaurant, Tourism Management and Golf Enterprise Management. She also minored in Spanish, which provided her the opportunity to study abroad in Mexico.

“I’m very excited to be taking on this new role with the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters,” she said via press release. “I can’t wait for this upcoming season and to be officially a part of the Cranberry Crazies.”

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