Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Speaker Spotlight: Chad Bauer

November 5, 2013, Grainger Hall, UW-Madison

As a college graduate unsatisfied with his cubicle office and less than exhilarating work at a software development company, Chad Bauer recalled a piece of advice his grandfather had previously given him. ‘You need to find something that you love to do and do it,’ his grandfather had said.

Inspiration sparked after feeling frustrated with the high-priced entertainment at a Milwaukee Brewer game. Bauer saw an opportunity to offer baseball fans a less expensive alternative with quality play in starting a collegiate summer team. And, after extensive planning, relationship building with the right people, setbacks and roadblocks, Bauer was able to accomplish much more.

The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the Northwoods League, a summer league for college players that started in 1994. These summer leagues provide college players to continue play throughout the summer by traveling around the country, living with host families, and getting exposure in front of scouts. The Northwoods League has been very successful, drawing more attendance at games than any other league and being ranked second in the country for best talent. Currently, Bauer is the Assistant GM of the Lakeshore Chinooks. Although Bauer dabbles in almost all aspects of the business, his primary responsibilities are sponsorship sales and managing the interns. His favorite part is how this type of organization allows him to ‘wear a lot of different hats,’ or, in other words, because the office is so small, there are more opportunities to be involved in a variety of areas.

While the Chinooks were a product of partnering with Concordia University and renovating their field and stadium, Bauer was also simultaneously starting a summer team in Green Bay, WI. He partner with a friend from college, who became the GM, to open with the Green Bay Bullfrogs in the 2007 season. He remains as the Vice President, specifically helping out with finances for the Bullfrogs.

His dedication, drive, and relentless pursuit of his goals brought him to where he is today. He was honest about the hard work and number of hours he puts in working in sports. One of the things he emphasized was passion. He warned that ‘if you aren’t passionate about sports, you’re not going to make it in this industry.’ More advice came from discussing the significance of networking and building relationships. Of course, it’s a lot about whom you know, but taking that even further, Bauer addressed just how small the sports world is – most people in sports know each other. Because of this, he told us how important it is to not to burn any bridges in this industry because it can come back to bite you.

From his experiences, through both the highs and lows, Bauer knew he had to be driven and to always stay true to what he wanted to accomplish, remaining steadfast in his dream. This is sometimes easier said than done. But, in case situations along the way leave you disheartened, he said to ‘surround yourself with people who can lift you back up and push you to keep going.’

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