Saturday, April 15, 2017

Speaker Spotlight: Drew Pittner-Smith & Matt Kaminski

March 7, 2016


Drew Pittner-Smith

Drew Pittner-Smith graduated from Marquette University in 2008 with a B.S. in broadcasting and electronic communications. As an undergraduate at Marquette, he served as the student manager of the Golden Eagles’ men’s basketball team. After returning to Marquette in pursuit of his M.B.A., he spent two more seasons as the team’s video coordinator.

Pittner-Smith earned his M.B.A. from Marquette's Graduate School of Management in 2010, and held various positons with organizations such as the PGA of America, Synergy Sports Technology, and Badger Sports Properties before joining the UW Athletic Department.  

As the assistant director of marketing for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Athletic Department, Pittner-Smith’s responsibilities include selling tickets, marketing game events, and perhaps most importantly, continuing to create an unrivaled game atmosphere that continues flooding the Kohl Center with red for the home ice.

Pittner-Smith assumed his current position in 2013, and he helps sell season and group tickets, as well as many other ticket packages like Family Four Packs or promotional events like the 2017 “Fill the Bowl” game. Some of his most recent marketing projects include the promotion of the Badgers’ 2016 summer coaching hires, headlined by the introduction of new head coach Tony Granato, along with assistant coaches Dan Granato and Mark Osiecki.

The video advertisement announcing the new hires featured a one-minute media buy – a substantial investment – marketed toward invoking an emotional charge from Wisconsin’s most faithful Badger hockey fans.  

Matt Kaminski

Matt Kaminski went to high school in Saline, Michigan, located just outside Ann Arbor in the Wolverine State. Despite a close proximity to the University of Michigan, Kaminski traveled to East Lansing to become a Spartan, attending Michigan State University in 2008.

At Michigan State, Kaminski became the president of the Spartans’ Club Soccer team in his sophomore year and held that position through graduation. In his senior year, his team won the 2012 NIRSA NCCS Men’s National Championship. Kaminski graduated from MSU in 2012 with a B.S. in Marketing from the Eli Broad College of Business.

Following graduation, Kaminski took on multiple challenges at the same time, such as a sales and marketing internship position with Michigan State’s Athletic Department, marketing and operations intern for Capital Area Soccer League and Fuelband Campus Ambassador for Nike.

Kaminski kept with his position working for the MSU Athletic Department through 2013, and decided to simultaneously pursue a master’s degree at his alma mater later that same year. After two years of serving as a graduate assistant, Kaminski graduated with an M.S. in Sports Administration from MSU’s College of Education in 2015. In August 2015, Kaminski became a part of the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department as the assistant director of marketing and promotions. AUW, Kaminski works with Pittner-Smith when it comes to marketing operations.

His current role’s responsibilities include managing marketing efforts for the Wisconsin women's basketball and softball teams. More specifically, Kaminski handles everything from advertising, social media management, and community relations to fan engagement and game-day video board operation. Kaminski also plays a part in the Wisconsin football program. In the 2015-16 football season, he oversaw all aspects of Badgerville, the official tailgate of Wisconsin Athletics.

For SBC members actively seeking employment or internships in the sports industry, especially marketing opportunities at collegiate athletic departments such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Pittner-Smith and Kaminski had this to say:

Drew Pittner Smith

On getting a foot into the sports industry door…

  • “The industry is smaller than you think. While you’re here, get involved. Just get experience.”
On value of early sports experiences and involvement… 

  • “I would suggest getting involved through those channels [entry-level sports internships/athletics volunteering opportunities] now because employers are going to want to know if you’ve had experience in those channels.”
On dynamic value of skills acquired from in the sports industry… 

  • “Even if you get involved with sports here at school and figure out you don’t love it down the road, that’s fine because those experiences [skills necessary for working in sports] are transferrable to any job. We keep a list of every intern that has come through [Wisconsin Athletics], and probably 70-80 percent of them are no longer working in the sports because they went on to be successful doing similar work in different industries.”
On most attractive/valuable attributes of potential UW Athletic Department interns…

  • “Working hard, being organized, a good communicator.”

Learn more about Drew-Pittner Smith
Follow Wisconsin Men’s Hockey on Twitter

Matt Kaminski

On value of early sports experiences and involvement…

  • “There are people who are willing to work more and more hours to do our jobs constantly. The demand for our jobs is never going to dip down, and people are always going to want in sports. So, it’s important to find those opportunities.
On most attractive/valuable attributes of students aspiring to work in sports…

  • “Everyone who wants to work in sports started playing or watching sports with a passion since they were little etc., but that doesn’t necessarily translate to potential success working with them. Show people that you like sports, but more importantly, show them what you are doing to pursue them professionally.”

Learn more about Matt Kaminski
Follow Wisconsin Women’s Basketball on Twitter
Follow Wisconsin Softball on Twitter

Thank you to Drew Pittner-Smith and Matt Kaminski for taking the time to share their invaluable insights from working with the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department Marketing with our club about the ins and outs of daily responsibilities behind the scenes of our favorite Wisconsin sporting events.

Learn more about Wisconsin Athletics
Follow Wisconsin Athletics on Twitter
Follow Wisconsin Athletics on Instagram

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