Year of Graduation: 2014
Current Position: Equipment Manager for the Saint Paul Saints
Please give a brief description of your current position and where you are working: As the Head Equipment Manager/Clubhouse Manager, I am in charge of designing and ordering all of our team gear including hats, jackets, shirts, jerseys, and any other logo wear we need for the season. In addition, I order other gear, baseballs, locker name plates and various locker room goods. As for the clubhouse aspect, I am in charge of keeping it clean for our players and anyone who should visit or tour the locker room/clubhouse. Once the season begins, it's a lot of long hours and hard work, but the players all appreciate it and it is another way to recruit ballplayers to the club.
What path did you follow to consider getting a position in this area? I ended up with the Saints by chance. I worked four years as the CSB Hockey Manager and found out I really liked that type of sports work. After graduation I got a job with a local junior hockey team as their Equipment Manager and was looking to move up into something bigger and better. Last summer, with the opening of CHS Field, my family purchased season tickets; in passing, my dad asked who did the equipment for the Saints. I ended up speaking with the Clubhouse Manager which resulted in beginning to help out part time last summer for the home and away clubhouses. The Clubhouse Manager retired this season so I interviewed and was given the head position.
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career? I played baseball growing up and through high school so this was a sport I have always been a fan. I became interested in this line of work through my student employment job with the CSB Hockey Team that I eventually expanded to work for softball as well. These experiences showed that I could still work in the field of sports despite no longer being on the team itself. I can still be the person that everyone relies on even though I am not on the ice or field.
What skills are important for your field? Skills that are important in this field of work are organization, patience, ability to adapt, and a strong work ethic. Organization is important because you are working with ten to twelve different vendors obtaining different items and needing them at different times to be prepared for the season. In season you need to be able to pack and be prepared for any issues that could arise on the road; being able to find tools and supplies quickly and easily is a must. Patience comes in when dealing with players, vendors, and the staff. Not everyone will adapt to your system no matter how hard you try, so you need to have some tough skin and be able to handle problems when they arise without causing any sort of drama in the locker room. Going off of that the ability to adapt is key because sometimes you can't fix a player's gear exactly how it should be done, but you need to get them back on the ice or the field so being able to adapt and be handy is huge. Finally work ethic is probably the most important, especially in baseball and hockey. Players only see the locker room when it's clean and everyone's jersey is hanging in their stall. They don't always realize you were the only one in the stadium until 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. cleaning and running laundry for the next day. Being able to work through tough hours and get everyone ready for the next day, next game, or next trip, is incredibly important.
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career? I worked for both hockey and softball so the coaches in both were huge in helping me out by asking me to do little things they may have experienced in their own playing career. By doing this I can make the experience better for our athletes and in turn help the coach as a recruiting tool.
What advice do you have for students interested in your career? How can they learn more? This is a tough type of field to get into because jobs aren't often posted publically or only available to those who know. I found my first hockey job by emailing teams and just asking if they needed help. This type of career really brings the quote of "it's not what you know, but who you know" to life. It's how I ended up with the Saints and its more how the sports world runs. Anyone looking to get into this type of field can always contact me or even spend a few games down at the ball park to get a taste of how it works.