Years as a Staff Member/Position(s) held: Golf Staff (2005)
Current Profession and Title: Senior Associate Athletics Director/ Assistant Vice President for Development, Purdue University
What have been your greatest personal and professional accomplishments? Or what is a goal that you are currently working toward?
My greatest personal accomplishment has been establishing a true relationship with Christ that has guided every aspect of my life since that time. I was slower to the faith than most, but everything started clicking for me personally and professionally when I made that shift. I am extremely thankful for and proud of my wife Jen and my daughters, Emerson (5) and Leah (3), on a personal level as well. They are all much prettier and smarter than me (More reason to be thankful!)
Professionally, I have been working towards the goal of becoming the athletics director at NC State (my alma mater) since before I ever showed up at Camp Sea Gull. Two of my colleagues, Chip Patterson and Hayes Permar, had mentioned recently how I spoke about that goal even back when we were counselors at Camp together. I feel as though I am on a great path to still obtain that goal because I`ve been blessed to work at some phenomenal institutions with some incredible people from who I have learned a tremendous amount.
How do the values or skills learned at Camp show up in your everyday work or personal life?
I think the biggest takeaway for me from Camp Sea Gull is understanding the value of setting standards and holding yourself accountable to them. The reason longstanding and reputable institutions earn those statuses is because they stay true to their core values. We live in a culture where people are constantly comparing themselves to others, but there is great value in staying true to yourself and what has brought you success. I remember thinking when I arrived at Camp that some of the traditions were possibly outdated, but I now realize that those traditions have built a culture that can stand the test of time. You`d much rather be an “old-fashioned” organization that lasts than a flash in a pan fad.
What person or situation influenced you most at Camp and why did they/it impact you?
This wasn`t a day-to-day impact as much as a life impact, but Jim Epps of the YMCA of the Triangle is the one who introduced me to Camp Sea Gull. Jim was great friends with my grandfather John Carbone, whom I adored, and I was looking for some direction at that point in my life because my grandfather was nearing the end of his life. Mr. Epps always spoke with such enthusiasm about not only Camp but truly about everything he endeavored to associate himself within life. I remember thinking that working at Camp would make my grandfather proud because of Jim`s pride. I can also say without hesitation that I try to have that same level of pride and enthusiasm about everything I do too. Life is too short to partake in things for the purpose of getting by or being average, and nothing truly great has ever been achieved without enthusiasm.
Tell us more about your role as a Senior Associate Athletics Director at the University of Purdue?
As succinctly as I can put it, I oversee Purdue’s Athletic booster Club: The John Purdue Club. I also sit on the senior staffs for both the Purdue Athletics Department and the Purdue University development office. My time gets divided between working with my teammates to develop the strategy behind our fundraising efforts, actively fundraising myself, and sitting in meetings where we make decisions that hopefully develop a culture of success for both the Purdue Athletics Department and the Development Office.
All of that being said, if I’m doing my job well, I’m spending all my time working to position those around me for success. Whether it be our coaches, student athletes, donors, or co-workers, everything I do has to be about doing whatever is necessary to make their Purdue athletics experience a great one.
What advice would you give someone interested in a career in college sports?
Working in sports is a lot like playing sports in that many folks want to do it until they realize it requires a lot of hard work and dedication, and that even then, very few folks get to be “stars”. You simply have to outwork your “competition” and do so with a great attitude that inspires those around you to do the same. It was said to me recently that the secret to success in our industry is always being someone that people want to help. When you break-in, you want senior leaders to help you up the ladder and when you ascend the ladder, you want younger staff to help you succeed by excelling in their roles. I think the best way to be someone people want to help is to be humble by always giving credit and accepting blame, to work as hard as anyone in the organization so as to avoid any doubt as to whether you deserve their help, and to be ethical in all you do. I`m quite sure this is applicable to all lines of work, though!
The last piece of advice I`d give is to always have fun. Sports are meant to be a source of enjoyment for fans, alumni, athletes etc. If the people who work in the space aren`t having fun, we are off to a terrible start!
Favorite Camp Food:
Brownie Sundaes. Not even close.
Favorite Camp memory?
Going to all-you-can-eat Pizza lunches at Little Italy with Henry Neese and friends on Lunch Leave.
Favorite Camp Activity:
Favorite college venue in sports?
The original Reynolds Coliseum
Favorite sports memory in your career?
Being a part of my first Army-Navy win
Cal Ripken Jr. I grew up a huge O`s fan, and I still to this day appreciate how he came to work and did his job every day for the same team. No complaining, no attention-grabbing, no excuses. He just brought it to the highest level every single night and was loyal to the same team for his entire career. He also played a huge role in saving baseball after the strike in the 90`s.