Mentor Spotlight: Russ Yurk

 Posted on: March 27 2020
From two Olympics to the NCAA and state games, event planning his Russ Yurk’s specialty. Along with being a great Sports ETA mentor, Russ is the president of 129 Sports LLC. His company provides world-class event planning and project management to clients. Russ leads the NCAA Championships host bid process. He’s also planning a U-18 world championship for USA Baseball in 2021. On the side, he’s the commissioner of the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. They are a Division I/II conference that receives one of five automatic bids into the NCAA tournament. After working at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Russ hopes to work on one more summer Olympics before he retires saying, “there is nothing better. International events are an amazing experience.” Russ speaks to groups about his experience in event planning and when he does, he asks this ice-breaker question- if you could attend any s...

Mentor Spotlight: Casey Taker

 Posted on: March 19 2020
Casey Taker’s bucket list: Working in an industry she loves - COMPLETE Going on the field at a Super Bowl - COMPLETE Completing an IRONMAN 70.3 with her father - COMPLETE Visiting Alaska to complete her goal of visiting all 50 states This Sports ETA mentor has done something many will never attempt- Casey Taker completed an IRONMAN 70.3. She and her father crossed that finish line together in Maine last year. Casey works at The IRONMAN Group as Senior Manager, Athlete Development. There she develops strategy and programming to support the entire athlete journey from initial engagement to athlete retention across two of their largest brands, IRONMAN and the Rock N Roll Marathon Series. In her current role, Casey has become well versed in: Creating opportunities for athletes to engage deeper with both a brand and a host destination. This synergy is imperative to maximize the athlete experience and retain athletes.  Defining the athlete ...

Mentor Spotlight: Tyler Childs

 Posted on: March 12 2020
For Tyler Childs, the phrase ‘young at heart’ is all too true. Sports are his life- when he’s not working, he’s playing them. Golf in the summer, curling in the winter, and baseball all in between. He jokes that people say he needs to take it easy and slow down. He laughs it off every time. “I am told regularly I'm too old for the sports that I play. I tell them I'm part of the youth movement,” says Childs. As President and CEO of Sport-Travel, Childs’ primary responsibilities are to lead their team while executing on our short and long-term strategic plans. “Although 'responsibilities' is the right word to describe the tasks and expectations of my role I view them as my privileges and opportunity to make our industry a little stronger each and every day,” Childs says. “I don't believe I am done learning and I take each day as an opportunity to grow and better myself and our team.” At Spor...

Giving Back to the Next Generation

 Posted on: March 11 2020
HELP! Have you ever just blurted this out in the middle of everything?  I know I have, multiple times. If you’re a rights holder, an event organizer, or even a supplier, you have mastered the art of being an excellent multi-tasker, or have you? With so many deadlines and multiple projects going on around you, you are working around the clock.  You have your hands in everything such as site selections, contract negotiations, building the registration platform, marketing, room block monitoring, food & beverage selection, onsite registration, room set up, and speakers, the list is endless. Who does all that work?  The answer is usually one person does it all. Have you ever thought about forming a “Study Abroad” internship program? Well, it is a pretty simple process, as long as you find the right partner who is willing to help you every step of the way. In fact, many of the accredited universities have a study abroad program and are willing to hold ...

Being a Working Mom is Fun – Make it That Way!

 Posted on: March 10 2020
More than ever, today's business climate is transitioning from being male-dominated to embracing equality. Even as a woman, and a mom at that, embracing this is not easy – mom guilt is real. I cannot count how many times I have been asked why I work or have been told I am missing out on my toddler’s childhood. These people could not be more wrong and out of date. Just look at the sports world in today’s society! The thing is, even science can back me up. Research shows mothers who work have long-lasting, positive effects on their kids that go all the way into adulthood. Maybe this shows them that being a parent and working embrace having responsibilities by providing for the ones they love! Being a woman in the sports industry – I can be up against some stigmas sometimes. I adore my job and I know I am good at what I do. But, it doesn’t help that sometimes it can be harder for me to be taken seriously or move up. I have definitely heard jokes on &ld...

Mentor Spotlight: Ariana Tyler

 Posted on: March 5 2020
While it’s months away, chances are that Ariana Tyler has the date marked on her calendar for the football tailgating season to come back. Ariana says that her favorite time out of the whole year is, “Saturday afternoon in September or October, because it means football and tailgating.” As a die-hard Michigan State fan, Ariana’s favorite sports memory was going to the Rose Bowl with her father in 2014 and watching her Spartans steal the win from Stanford in the last minute of the game. For Ariana Tyler, the sport event industry is about giving people a life-long memory. She enjoys meeting peers from across the country and building relationships within the industry. “Learning from others has truly helped me be a better event planner and provide that next level of servicing to our clients,” says Tyler. “Plus, it’s always fun to hear what cool things other cities are doing!” As an Events Manager for the Greater Columbus Spo...

Mentor Spotlight: Cole Lacey

 Posted on: February 20 2020
If Cole isn’t relaxing on a boat with his friends and family, you can be sure he’s networking until you know the name of Wicomico County, Maryland. Cole works to connect with peers and colleagues to help bring big scale events to a small market. “I focus on strengthening and growing my professional network not only locally, with facilities and various organizations, but nationally with colleagues and event organizers,” said Cole Lacey. Cole was recently promoted to Assistant Tourism Manager at Wicomico County Recreation, Parks & Tourism/TEAM Maryland. His main focus is on bringing new business to Wicomico County including developing proposals and budgets for events with the goal to grow economic impact. Additionally, Cole assists event organizers with logistics and management including facility set up and volunteer/ staffing needs. If there is one thing to take pride in working in sport tourism and events, its recognizing the impact that one single ...

Mentor Spotlight: Mike Sharpe

 Posted on: February 18 2020
A dream came true for Mike Sharpe just a few weeks ago- his hometown team won the Super Bowl! Not only that, he had a hand in planning the celebration parade for the Kansas City Chiefs. And while celebrating this momentous occasion, the Sharpe family found one of the biggest Kansas City fans around- actor Paul Rudd. This dream didn’t happen overnight for Sports ETA mentor Mike Sharpe. He’s been in the sports industry for almost 30 years. Now he works at the Director of Business Development for the Kansas City Sports Commission & Foundation. Some of Mike’s responsibilities include overseeing all facets of national event procurement for the organization. As well as handling governmental affairs at the city, county, and state levels. If there is one thing that has remained constant through Mike’s career has been leadership. He has spent the last three decades working his way up from student manager, to head coach, to Athletic Director, to an Assistant ...

Mentor Spotlight: Josh Akright

 Posted on: February 17 2020
Josh Akright loves sports. Not only has he found a career in the sports industry, but sports is a hobby of his and his two sons. In his free time, you can find Josh either playing sports or coaching his sons’ travel hockey team. “Watching my sons have success playing sports and the exhilaration in their faces, that’s my favorite,” said Akright. Josh is the Vice President at Pse Event Housing and a Sports ETA Mentor. The company handles all the housing details for tournaments and events from beginning to end. As you can imagine, Josh is well versed in event management, but his responsibilities also include acquisitions, business development, fiance, sales and strategy. “The people are incredible. The highs and lows of the event management business and watching something come together from the grassroots beginning to last out or play that end the event,” Akright added. “I’ve been able to travel much of the country, meet incredible ...

Sports ETA Symposium is fast approaching! Have you registered? We Have!

 Posted on: January 28 2020   Posted by: Tammy Dunn
My staff and I are excited about attending the 2020 Sports ETA Symposium on April 20-23 in Kansas City. We are looking for some KC hospitality- the KC BBQ experience, distilleries & craft breweries, and exciting sports scene!   If you haven’t registered for the Symposium yet, here are some important dates for you to mark on your calendar: March 1st - Registration Deadline, Appointments cannot be guaranteed if not registered by March 1, 2020 March 13th - One-on-One Appointment Portal Opens April 3rd - One-on-One Appointment Portal Closes April 10th - Schedules Distributed Don’t delay in registering yourself and others from your organization for the Symposium. The Symposium offers a variety of education sessions, networking opportunities, and appointments with event rights holders. It’s the Sports Tourism Conference to attend in the spring. Will this year’s Symposium be your first? Join us for the First-Time Attendee Orientation on ...
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