Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Volunteering with Wolfpack Sports Properties (November 15)

Trying to stay warm before the game starts
We again had an awesome opportunity for several of our academy freshmen and sophomores to help out at an NC State football game this past weekend. Jim Moran of Wolfpack Sports Properties tasked us with distributing hand warmers, provided by game sponsor Kangaroo Express, to fans as they entered the gates. They were definitely appreciated on such a chilly day!

Mr. Moran shared with us some more insight on careers in the sports marketing field, including the likely necessity of working your way up from an internship position and the importance of making sure to get everything right in a game-day situation, where you typically only have one shot to execute a promotion.

Fortunately, the results on the field were much better as the Wolfpack won 42-13, and we also got to see a great halftime show for Military Appreciation Day, which featured a field-size American flag and NC State Pipe and Drums joining the marching band.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Volunteering with Wolfpack Sports Properties (November 8)

Some of the group enjoying the game after their work was done
Several members of our freshman and sophomore classes had a great opportunity to volunteer before the NC State football homecoming game at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday. Our host (and academy advisory board member) Jim Moran, an account executive at Wolfpack Sports Properties, arranged for us to help at the gates with the distribution of free chapstick, provided by game sponsor Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. Besides learning that people really like free chapstick, we got a great overview of from Mr. Moran and sponsorship coordinator Kristin Hoenig on their responsibilities and the sharing of inventory between the university, the Wolfpack Club, and Wolfpack Sports Properties.

Getting an awesome look at the field-level action

Not a bad spot to watch the game
After completing our duties just before kickoff, we were able to settle in and watch the game. We also got some insight from Mr. Moran into what goes on behind the scenes of their in-game promotional activities, like the Digging for Diamonds game. Later on, Mr. Moran was able to take us down near the field before halftime to get a better look at all the moving parts involved in the game day operations. We even ran into both Chancellor Woodson and Tuffy!

High-fiving the players as they head in for halftime
Tuffy, NC State's live mascot
Although the scoreboard didn't work out in the Pack's favor, this was still a very exciting experience that sometimes made it hard to focus on all the knowledge that was being shared with us.  Thanks again to Mr. Moran and Mrs. Hoenig for answering all of our questions and giving us such a fantastic opportunity!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Class of 2018 WCPSS Great Xplorations Career Fair (October 23)

The closest we could get to a serious group shot after Bojangles
Broughton's career academy freshmen attended Wake County Public School System's Great Xplorations career fair at NC State University's McKimmon Center on Thursday, October 23. This event included a variety of sessions that involved learning about a variety of career pathways, participating in leadership activities, and networking with representatives from many different industries.

Aiken, Nick, Foster, Phillip, and Parrish during a session
More of the guys listening to a presenter
During "Guess My Gig," we heard from a fashion designer, a flying instructor, a landscape technician, and a WCPSS senior administrator, who discussed their backgrounds, the challenges and rewards of their careers, and the skills, experience, and education needed to succeed in each field.
Pulling together to master the blanket challenge
Kobe & Mathis directing their teams
Aiken attempting to interpret his team's hand signals
Lining up for another activity
Supposedly this was team building, too

We then participated in team building games, led by volunteers from the YMCA and members of the military.The activities were fun, but still emphasized leadership and teamwork. As you can see, this was also a good time for photo opportunities.

John Staton, JT & Clay
Nick, Parrish, & Sasha
Jackson & Drew chatting with WRAL's Ken Smith

During the networking session, students quickly rotated through random small groups where they introduced themselves to many different business professionals. It may have been outside the comfort zone for some, but they all seemed to gain valuable career advice and were able to practice their professionalism. The final session allowed students to explore the many career and technical student organizations offered at Wake County schools while also mingling with peers at other high schools that they'd met during the networking session and throughout the day. Of course, we had to walk over to Bojangles for lunch before heading back to school. Keep scrolling for even more pictures from the day!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Class of 2017 Hilton North Raleigh-Midtown Field Trip (October 21)

Meeting with Hilton staff members
The Hilton North Raleigh-Midtown welcomed Broughton's academy students from the class of 2017 last Tuesday morning to get an orientation to the Hilton company, meet managers and directors from a variety of departments, and take an in-depth site tour. 

Grabbing some morning refreshments
Over a light breakfast, students heard from our host, Stephen Kent (digital media & marketing manager), as well as Carol Henson (director of human resources), Thom Keville (director of sales), June Bazemore (director of catering), and Lauren Taylor (food & beverage director) to get a taste of the variety of hospitality careers available. Each of the Hilton team members discussed their backgrounds, how they ended up in the hospitality field, what they enjoy about working in the hospitality industry, and answered students' questions. We also viewed a short but interesting video on Conrad Hilton and the history of Hilton Hotels.

Getting an introduction to Hilton's history
Next, Emily Winfrey (business travel manager) and Tina DeErasmo (sales manager) led small groups on tours through the Hilton property, including the catering kitchen and other back-of-the-house spaces in addition to the extensive meeting space for conferences, on-site restaurant, pool and fitness areas, suites and guestrooms. 

Making our way through the catering kitchen
Finally, Keith Parham (controller) and some of the other Hilton team members we'd previously met gave students great advice for exploring and preparing for careers as they progress through high school and their post-secondary education. Mr. Parham emphasized how the family atmosphere of the hospitality industry and his interactions with guests keep him energized and excited to come to work each day. Thanks to Mr. Kent for providing photos and organizing our visit, as well as the rest of the Hilton staff that spent time with us.

Keith Parham inspired students with great career advice

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Class of 2018 Downtown Raleigh Field Trip Re-Cap (September 18)

Hanging out on the lawn at Red Hat Amphitheater
The freshmen students in Broughton's Academy of Hospitality, Tourism, & Sports Marketing were lucky to spend a day in downtown Raleigh last week, where they met with some outstanding industry leaders, toured a variety of venues, and enjoyed lunch on Fayetteville Street. Once again, Raleigh Convention Center associate director Doug Grissom hosted our trip downtown and helped put together a fantastic experience for our class of 2018 cohort.

Doug Grissom explains the history of Memorial Auditorium
After arriving on the R-Line, we first had a discussion with Tori Collins, associate director of the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, who shared examples of how the GRSA encourages tourism by working with other local organizations to host professional, NCAA, youth, and recreational sports events in the Triangle area. She explained some of the advantages that Raleigh has over other host cities and how hosting these events benefits both the area's quality-of-life and economy. Ms. Collins also answered some questions about the likelihood of an NCAA Final Four or MLB team coming to the Triangle.

Taking a peek at the Convention Center's commercial kitchen

Going down via one of the Convention Center's huge "hidden" elevators

We were then able to tour parts of the various venues housed in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and hear about the operations involved in each, as well as a bit about the renovations currently being done in Memorial Auditorium prior to next week's IBMA awards show. Mr. Grissom also gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of the convention center floor and ballroom, the huge commercial kitchen (where the catering staff prepares as many as several thousand meals at a time), the underground parking and loading area, and other hidden spots. We finished up at Red Hat Amphitheater, where the event crew was setting up for Lorde's concert later that evening.

Jalen and Kobe at Zinda
Sydnie, Sasha, and Erin at Zinda
Students at Zinda listening to G Patel's advice
We then met up with Gaurav "G" Patel, the owner and president of Eschelon Experiences. After a discussion at Zinda where Mr. Patel shared his background and talked about the concepts behind each of Eschelon's restaurants, students were able to do a walk through of the impressive New Asian space. Finally, we sat down for a lunchtime Q&A session with Mr. Patel at The Oxford. Students were hungry for lunch, but also had a number of terrific questions for Mr. Patel, who gave out his contact information and invited them to always ask more questions.

G Patel speaking with students about the hospitality industry

G Patel answering one of the many questions students had about his career
Time to eat!
Ryan enjoying downtown

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Class of 2017 PNC Arena Field Trip (April 22)

Hanging out in front of the PNC Arena
Our second field trip of the year was short but exciting, as we headed over the the PNC Arena where Doug Warf, the vice president of marketing for the Carolina Hurricanes, gave us a behind-the-scenes tour and talked about what it's like to work in sports. We also met with folks involved in the CanesVision in-house broadcasting team as well as the food and beverage side of the arena; we're extremely grateful to everyone involved for taking time out of their busy days to share their insights with us.

Looking out on the arena from the CanesVision producer's perch 
Our first look out onto the arena (which was being prepared for a Bruce Springsteen concert) was from the top level, normally inaccessible to general patrons. We saw the view that the CanesVision producer and others see of the entire arena on gamedays as Doug explained several aspects of the arena that makes it unique for hosting a variety of different types of events. Although we saw the big red button that signals the extremely loud goal horn when the Hurricanes score a goal, we weren't allowed to touch it (even though some were very tempted) for fear of causing a heart attack or two.

Inside the CanesVision control room
Inside the CanesVision control room 
We moved inside the CanesVision control room next, where Doug and a couple CanesVision producers explained the fast-paced work that goes on there during events. We saw an amazing HD camera hidden under the scoreboard that can be controlled remotely and zoom in on any seat in the lower bowl of seats, showing impressive detail. We found out how they choose what crowd shots make the scoreboard between plays and learned about some of the responsibilities these producers have to sponsors when running in-game promotions.

Doug Warf explaining the feeds shown on the monitor wall
Heading out of the control room, we ran into former Hurricanes captain and current assistant coach Rod Brind'Amour as he left the CanesVision studio, where interviews and other features are filmed. We peeked into the studio, where we talked with in-game host Amber Jaye and another producer about their interest and background in sports broadcasting and how they landed jobs with the Hurricanes.

The view from press row
Our last stop on the upper level of the arena was on press row, where broadcasters and other media members sit during Hurricanes games. We learned more about how the Hurricanes staff accommodates large contingents for events like the Stanley Cup Finals or the NHL All-Star Game and checked out the huge screens that were recently installed to make it easier for press to view the TV broadcast.

Inside the Lenovo Champions Club
En route to the club level and the Lenovo Champions Club, Doug shared some very interesting (and often surprising) facts about the costs of running an NHL franchise, their sources of revenue, and the ongoing challenges of ticket sales. Tickets can go for over $300 in the Champions Club, but Doug explained why the Hurricanes converted space for a few large suites into the exclusive section as some businesses prefer the all-inclusive approach when taking clients to games.

Discussion at the Arena Club restaurant 
Our final stop was at the Arena Club restaurant, where Katrina Ryan, the arena's director of catering, discussed the many facets of her job. We learned what NHL players and touring musicians like to eat, as Katrina and her staff prepare meals for them as well as for corporate meetings, private events, and pre-concert VIP parties, among other occasions. She shared the high expectations required of employees in catering and client services, both with the Hurricanes and in her previous experience working with the New England Patriots.

Discussion at the Arena Club restaurant