Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.
Spotlight - April 7, 2008
President, Commercial Division, Indy Racing League
"And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends"
- Colors of the Wind
We were driving down 10th street in his SUV and Terry smiled. He was reminiscing.Every corner reminded him of one silly incident after another while he was at Indiana University nearly 30 years ago. You could sense he had had such confidence in his future. Although classmates, I hadn't known him then. Peering through that same front car window, I looked at those same corners and wished I had been as carefree and confident then. Here we were now, though, in B-town, together again.
I don't know why some people keep popping up in my life. Terry is one of those whose life has intersected mine many times. I met Terry nearly 30 years ago. And my earliest memorable time was the time we shared in Phoenix at John Gardiner's Tennis Ranch. We were play-testing a new tennis product design for Wilson Sporting Goods and Phoenix was Terry's sales territory. I had played college tennis and Terry had picked it up later in life. He seemed much more adept and at ease than many of the varsity men I had practiced with! Or was it the racquet? We both loved tennis and worked in it for years. We kept in touch a bit infrequently, but I knew he had held several sales management roles at a couple of sporting goods companies before becoming the President of Fila's North American operations and then a Chief Operating Officer of a major sales promotion business called Cyrk. About 8 years ago, he phoned me from Massachusetts and we reconnected. He said that he had wanted a job in Indianapolis. His teenage daughter was nearing college age and he wanted her to go to Indiana University on in-state tuition. Terry could definitely afford the out of state tuition, but being a born and bred Hoosier, I think he wanted his daughter to be an in-stater, just as he had been. Well, what career magic could I summon? In the ensuing days, somehow I unleashed a freight train of serendipity to follow; destiny. The timing was right. He fit a need with my client at the time, the Indianapolis 500. Terry has been on staff for eight years and was recently named President, Commercial Division of the Indy Racing League. I'm proud of him!
Terry speaks fondly of his boss, Tony George. In my teenage years, my grandfather was close to Tony's grandfather, Tony Hulman. I once drove the Speedway and flew in Tony's grandfather's private plane. Then years after Tony Hulman and my grandfather's death, I felt my grandfather's spirit lift when Tony George and I first met to discuss my recruiting executives for him. Here we were, the next generation doing business together. Were our grandfathers manipulating this from above?
When Terry joined the staff at the Indianapolis 500, I reconnected him with the IU business school board. Neither one of us had graduated from it. Somehow they had asked me to serve - I couldn't even get into the business school because my math skills were deficient and over the years haven't gotten much better - and for Terry, the career center helped him land his first job with Wilson Sporting Goods. The business school board embraced both of us and for the past number of years we've been regulars in advising business school graduates on the nuances of the sports business.
On the ride down to Bloomington from Indianapolis, Terry spoke about his daughter, now an Indiana University graduate. In a stunning coincidence, she's soon to marry the son of his best grade school buddy. The buddy's son reconnected with Terry's daughter, his future bride, at Indiana University! So, I reflected, was I merely a facilitator in a series of events that had been pre-destined?
Yes, I believe we are all connected to each other. And, whatever my role woven through free will or some higher power, whether as a passenger or the driver, it's the people in the sports business, like Terry, that I'm grateful have encircled my life.
- Buffy Filippell
"Buffy and Terry go to school in Indiana; I work with Terry in Massachusetts; I work with Buffy in Cleveland; I suggest Terry to Buffy; and Buffy and Terry come together back through Indiana. One giant circle, right?"
--Jennifer Proud Mearns, former partner with Buffy at TeamWork Consulting.
What I do...
As president of the commercial division, Terry has responsibility for sales, marketing, public relations, broadcast relationships, business planning and development, and organizational operation of the IndyCar Series which has now merged with Champ Car. He and Brian Barnhart, President of Competition and Operations, jointly focus on promoter relations, venue selection and communications.
HOW I GOT HERE...
IRL/IMS; Indianapollis, IN; 2000-present
President, Commercial Division, Indy Racing League
Vice President, IMS Marketing
Assistant Vice President; IMS Marketing
Executive Vice President
KAEPA ATHLETIC FOOTWEAR;San Antonio,TX;
1986-1987; VP Sales
FILA SPORTS,INC;San Carlos,CA;1981-1986
National Sales Manager
National Sales Manager/Marketing Manager
WILSON SPORTING GOODS CO;River Grove,IL, 1976-1979
Sales Representative/Ast District Sales Mgr.