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Personnel news: New Hampshire, Charleston, Omaha, Altoona, Traverse City

New Hampshire Fisher CatsWe have personnel news today from the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Charleston RiverDogs, Charleston Dirty Birds, Omaha Storm Chasers, Altoona Curve and Traverse City Pit Spitters.

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Double-A; Eastern League) named Michael Neis has been named the organization’s new General Manager. Neis joins the experienced executive leadership team and will focus on the team’s day-to-day business operations.

Neis returns to Manchester, where he began his career in professional sports as an Inside Sales Representative with the Manchester Monarchs (AHL). He also spent parts of seven seasons with the Oakland Athletics, most recently serving as the Director of Membership and Premium Services.

“I could not be more excited to join the Fisher Cats organization,” Neis said via press release. “From my time spent in Manchester, I appreciate how interwoven the team is into the fabric of the city and the entire state of New Hampshire. Stepping into this role is an immense privilege, and I look forward to working alongside a world-class staff, a vibrant and diverse business community, and the dedicated fans who make Fisher Cats baseball possible.”

In additional to professional baseball and hockey, Neis has experience in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks and the world of motorsports. He was the Director of Ticket Sales and Service for Michigan International Speedway and most recently the Regional Director of Sales for NASCAR.

“We are excited that Michael is joining the Fisher Cats family as our new General Manager,” Team President Mike Ramshaw said. “He has a notable amount of professional sports experience and will be a key addition to our leadership team. Michael stood out as the perfect person to lead our front office staff as we continue to grow and expand our organization. We are looking forward to collaborating on another successful season of Fisher Cats baseball at Delta Dental Stadium.”

The Brookfield, Wis., native graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a degree in sport management and is completing a master’s degree in sport management and analytics from American University. Neis will be moving back to the Granite State with his wife and one-year-old son.

Jeremy Taylor resumes his role as General Manager with the Charleston Dirty Birds. Taylor was the West Virginia Power’s General Manager in 2019, when the team was in affiliated ball–a status that changed in MLB’s downsizing of MiLB and led to the team moving to MLB Partner League Atlantic League. At that time Chuck Domino took over the reins of the Power–later rebranded the Dirty Birds–after the team was bought by Andy Shea. 

“The last three years in the baseball industry have been chaotic to say the least,” said Dirty Birds ownerAndy Shea. “The acquisition of the Power happened very quickly. I had known Chuck for several years, and he was available due to the circumstances in the industry so it was an easy decision to put the franchise in his hands at that time fully knowing that it wouldn’t be a long-term arrangement.” 

Taylor has been with the franchise for many years starting as an intern in 2004 at Watt Powell Park. A 1999 graduate of George Washington High School and a 2003 graduate of West Virginia Tech, Taylor has worked in every department for the franchise over his long tenure. 

“I quickly learned that whenever I needed an answer to anything that Jeremy either had the answer or knew someone that did. He knows the pulse of this tight-knit community and he has the respect of the staff,” Domino said via press release. “He understands the responsibility of the only professional team in Charleston and cares about the image of the Dirty Birds throughout Kanawha Valley. I am proud of what was accomplished the past two seasons and the momentum will no doubt continue with Andy Shea and Jeremy Taylor leading the way.” 

Two years later, Taylor will once again be the team’s General Manager and Chuck Domino will return to his consulting business. 

“Over the past two seasons as the franchise established a strong foothold in the community, I was able to appreciate the passion, dedication, and leadership of Jeremy Taylor. When Chuck informed me that this would be his last season, turning to Jeremy was another easy decision,” Shea said via press release. 

“I am truly honored for this opportunity,” Taylor said via press release. “The arrow is definitely pointing up for this franchise going into the 2023 season. Together, as a staff, we will work to keep that arrow pointing in that direction.” 

The Charleston RiverDogs (High-A; Sally League) announced several promotions and new hires to their front office staff. In the ticketing department, Emily Lemmon and Evan Courtney have been promoted to Senior Account Executives. The team has also hired Chase Garber as Operations Manager, Jalin Brown as Food Truck Manager, Lance Fletcher as Director of Club Sales/Events, Michael Lopes as Director of Marketing and Riley Hollar as Ticket Sales Associate.

“I am excited about these new additions to our staff and am confident each of them will make a positive impact to the team as we begin preparations for the 2023 campaign,” said RiverDogs President and General Manager Dave Echols vis press release. “With these hires, our operation is starting to return to where it was before the pandemic and that should put us in great position to build upon a successful 2022 season.”

Lemmon and Courtney each held the title of Account Executive prior to their promotions, which follow a record-breaking season for the RiverDogs ticket sales department. Lemmon joined the RiverDogs in 2020 after spending four years as the Director of Events and Sales at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. Courtney became part of the staff shortly after the conclusion of the 2021 season following three years with the Tennessee Smokies. Both will take on additional responsibilities in addition to ticket sales.

Garber earned a full-time role in the operations department after spending the 2022 season as a general intern with the RiverDogs.  He graduated from North Greenville University in the fall of 2021. Originally from Hagerstown, Maryland, Garber moved to the Holy City in 2015.

In his new role with the team, Brown can be seen throughout the Charleston area serving delicious food in the team’s new food truck. Jalin has been a part of the gameday staff since he was 15 years old. Prior to working for the RiverDogs, he attended many games at The Joe as a child.

Fletcher relocated to Charleston in June of 2021 where he served as Dual Director of Hotel Sales for a local hospitality company. He was previously a hospitality operations manager with a catering company exclusively in the racing world focusing on race teams and VIP clients. He also spent time in Naples, FL, where he served as the Director of Catering, Banquets and Events for a private country club. While there he received his IEPP, Wedding Planning and Luxury Wedding Planning certifications. Fletcher also holds a sommelier certification and a WSET level 1 certification. He holds a diploma in hospitality management and hospitality & tourism management.

Lopes was previously an Account Executive at Optimum Sports in New York City where he specialized in Olympics partnership strategy. The Freehold, New Jersey native brings diverse experience to the RiverDogs marketing team. He has held numerous creative marketing positions in collegiate athletics at Clemson and Wofford, youth sports, gaming, and sports & entertainment consulting, as well as sales positions for the New York Jets and Jersey Shore BlueClaws. Lopes received a master’s degree in Marketing from Clemson University, and a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management from SUNY Cortland.

Prior to joining the full-time staff, Hollar worked for the RiverDogs as a gameday intern in 2021 and returned as a full-time intern in 2022. Born and raised in Charleston attending RiverDogs games, she recently graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Sport and Entertainment Management.

Omaha Storm Chasers broadcaster Jake Eisenberg is moving on from the team to a new opportunity. Eisenberg spent part of the 2022 season filling in for the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals radio broadcasts in addition to his Storm Chasers duties.  

“We are thrilled for Jake and his new opportunity,” said team President Martie Cordaro via press release “He has been a tremendous asset to our broadcast these last two seasons and we appreciate all his efforts in calling the Storm Chasers action at home and on the road.”

“I’m so grateful to Gary Green and ownership, Chuck Domino, Martie Cordaro, & Laurie Schlender for giving me the opportunity to come to Omaha and be a part of the Chasers family,” said Eisenberg via press release. “Sharing these games with everyone has been an honor. Thank you for being so welcoming and for hanging out on the radio night after night, pitch after pitch. While I’ll miss being at Werner Park, I’m excited to share what’s next soon and equally excited about the future of the Storm Chasers’ broadcast booth. There’s no doubt that the next ‘Voice of the Storm Chasers’ will be someone that the Omaha metro will be excited to embrace and listen to for summers to come.”

An announcement of the 2023 Omaha Storm Chasers broadcaster will be made soon.

The Altoona Curve (Double-A Eastern League) announced several additions to their full-time staff including several promotions for current staff members.

Michelle Gravert is now Assistant General Manager, becoming the first woman to hold the title in the team’s franchise history. Gravert joined the Curve in November 2015 as the team’s Director of Merchandise where for the last seven years she has overseen The Stockyard Team Store and retail operations throughout the ballpark. In her role as Assistant General Manager, Gravert will continue to lead the team’s retail and branding operations while embracing a leadership role on the team’s staff by overseeing the team’s internship and staff training programs. Gravert hails from Davenport, Iowa and is entering her 12th season working in minor league baseball following her graduation from St. Ambrose University and stints as a member of the front office staff with Princeton Rays and Bowling Green Hot Rods.

“As we prepare for the 25th season of Curve baseball, we’ve assembled a close-knit group of hard-working and loyal employees for Curve baseball that will make this season the best one in team history!” said Curve GM Nate Bowen via press release.

Ryan Neely is now the Mascot Coordinator for the Curve. Neely joined the Curve in August of 2022 after working in mascot roles with the Washington Wild Things (2014-17) and Lexington Legends (2017-22) following his graduation from Trinity Area High School and attendance at Slippery Rock University where he studied Sport Management and performed as Rocky, the department’s mascot. Neely lists some of his favorite sports teams as the Kentucky Wildcats for football and basketball as well as the Atlanta Braves and New England Patriots.

In the Operations Department, the Curve welcomed Mackennon Watson during the 2022 season as Head Groundskeeper. An Altoona native, Watson joined the Curve after serving on the Grounds Crew for the Charlotte Knights (Triple-A, Chicago White Sox) while primarily working as a teacher at Queens Grant High School and before that at Summit Charter School. Watson attended Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, N.C. where he played baseball and ran Cross Country and Track & Field. Watson returns to Blair County where he also has served as an Assistant Baseball Coach at Altoona Area High School. The Curve are also pleased to welcome Louis Miller as the team’s Operations Assistant for the 2023 campaign. 

The Curve also welcomed Louis Miller as the Team’s Operations Assistant for the 2023 campaign as well as Will Lozinak. Known for his ability to contribute in all areas to the team’s operation, Will fulfills an important role for the club despite his fandom for the Baltimore Ravens. 

Logan Ulmer has joined the sales and service department as a Ticket Account Manager. Ulmer comes to the Curve after graduating from SUNY Oneonta where he earned a B.S. in Sport Management in May of 2022. Ulmer has previously served as a Gameday Operations Intern with the Binghamton Black Bears (FPHL) and grew up attending games at Mirabito Stadium, home of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Double-A, New York Mets).

Altoona is also pleased to welcome Jamie Skipper to the full-time staff as Director of Concessions, succeeding Glenn McComas. Skipper has 37 years of retail experience and 25 years of management including several seasons as a Stand Manager for the Curve. Away from the ballpark, Skipper has volunteered and sang for the Hollidaysburg Community Chorus and Hollidaysburg United Methodist Church Choir. Skipper is the proud owner of a 1972 Buick Skylark, where he enjoys cruising his wife of 27 years, Renee.

The Traverse City Pit Spitters (summer collegiate; Northwoods League) have named Houston native Jacqueline Holm as their new General Manager. Holm will become the second General Manager in Pit Spitters history as the club prepares for its 5th season in 2023.

Holm is no stranger to the industry of minor league baseball, most recently serving as the General Manager for the Quad City River Bandits (High-A; Midwest League) during their 2019 season. Following 2019, Holm has held leadership roles with the Scott County Family YMCA in Davenport Iowa and most recently led national event and tradeshow activities for a cutting-edge agriculture company based in Illinois.

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity,” said Holm via press release. “The combination of the West Michigan Whitecaps ownership group along with the fantastic Pit Spitters staff and this growing market makes this role an incredible career opportunity. I’m looking forward to engaging with this community, and team, and ramping up for my first season as a Pit Spitter in 2023”

In her new role as General Manager, Holm will oversee all aspects of the Pit Spitters operation.

Holm’s pro baseball track record in baseball began with the Sugar Land Skeeters, then an independent Atlantic League team, where she helped the Skeeters gain notoriety through a variety of high-profile promotions and landmark events. At the conclusion of the 2015 season with the Skeeters, she moved to Davenport, IA, to join the River Bandits where she held several leadership positions, finishing as the team’s General Manager for the 2019 season. While with the River Bandits Holm’s leadership saw the team transform their social media presence, substantially grow season ticket usage and retention, and win a Midwest League Championship, all of which garnered her a nomination for the Rawlings Midwest League Female Executive of the Year award in 2017. Outside of the ballpark Holm also helped extend the teams reach into the community through her board work with a number of nonprofit and community organizations, including serving as President of the Davenport Rotary.

“I am incredibly excited to see the energy and ideas that Jacqueline will bring to our organization,” said Whitecaps and Pit Spitters CEO and Managing Partner Joe Chamberlin via press release. “Jacqueline is a leader and innovator in this industry, and I am thrilled we were able to get her out of the corporate world and back into baseball.” When reflecting on how far the organization has come over its first four seasons of baseball, Chamberlin added, “the Traverse City region, and the Pit Spitters as a franchise, have worked very hard in recent years to evolve into a destination for a new generation of leaders and innovative talent, and Jacqueline is a great example of that. I can’t wait to see what she is able to accomplish both at the ballpark and in the community!” The Pit Spitters are set to welcome Holm to Traverse City next week.

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