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 - January 8, 2008
VP, Sales and Guest Experience; Phoenix Suns, RoadRunners and Mercury
The second question for NBA Job Fair candidates is to answer in your application how you possess persistence in the face of obstacles. NBA Teams and many of our clients greatly value the individual who faced huge obstacles and found a path to success in spite of those obstacles. Here's Drew's story.
I met Drew in Cleveland. He is a good friend with one of my former employees,Chad Estis, now Vice President of Sales and Marketing with the Dallas Cowboys. They both went to Ohio University. But Chad somehow was intent on differentiating his degree from Drew's. Drew graduated with a bachelor's in sports industry and a masters in athletic administration degree from Ohio University's College of Health and Human Services. I was confused. I really didn't understand that a university could give essentially the same degree from different segments of their school of Health, Physical Education and Recreation Program. It was a parallel track in sports management, they both said.
Drew came from Pittsburgh. Not a bad pedigree! Some fantastic sports marketing executives came from Pittsburgh -- Len Komoroski and Dr. Bill Sutton to name a couple. Drew played a number of sports in high school -- basketball and baseball, most notably and was recognized with All-City honors as a third baseman his senior year in high school. He was a solid baseball player and thought he could walk on to Ohio University's baseball team. He didn't make it. He then "auditioned" for the Ohio University's nationally renowned sports management program, and there too, he didn't make it. He accepted a Masters of Sport Sciences degree.
Out of college, Drew was offered a position as Special Events Coordinator for Major League Baseball Players Alumni in St. Petersburg, Florida. Baseball. He got to go to the pros... in the business sector of sports. This was a good track, he thought! He then joined the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, professional baseball team, in ticket sales and rose through Assistant Manager of Group Sales, Manager of Ticket Sales and then transitioned over into the enviable position of corporate sales. He jumped to a dot com in 2000 and worked for the MLS Tampa Bay Mutiny as a Director of Corporate Sales for a couple of years. The team folded, and Drew's career was off-track.
He toyed with the thought of pharmaceutical sales. He thought about leaving sports for good. He was derailed. He had been traveling an uncomfortable parallel track to the one he had wanted since college. He just couldn't get with the right organization or the right job. And over his shoulder he viewed his college roommate, Chad Estis, who was scoring great jobs. Drew sought advice. Chad convinced him to come to the NBA Job Fair in Indianapolis in 2002.
"The NBA job fair really changed my life. I came in as an experienced candidate. And I was surprised that even though there were a lot of entry level jobs, it was helpful to meet a few senior executives and find there was a good mid-management job for me at the Phoenix Suns under John Walker. I had forgotten that ticket sales provided me a far greater opportunity to lead, and that was more my strength. I really didn't know how great the opportunity was here in Phoenix until I got here. And then I had a chance to come back to the NBA job fair and interview candidates. I knew what it was like to be a candidate, and so I paid attention to spending the most time I could with each individual."
As the team was building its star performers on the court, Rick Welts, the team's president was building stars and leaders in the front office. Drew was one of those people. Drew's been promoted. And the Phoenix Suns have been one of the most popular teams among job fair candidates. If you get into the NBA job fair, go talk to Drew. He knows how important the NBA job fair is in changing one's life. He's now on the right track.
- Buffy Filippell
"What impressed me the most about Drew when I met him at the job fair is that he wanted to be successful. I was excited to meet someone with that drive and persistence and if someone had an opportunity Drew would make everyone look good. For the Suns to hire Drew was one of the best decisions I was involved in during my time employed by the NBA."
--Dr. Bill Sutton, Professor DeVos Sport Business Program, UCF
What I do...
Drew's responsibility has grown from managing Suns ticket sales when he started to now managing Suns/Mercury/RoadRunners/USAC ticket and suite sales, as well as retention efforts.
HOW I GOT HERE...
PHOENIX SUNS; Phoenix, AZ; 2002-Present
Vice President, Sales & Guest Experience
Sr Director, Ticket Sales & Service
Director, Ticket Sales
TAMPA BAY MUTINY; Tampa, FL; 2000-2002
Director, Corporate Partnerships
CITYSPREE.COM; Tampa, FL; 2000
Account Manager/Sports Marketing
TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS; St. Petersburg, FL; 1997-2000
Account Executive, Corporate Sales
Manager, Ticket Sales
Manager, Sales Operations
Asst Manager, Group Sales
Account Executive (Season, Group, Ad Sales)
Sales Consultant (telemarketer)
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS ALUMNI; St. Petersburg, FL; 1995-1997
Special Events Coordinator
INTERNATIONAL SPORTS MARKETING; Pittsburgh, PA; 1993-1995
OHIO UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC DEPT; Athens, OH; 1992-93
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS; Pittsburgh, PA; 1992-93