What is your job title and responsibilities?
I am the CEO of DS Sports Ventures event division, which consists of RussMatt Baseball, Prospect Wire, and Greater Orlando Baseball. Russmatt is the largest collegiate baseball event in the country, with more than 350 teams coming to Central Florida every February and March. ProspectWire is a national High School Baseball & Softball Tournament and Showcase company that hosts around 200 tournaments and showcases annually throughout the country. Greater Orlando Baseball is a youth tournament baseball company that organizes over 70 events annually.
What was your first job in the industry?
After my baseball playing days ended, I coached at Rollins College (2004-2008) while earning my master’s degree from UCF Sports Business Management Program (2002-2004). After graduating from UCF, I worked for the Florida Collegiate Summer League (FCSL) as General Manager, Vice President, and President. I am still involved with the FCSL as the Commissioner of the league.
What aspect of your job do you like most?
My favorite part of working in the sports event business is seeing the event actually happening. I always take a step back and consider how many people are impacted by the event. I love allowing kids to become better players and get exposure to the next level. It makes all the hard work worth it.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I dreamed of being a Major League Baseball General Manager. I also loved coaching, leading to the Florida Collegiate Summer League. It was rewarding to impact so many players around the country, creating the opportunity to improve through the league and enhance their chance to move to the next level. The league has had over 500 players drafted, and 33 players make it to MLB, including guys like Jacob DeGrom, Jonathan Lucroy, Santiago Espinal, and many more. My experience there brought me to where I am now with DS Sports, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How did you get into this line of work?
Both of my parents were engineers at Lockheed Martin and encouraged me to go into a line of work I would enjoy. I have been in many different roles, but I have always wanted to be in a position where I could impact young people’s lives through sports.
Do you belong to any civic or volunteer organizations?
I am on the Board of Directors for the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, Florida Collegiate Summer League, Lake Mary Little League, and Seminole County Sports Hall of Fame.
What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far in your career?
Acquiring RussMatt, as it was our first acquisition under DS Sports Events.
How do you manage your daily tasks?
How do you stay on top of sports tourism industry trends?
I am a member of the Sunshine Sports Council. I also love Podcasts, Twitter and Newsletters.
How are you developing key partnerships in the marketplace?
I am involved in the Central Florida community, and I attend around ten conferences yearly. I always leave meeting someone new that could become an excellent partnership for one of our companies.
Who was your greatest mentor?
Many great coaches, Dr. Richard Lapchick and Dr. Bill Sutton from the UCF DeVos Graduate Program and Sara Whiting, who was the founding President of the Florida Collegiate Summer League. Sara spent so much time with me over the 10+ years I worked with her daily. I learned the importance of relationships, trust, and passion from each of my mentors.
What are the top 3 things you’d want to pass on as advice to a young, up-and-coming industry professional?
Focus on the things you can control. You will get out what you put in. Never let someone outwork you.
What are you most passionate about, and how did you get started?
My passion is making an impact on the next generation. I was so fortunate to have so many people that were great role models and spent so much time with me throughout the years that I owe it to the next generation to give back to them. I love coaching baseball and helping the next generation develop a love of the game.
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