Students network with sporting professionals

Sports and recreation management majors were treated to a networking event held at the clubhouse within the Arena at the Don Taft University Center during the men’s and women’s basketball games against Eckerd College on Feb. 6.

Hosted by H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship Professors Jeff Fountain, Peter Finley and Nancy Olson, the event was its second annual and aimed to bring students and sporting professionals together in a casual setting.

Fountain said, “Events like this serve to help students to begin to network with each other and with those in the industry.”

This year’s event drew a diverse group of approximately 15 sports and recreation management majors, who spoke with professionals in the industry they study.

“We ask a lot of our alumni to come to events like this,” Fountain said. “Many of them are on our advisory board and I teach that networking is important in this business, and it’s sometimes who you know that could get your foot in the door. Hopefully, more of our alumni can come back and share some of their stories with current students.”

Class of 2012 alumnus James Turner now works at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., which the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals use for spring training.

He said, “I graduated last year and it’s important to talk to people to get to know how it’s like in this industry, because networking is almost all of this business. It’s about forming relationships.”

Other professionals in attendance included John Valek, a producer with Fox Sports Florida; Anthony Jabara, the sales director for the Florida Panthers; Bill Galante, senior vice president of operations for the Miami Dolphins; and Michael Mominey, director of NSU Athletics.

For some sports and recreation management students, this event was something they couldn’t pass up.

“It’s a great opportunity to get to know a lot of people with experience,” said Guido Riffeser, sophomore and international student.

Freshman Becca Barb said, “It definitely gives us people to meet and communicate with, so if we need a job, we know who to go to, we know what they have been through and how to get there. So hopefully, they can help us.”

According to Fountain, more networking sports and recreation management networking events are being planned for the coming months

Michael Villegas, freshman, said, “Networking in the major and in this business is very important. I think it’s all about who you know, so this gives us a chance to rub elbows and mingle with very important people in the business.”

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