Archive for the ‘Olympics’ Category

2017Nov 15

A Creative Eye


Steve Lange, originally from Brighton, Ontario is a 1994 Sports Administration graduate who currently works at BaAM productions in Toronto. Steve has an impressive resume of brand, event and project management experience in the sport event industry. With this he has developed and delivered innovative world-class events and brand experiences which include multiple Olympic and Paralympic Games. Through his busy schedule he was able to give some insight into these various roles and experiences. He also took the time to offer some advice to future and current SPAD students.



KC: What is your current Career?

SL: As Vice President, Brand Experience at BaAM Productions in Toronto, I lead branding projects in the Sports and Entertainment field. From creative strategy to delivery operations, 1200px-PyeongChang_2018_Winter_Olympics.svgI help clients bring their brands to life in an event environment.Creating a powerful visual backdrop at an event delivers a unique and memorable brand experience for athletes, spectators and the broadcast audience.Most recently I oversaw the Games time branding for the 2017 Invictus Games held in Toronto and m currently working with the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics in South Korea.

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KC: What past experiences have led you to this?

SL: olympicsAt the 1996 Atlanta Olympic and Paralympic Games I held a role in the “Look of the Games” department. I was responsible for delivering the Olympic brand to the Swimming, 1996-Atlanta–Summer-Olympics-logoBoxing and Badminton venues. I learned and managed the process from design to production to installation. It was here that I realized my passion for connecting the creative process and making it happen on the delivery end. I’ve directed the “Look” program at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games and similar positions for numerous Olympic, Paralympic, Pan Am,Commonwealth, Canada and Invictus Games.


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KC: What brought you to SPAD?

SL: I’ve always been passionate about sports and had an interest in my business studies in high school. I was very fortunate to have a career councillor who identified SPAD as a potential fit for my future. Also, one of my coaches was a Laurentian grad who raved about the program and its opportunities. Seeing where some past graduates were working and the opportunity to get some practical experience in the Sports field through the internship program sealed it for me.

KC: How was your experience in the SPAD program?

SL: SPAD always felt like a family away from home. There was a work hard – play hard spirit that created a strong bond between classmates. The intensity of case studies such as presenting to the Montreal Canadiens were always challenging and rewarding. These learnings built the foundation for my career in Sports Administration. Many great memories and I am always proud to say I am a SPAD grad. This character is reflected today in SPAD’s well-connected alumni network.

KC: What internship experience did you gain during the program?

1993 SL: I secured a role with the 1993 Canada Summer Games in Kamloops, BC. It was an incredible chance to see behind the scenes and learn firsthand what goes into producing a multi-sport event. I really loved seeing the finished product as a result of all the collaborative efforts and how much it positively impacted the athletes and participants. I am extremely grateful for my internship opportunity and experience as it literally started my journey in the industry I have been so fortunate to forgo a career in.



KC: What did you learn through SPAD that still helps you with your job today?

SL: I remember the emphasis on group work. While the focus may have been on an area of study, the process of problem solving and working with different people was invaluable. In my career, I have lead many teams and have always worked as part of a larger team on complex projects. The collaborative nature of the SPAD program relates directly to most of my daily activities on the job today. 

KC: Do you have any advice for current and prospective students?

SL: Take advantage of any opportunity to gain practical experience, including the SPAD internship and even volunteering for organizations that interest you. Always be willing to take on any work asked of you, and by doing a good job, someone will take notice and good things will come of it. I still do some work with people I met during my internship, hence the importance of maintaining a positive network. Finally, enjoy what you do.

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SPAD would like to thank Steve for taking the time to speak to us about his past and current experiences. It is in part to these talented and successful alumni that make the program what it is today.


2014Feb 19

@LU_SPAD in Sochi!

SPAD Alumni, Jamie Howlett, is currently in Sochi working with the Canadian Olympic Committee. He has agreed to work with the blog to give us some insight on his experience at the games! Here is his first of two entries. Enjoy!

Jamie Making Appearing on TV

Jamie Appearing on TV!

Week 1 in Sochi (The First Four Weeks) By Jamie Howlett

First off, what an incredible first week for our Canadian Olympians! As it stands right now, our athletes have us two medals behind the total medal count lead heading full steam into the second half of the games.

For myself and others on our team, the Olympics in Sochi began four weeks ago. Our advanced team came in and immediately hit the ground running preparing and setting up the plans and policies that the Canadian Olympic Committee has been waiting to implement since Sochi was awarded the games 7 years ago. With 145 000 pounds of freight at our disposal, it was time to get to work and set up for our 600 team members working across ten venues in the Sochi area. Through rain (a lot of rain), late nights, and caffeine, all was ready for our 221 athletes representing Canada by their arrival.

On February 7th, from our lounge in the mountain village I watched the Opening Ceremony officially open the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games and my energy level spiked right up. It was time. We were finally going to see how all our hard work would pay off for Team Canada.

For these games I have been based out of the mountain village as our logistics officer, looking over of all the movements of our Olympic team, both people and the equipment needed to have them work/perform at their highest, to our 6 venues in the mountain cluster. Being able to work beside our team, team leaders, coaches, and athletes has been spectacular and hearing the positive feedback directly from those we strive to serve is extremely motivating (the constant winning of medals helps with that too) and gives us the boost to keep pushing through the entire time of competition

During my time in the mountains I was able to find the time and make my way over to the moguls course to experience our Men’s team take 3 of the top 4 spots in the world (and make my Olympic television debut). I will never forget that night, not only because of the history that was made, but while getting texts and tweets from everyone back home all I could think about was how powerful the Olympic Games can be. Having an entire country stop and watch sport for a couple of weeks and celebrate it as a nation is simply incredible. I feel privileged and proud to be part of the Olympics and helping Canada showcase its greatness to the world.

Until next week, stay classy SPAD.

Stay connected to the SPAD Blog on social media. Follow us at @LU_SPAD or like us on Facebook for all the latest updates

2012Oct 30

SPAD Professor Profile: Dana Ellis

By SPAD Blogger Cameron Brooks

This year the SPAD program welcomes its newest professor, Dana Ellis.  Dana is from Shelburne, Ontario, and has an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology (Western), masters in Human Kinetics (Ottawa), and is a big Manchester United fan. For her masters, Dana completed an internship with the Carleton University’s athletic department where she worked on sport marketing projects, and her PhD dissertation is on the topic of ambush marketing in the Olympic movement. I got the opportunity to catch up with Dana to talk to her about her time in SPAD so far.

Q: What caused you to want to be a university professor? What other careers did you want to pursue after you graduated?

A: I wanted to be a university professor because I enjoy all sides of a professor’s job. I enjoy teaching and being in the classroom interacting with students who have an interest in the same things as I do and who have as much to teach me as I do them. I also enjoy the whole research process from data collection and analysis, to writing. A career as a university professor which lets me combine these two things has always been my ideal profession, however, before beginning my PhD I did think about pursuing jobs in the area of sports marketing and sponsorship, particularly within mega-events.

Q: What do you think makes SPAD so unique from other programs, both at Laurentian and in Ontario?

A: The first reason I think SPAD is so unique is the nature of the program as the only sport management program which offers a business degree in Canada. I really like the opportunities offered to students through such elements as the consulting trip, the practical events course, and internships. The quality of faculty and students in the program is also a draw. The nature of the program as a pure sport management program ensures that the students who are coming into the program really want to be there, and have an interest in sport and sport management, just like I do. I also think SPAD is unique in the way it creates an atmosphere of family among the students and nurtures and values the long-term relationship it creates with alumni. Finally I appreciate SPAD’s professional approach to all aspects of a business education that starts from the first year. Focusing on details such as email etiquette, presentation skills, networking skills, dressing appropriately, and interacting with the corporate community in a professional manner. These things are too often overlooked and I love the fact that SPAD works so hard to ensure they are recognized as important.

Q: Which SPAD classes most interest you and represent the ones you would enjoy teaching?

A: I have been lucky enough that I am able to teach courses in some of my favourite subjects already this year, so that is great. In the future I would love to be involved in the field trip as it seems like a great experience. I am also interested in courses on event theory and maybe a course which focuses on sport brands or sponsorship if such courses were to be developed. I would also like to have more involvement in the ISM.

Q: How have you enjoyed your first two months as part of the SPAD family and how have you been received by students?

A: I have really enjoyed my time in SPAD so far. It really does feel like being part of a family. The students have all been great. They are extremely polite, helpful and enthusiastic. I enjoy when they just stop by to introduce themselves even if I’m not teaching them this term as I’ll likely be seeing them at some time throughout their career in SPAD.

Dana is currently teaching Sport Media and Communication to the third year SPAD students, among others later in the year.  Dana brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the classroom, and her attitude towards the SPAD brand is exactly what the students and professors want from her. We appreciate the time Professor Ellis took to speak with us and we look forward to watching her career with SPAD.

2012Oct 10

SPAD Student-Athlete Profile: Crystal Lee

By SPAD Blogger Brianne Pankoff

The SPAD Frosh Class of 2012 was lucky enough to include Crystal Lee, a former member of the Canadian National Aerial Skiing Team. I sat down with Crystal as she was able to share with us her experience of competing at the highest level of sport, and how, as an elite athlete, she ended up finding her way to SPAD.

Q: Tell us a little about your sport and your background in it.

A: I was on the National Team for Aerial Skiing. It is an Olympic sport, where the athletes launch themselves off 4 meter high jumps, do a couple or a few flips with some twists, and come in for a nice landing (hopefully). In 2010 I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to forerun at the Vancouver Olympics. My final year competing (2010/2011 season) I competed on my first full World Cup Circuit, making finals at all but one competition and going to places like Moscow, Russia, and Minsk, Belarus. I also qualified to compete at the World Championships in Park City, Utah the same season and finished 10th.

Q: How did you first get into aerial skiing? What made you keep going?

A: There was a recruitment program, funded by Own the Podium, finding acrobatic athletes to train in the sport aerials. With my background in competitive gymnastics, power tumbling and, at the time, trampoline, my coach for trampoline told me that this sport would be a potential good match. Originally, I dismissed the opportunity because I didn’t know how to ski. However, as curiosity got the best of me, I responded a week later and everything went from there. They sent me to Whistler to teach me to ski and by my second season ever on snow I was doing double flips. The moment that I got hooked on the sport was the first time I flipped on skis into water the summer of 2006. After that, the desire to keep testing my limits and seeing how far I could go fueled my drive.

Q: What was the best moment of your career?

A: It’s hard to pick just one. The experience as a whole I wouldn’t trade for the world. It would be a toss up between forerunning at the Vancouver Olympics and finishing 10th at the World Championships in Park City, Utah. The atmosphere in Vancouver was incredible, while the feeling of stomping my jumps in such a big competition and under stress in Park City is indescribable.

Q: You skied for several years before deciding to come to Laurentian, what did you learn from your time travelling and competing?

A: First thing I learned is to consider every opportunity no matter how far fetched. I can honestly say that a month before I got into aerials that I would have NEVER seen myself attempting the sport let alone being on the national team. I learned a lot about myself as a person from the experience as a whole. It’s an extreme sport that put me in extreme situations that I would never have gotten to experience otherwise.

Q: What made you want to go back to school, and more specifically come to SPAD?

A: I always knew I would go back to school at some point; it was just a matter of when. I was actually enrolled to start school for Kinesiology before I decided to join the aerial circus. As for SPAD, it wasn’t something I planned, more stumbled upon. I was looking around at the schools close to home and checking out their business programs. While looking into Laurentian’s Business program based out of Georgian College, I found out about SPAD by Christopher Zapalski. I was interested when he outlined the program to me, and I was sold after meeting with Ann, the Director of SPAD.

Q: How do you think being an athlete will help you in your future career as a sports administrator?

A: I learned a lot about work ethic as an athlete. You only get what you put in. Not to mention, while I was an athlete I was able to start building my network, which is extremely important in the business industry.

Thanks for your time Crystal and we wish you the best of luck as you transition from an athlete to a coach as well as your sports administration career!

2012Oct 9

SPAD Internship Profile: Jamie Howlett and the Olympic Games

By SPAD Blogger Benoit Roy

Jamie Howlett is a fourth-year SPAD student currently finishing his internship with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC).  Expecting to complete his internship entirely in Canada, Jamie received a phone call explaining that he was to report to London as a volunteer for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.  Jamie’s story happens to be very distinct and this is what Jamie had to say about his time with the COC and at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

Real world experience can be one of the greatest learning tools in a student’s education and through my internship at the Canadian Olympic Committee this statement couldn’t be truer.  Through my work in the Sport Department I have learned how much detail, organization, communication, and teamwork impacts everyday life in the sports business industry.  On a day-to-day basis leading up to the Games it was all hands on deck.  I was a part of our cargo shipments, developing transportation guides for our team, working on our sport federation contracts, and other logistical projects.  Just as I was ready to take time and breathe back home, while our team was across supporting our athletes in London, I had gotten a surprise phone call that I’ll never forget.

I was blessed with an offer to come over and join our village operations team for the Olympic Games.  Of course, it was an easy offer to accept and the next morning I was on a plane across the pond to be a part of Team Canada.  Working inside the athletes’ village, our team and I were responsible for making sure our athletes’ village experience allowed them to keep a high level of performance at the Games.  This included taking care of their transportation, living accommodations, village passes, and ensuring other needs were taken care of.  Despite all the work and long days it was a dream come true and worth every minute to work directly with our team and inside the village.

The knowledge, hands-on projects, and industry insight provided in our SPAD program is directly related to my opportunity with the COC and the success I’ve had with my internship.  SPAD and the amazing COC team have given me an internship experience that I know is hard to rival within the industry.  I am looking forward to my final months here in Ottawa and seeing the beautiful SPAD family come 2013.

After coming home from London, Jamie went right back to work on other projects as other opportunities have kept coming up.  He was responsible for managing several projects for the 2012 Celebration of Excellence and Hall of Fame Gala which took place in Ottawa and Toronto.  Jamie’s duties included the transportation of Olympians in Ottawa and logistics during and after the parade.  At the Gala, Jamie was able to mingle with the likes of Scott Niedermayer and Roberto Luongo in an event that raised more than $3 million for Canadian Olympic athletes.  Jamie will be finishing his internship in December of 2012 and is set to graduate next spring.  Be sure to follow Jamie on twitter (@_JamieHowlett_) to follow his story and his experiences working for the Canadian Olympic Committee.

2011Oct 5

To the Olympics and Back: The Story of Matthew Jackson SPAD’96

By SPAD Blogger Andy Leach

Nick Arruda SPAD'13 thanks Matthew Jackson SPAD'96 for sharing his experiences with students

On October 3rd, the SPAD students and professors were pleased to welcome 1996 graduate Matthew Jackson to the stage for a presentation about his experience as a major events consultant. In his early years, Mr. Jackson dreamed of working at the Olympic Games. It was this dream that led him to SPAD; the course that he believed would allow him to have the best shot at achieving these ambitious career goals. Once again, SPAD came through, and thanks to the internship program which Mr. Jackson now speaks so highly of, an internship with the Atlanta Olympic Games came into existence.

This was just the start of Jackson’s Olympic experiences, with his hard work and valuable networks allowing him to gain the relationships necessary for him to advance yet further still, even at his young age. Throughout the presentation, Jackson was sure to stress the “importance of personal relationships”, something that he admittedly underestimated the importance of during his time at Laurentian. It was these personal relationships that opened the door for the next step down his Olympic path; Sydney. It was here that Jackson was stationed for 3 years and where he was part of one of the most successful Olympics in modern history. From there, Mr. Jackson’s journey took him to the Salt Lake City Games, the Torino Games, and finally, the Vancouver Games in 2010. This is an exceptional chapter in his life and he now feels it is time to open up a new chapter, and with that, his career as a major events consultant was born. However, his Olympic connections do not end there, with two of his current projects being a consultant for the organizing committee for both the 2014 Sochi Games as well as the 2016 games held in Rio.

One of the concluding messages Jackson wished for the students to take away with them was to “know what you want and don’t be afraid to go after it… even if that means following another path”. He also encouraged the students to keep their eyes open towards the option of working in the events field for a career; one he feels is often overlooked. On behalf of the entire SPAD community we would like to once again thank Mr. Jackson for taking the time out of his schedule to speak with us, and we wish him all the best in this new chapter of his life.

2011Feb 23

SPAD Remembers the Golden Games: Vancouver 2010

One last look before the journey home

By: SPAD Blogger Brent Hurley

Just over a year ago on February 12TH, 2010 the 21st Olympic Winter Games began in Vancouver, British Columbia. This highly anticipated two week span would prove to be a culture changing and generation defining landmark in Canadian history. It was the first time the Olympics were returning since Calgary hosted the Winter Games in 1988, and Canada was ready!
While most of us were probably watching the opening day with family and/or friends in living rooms scattered across the nation, a van from Sudbury was tearing across this beautiful land with Vancouver in its sights. In true SPAD fashion, the van filled with Dana Bateman, Nicole Fraser, Reuben Greenspoon, and Shannon O’Reilly pulled out of LU immediately following a second year Accounting midterm and arrived in Van City just in time for the Opening Ceremony. They enjoyed a week of memories in BC, with special thanks going to SPAD alumni David Bedford who was the Canadian Olympic Committee’s (COC) Executive Director of Marketing and Communication for the Games, and also managed to help find a prime hotel for some of his former students.

SPAD Students at Canada House with Dave Bedford SPAd07

Besides the SPAD van, numerous other students made their way out to Vancouver to volunteer their services and expertise at this once in a lifetime event. Imran Gill volunteered for the entire Games at the main press centre and also was lucky enough to attend several hockey games, including a couple Canadian matches. Mike Latty and Vancouver’s own Alex Lea volunteered for a week at the mountain events, while also getting to attend a preliminary round hockey game. Olivia Instance, Michael Przybylowski, Lawren and Sean Carroll rounded out the SPAD students present in BC to take in some of the Olympic magic. Many alumni from across the years also attended the games and provided pictures and stories, so take a look in the SPAD Blog archives from February 2010 to see how SPAD covered the Olympics.
However, that opening day in Vancouver was anything but magical. The sole black mark on the Games came on that first day, when luger Nodar Kumaritashvili from Georgia died in a horrific crash during a training run. As athletes and fans mourned with the Georgians during this nightmare, a bright spot in the day was hopefully to come during the night’s Opening Ceremony. And while it was rich in Canadian history and traditions, the ceremony was highlighted by a malfunction with the Olympic cauldron’s “ice spiers” in BC Place. The very awkward moment seen around the world ended as Wayne Gretzky was transported to Jack Poole Plaza in the rain to light the official Olympic cauldron and cap off the ceremony. In one way or another, the 21ST Olympic Winter Games were officially underway.
While the opening day caused a stir for all the wrong reasons worldwide and even had Canadians wondering if we could recover to save our Games, the events got underway full force on day two. And as those events rolled along and those special Olympic moments began to unfold, the magic of the Games began to flood the nation. Canadians and our athletes seemed determined to overcome those opening day obstacles; refusing to let our Games be defined by problems. A sense of urgency swept across the country as the Games gained momentum and Canadians anticipated that first gold on home soil.

Freestyle skier and Turin Olympics gold medalist Jennifer Heil provided the first opportunity of triumph with a wicked final run in the women’s freestyle event. Sitting in first with only one skier to go, we all watched as American Hannah Kearney stole gold with an even more impressive run. However, the COC literally couldn’t have written a better script for Canada’s first home grown gold. The next night on February 14TH, 2010 who will ever forget watching Frédéric Bilodeau watch his younger brother, Alex, race and flip his way to the first ever gold medal won by a Canadian in Canada. Undoubtedly the most heart warming moment of the Games was seeing Alex rush over to hug his inspiration immediately after winning. Since then, Frédéric who suffers from cerebral palsy has become as big of a star as his golden brother.

2010Mar 4

Randy Pascal SPAD’85: In the News!!

Great article on SPAD Alumni Randy Pascal by his friend Ken Campbell who writes for the Hockey News:

Ken Campbell & Randy Pascal enjoy some hockey together

Here is an excerpt from the article:

By Ken Campbell 2010-02-27

VANCOUVER – When Randy Pascal and I were growing up, we dreamed of playing in the NHL. Hardly puts us in exclusive company.

But as is the case for the vast majority of kids, reality set in somewhere around our teens. Neither of us could skate or shoot or pass or do pretty much anything well enough to get out of house league, although we did have one helluva year playing alongside Marc Maisoneuve back in Bantam.

Randy’s father, Al, was once a prospect for the Chicago Blackhawks, so I’m not sure what his excuse is, but alas, our dream of taking part in the highest level of hockey died early.

Or not.

For the rest of Ken’s article visit the Hockey News. Thanks Ken for the great article and Randy – can’t wait to hear more about your time at the Olympics.

2010Mar 3

SPAD Students on LU Radio Thursday!!

SPAD at the Olympics

This Thursday SPAD students who attended or worked at the Olympic Games will be guests on “The Sports Hour” with Shawn & Steve on CKLU radio here at Laurentian University. Here is what Shawn and Steve has said about the upcoming show:

O CANADA! So the Olympics are over, and Canada walked away with 14 gold medals, and 2 new records. We definitely put on a brilliant show that people will be talking about for years. Congratulations to everyone around the games for making it a monumental success.

THIS THURSDAY, MARCH THE 4TH ON THE SPORTS HOUR, WE’LL HAVE SOME OF THEM IN STUDIO! We’re loading up the CKLU studio with Olympic goers, so that all of you loyal listeners can see the games from new perspectives. We all sat in front of the TV for 2 weeks, and enjoyed it as fans. This Thursday, you’ll hear what it was like to be behind the scenes at the games, making everything work. Then, you’ll hear what it was like being a fan right in the middle of it all, taking in the events. Last but not least, you’ll hear what it was like to experience a whole country come over by Olympic fever, after driving across most of it, just to be there. We have lots of guests, all in studio sharing their once-in-a-lifetime Olympic experiences. Be sure to tune in Thursday at 10AM, locally in Sudbury on 96.7 FM, and around the world at WWW.CKLU.CA !!!

2010Mar 2

Shawn Upson SPAD’95: Headed Home from Olympic Adventure

Shawn says goodbye to the Olympics

Shawn Upson has left the building – or should I say he has left the Olympics. He has posted some final stories on his blog and here is what was on his Twitter feed this morning:

Just waiting for my luggage, the kids are on the other side of that door waiting…c’mon bags, hurry up!!!

I can’t believe it really is all over, I’m surprisingly sad. Indian buffet is helping me cope with the sadness

It feels weird in the city, like a massive house party-everyone gone home and you’re left sitting alone on the couch saying “wow, now what?”

From Shawn’s blog:

Friday Feb 26: today is a sad day indeed. It’s my last bus ride to Whistler, for my final shift. Where did the last 15 days go? How can it feel like I’ve been here forever, yet at the same time wonder how the time flew by?

I decided this morning to make one final attempt to get into the Olympic Store at The Bay. Every time I’ve been there it’s at least an hour long lineup, even at 11 pm at night. There was a rumour going around that they were going to open 24 hrs for the final weekend, but that’s not the case. This morning was no different, huge line and I had to catch myfinal bus so time for a desperation move — use my creds to get past security, and it worked! Why didn’t I try that a week ago?