2013Feb 5

SPAD Interns Invade Georgia

georgia games logoBy SPAD Blogger Brianne Pankoff

This past summer five Sports Administration students travelled down to Atlanta, to help organize and run the Georgia State Games for their SPAD internships. The Georgia Games consisted of 42 different sport events from archery to rugby to lacrosse and track and field. Diane Ritskes, Jeff Tremblay, Adam Johnston, Kendra Lilly, and Jordan Kozak performed various duties in event management throughout the summer for the Games from May till August. These five students shared their experiences from their time in Atlanta working in the real sports business world.

Q: Why did you choose to apply to and go to Atlanta for the Georgia Games?

Diane: I really enjoy event management/sport operations, which is the field I hope to enter when I finish school, and through past interns and talking with Eric (our boss) I thought the GA Games would provide me with the most hands on experience. Compared to other, larger organizations, where you would be part of an event, the GA Games actually allowed interns to run an entire sporting event.

Q: What was your job title and what was your role at the Games?

Jeff: My job title was Track & Field Director for the Georgia Games. I was in charge of organizing and operating our youth and open/masters track & field championships which hosts approximately 900+ track athletes each year.

I was in charge of pretty much everything related to the meet including running the registration process for the 900+ athletes, handling all emails and phone calls pertaining to the event, acquiring sponsorships for the event (this was my favourite part), traveling to other meets in the surrounding area in the months of June & July to promote our track meet, recruiting officials & volunteers and planning all the logistics etc. The day of the event was also a great learning experience as I was in charge of an event that had roughly 1000 athletes, 2000 spectators and several vendors and sponsors. It was a great experience to be in charge and have to deal with situations that arise at events of this size.

Q: What did you learn from working at the Games and how did it prepare you for a career after Laurentian?

Kendra: Working at the Georgia Games was a phenomenal experience that allowed me to learn more about all aspects of event management. By being fully in charge of an entire event, I was responsible for marketing the event, gaining sponsorship, dealing with participants, securing a venue, and the implementation of the event on a very limited budget. This internship prepared me for a career after Laurentian by forcing me to deal with such a large responsibility, and therefore, improving my time management skills. I believe that the skills I gained from working at the Georgia Games will truly benefit me in any job in the future!

Q: How did what you have learned in SPAD help you in your duties in Atlanta?

Adam: The event management course taken in third year was the most applicable learning that was applied to my internship in Atlanta. The process of planning an event from beginning to end is one that gets easier as you complete more events. Although running the Grey Cup Party is different from running a sporting event, the elements of planning for the resources needed, having the proper people on your team and customer relations remain the same. The Championship Selling course was also very beneficial when trying to attract local companies to sponsor an event. In comparison to our co-workers in Atlanta from different sport management programs, I feel that the SPAD program has set its students up for success when completing their internships.

Q: As only a 2nd year student, did you experience any challenges? Do you think this experience will give you an advantage?

Jordan: As the only 2nd year student to go to Georgia, I was fortunate enough to learn a great deal about events in preparation for our 3rd year events class. I was able to apply many of the concepts discussed in second year sport marketing to the three events I directly oversaw.  The most important thing I learned during my time in Georgia was how to manage a deadline when working on an event. Currently, I am part of the committee responsible for running the 2013 SPAD Hockey Tournament. As an event that takes place during second semester, we have between three and four months to organize the event. In order to complete everything, I have learned that a sense of urgency is needed once a task is assigned, a lesson I can attribute to working at the Georgia State Games.

georgia gang

Some of the Georgia Games interns enjoying what little downtime they had. SPAD students are Adam Johnston (back row, second from right), Jeff Tremblay (back row, far right), Kendra Lilly (front row, third from right), Jordan Kozak (front row, second from right), and Diane Ritskes (taking the picture).

SPAD has become one of the the favourite programs of the Georgia State Games. Four years ago SPAD sent our first student to the Georgia State Games and, after rave reviews from the organization, they have recruited students each of the past three years. The organization has already started the process of looking for next year’s SPAD intern. Congratulations to the five students from this past summer and to all the SPAD interns who continue to show why SPAD is the best source of skilled sport business professionals and interns.

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