A group of students from UNE’s Department of Business were treated to a unique networking opportunity on Saturday, Feb. 19. The event, an “Industry Night” for students whose majors fall within the areas of business and sport management, was held at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland and featured a panel discussion with local recreation industry professionals and representatives from the city’s three minor league sports teams.
Sitting on the panel were Jenny Kordick, executive director of Maine Outdoor Brands; Adam Goldberg, vice president of business operations for the Maine Mariners; Lauren Gasaway, account executive, ticket sales, for the Portland Sea Dogs; and Nick Russo, account executive for the Maine Celtics.
At the discussion, held beside the arena’s ice rink, panelists advised students on building professional relationships and networking; how to land internships; the importance of writing thoughtful, clean resumes and cover letters; and to be creative and maintain a good work ethic.
“Relationships are so important in this industry, so, as you go out and make a career, you should build an understanding of where you’re applying to and go from there,” Goldberg told the students.
The panelists were joined by UNE alum Brandon Narciso ’21 (Sport and Recreation Management), now an account executive with the Maine Mariners, which is the National Hockey League Affiliate of the Boston Bruins.
As an account executive, Narciso oversees the development of new business as well as renewals for season tickets and group outings. He also assists with various game day operations to ensure guests have the best experience.
Narciso said events like the Industry Night are valuable for students, as they provide experiential learning opportunities that supplement classroom discussions.
Watch: Industry Night Highlights
“Learning activities like Industry Night are important because they allow you to not only hear what a job or career entails but also to visually see it in action,” he remarked. “I always enjoyed having guest speakers in class and learning about their journeys in the sports world, as it inspired me to pursue a career in sports. I felt grateful to be able to speak and share my experiences with UNE students at the panel, and I hope that I was able to inspire at least one student.”
Matt Place (Sport and Recreation Management, ’24) echoed Narciso’s sentiment and said the event was a good introduction to career readiness for a multitude of fields — not just professional sports.
“It was great to hear about Maine Outdoor Brands and the work they do with towns and companies to improve outdoor recreation in Maine,” Place said. “I want to focus on youth sports and recreation development, so this was a great opportunity for us, as Sport and Recreation Management students, to get our feet in the door.”
UNE has a longstanding relationship with the Maine Mariners. Along with Narciso, there are four additional Sport and Recreation Management alumni working in the team’s front office: Christian Dunbar ’21, Shannon Upton ’21, Sam Murray ’20, and Jordan Place ’08.
Additionally, Alden Weller ’21 (Sport and Recreation Management) plays as a defenseman on the team, and Kevin Stolki (Sport and Recreation Management, ’23) is currently an intern in sales.
“Being able to be meet people from all of Portland’s minor league teams as well as Maine Outdoor Brands was a tremendous opportunity for our students to network and understand what it is like to work in professional sports,” remarked Aimee Vlachos, Ed.D., CPRP, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Business, who organized the event. “The best part of the event for me was seeing our Sport Management alumni on the job, and I’m so impressed with their professionalism and excitement about the industry.”