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Countdown to Leadership Change

October 23, 2018

You always hear that working toward retirement is a goal we should all have. And while it is desirable to think of not having to go to work each day, it comes with some reservations. This past week four candidates were interviewed to become the next Executive Director at Rochester Sports. As part of the succession planning, we (the Rochester Sports Board of Directors and myself) worked out at the beginning of this year that I planned to step down at year's end. The plan is proceeding as intended.

However, leaving a position that you enjoy and feel is perfect for you becomes more difficult as it nears. I have proudly served as the only Executive Director our organization has had for the past sixteen years. We have been a leader in sports tourism in the state and nationally – twice earning the honor as “Sports Commission of the Year” by our peers at the National Association of Sports Commissions. Our team has also earned numerous other awards and honors – something I am extremely proud of.

The sports tourism industry has grown in leaps and bounds across the U.S. over the past few decades, and is now at $10.5 billion annually. It has been no different here in Rochester, as we have experienced an increase in the number of annual events from 16 to 102 (638% increase) and hotel rooms booked annually from 1,759 to 34,861 (1981% increase) from 2002 to 2017. The sports market is now becoming the most desired and dependable area of the tourism industry.

Sports tourism is now big business and has evolved to being more political and challenging than most could have ever imagined. People in power, who hold decisions on where their future events will be held, have numerous cities and organizations fighting for their product. It has become a sellers’ market! Rochester and Rochester Sports have a solid and credible track record in hosting sporting events. We also have great relationships and contacts that help us attract events to town. Hopefully the new leadership of our organization will maintain and grow those connections to assure we stay a leader in hosting quality events.

I am proud of the work our organization has done over the years to grow and adjust to the challenges of the sports market. With the new name (Rochester Sports replaced our previous name of Rochester Amateur Sports Commission last year) and new web-site being rolled out soon, the time is right for me to move on. The current staff, and board of directors, is talented, engaged and of high quality…sports in Rochester will continue to flourish.

I will miss the wonderful folks I have worked with, served for and succeeded with. And I will miss the fun and challenges associated with being a host of sporting events. The retirement goal is being reached, but not without some sadness of knowing you will miss the daily challenges this job provided. It has truly been an honor to lead this organization over the past sixteen years!

Upcoming Events:

November 2-4: OneHockey Tournament