The Mahoning Valley Scrappers front office has some very hard-working people. The public perception of an employee for a minor league baseball team is usually distorted. Popular to contrary belief, the employees do not sit and watch nine innings while yawning and looking at their watches. Matt Thompson is the Director of Corporate Sales for the Scrappers. He sells to businesses, handles the luxury box suites, and pretty much has the attitude to do whatever it takes. I recently spoke with Thompson about his job and the Scrappers.
Paneech: How long have you been with the Scrappers organization?
Thompson: I started as an intern in 2004. I spent 2005 in West Virginia working for our old ownership opening a brand new stadium. I came back and was promoted to full-time employment in 2006.
Paneech: As Director of Corporate Sales, what are your duties?
Thompson: Primarily, my job is to sell sponsorships, billboards, video board spots, and pretty much promoting — they are not all me, but do fall into what I do. I also handle the picnic garden and manage the staff that takes care of the people in the suites. There is a lot involved with the suites and I stress to my staff that they need to smile and have fun, but to make sure that the clients are taken care of and are enjoying themselves. We want them to really use our venue as a way to improve their businesses.
Paneech: Is this grueling work or is it just fun?
Thompson: I learned as an intern that it really is work. I stress for everything to be perfect and to put our best foot forward to make it a more enjoyable job. A lot of times it is relaxed, and sometimes it gets hectic. I do come to work at a baseball field, so even on the days when it is tough to get out of bed, there has not been one time that I have dreaded the thought of going to work. If I didn’t enjoy this as much as I still do, I don’t think I would be here.
Paneech: What is the biggest problem you ever had with the suites and keeping those folks happy?
Thompson: I don’t know if you could call it a “major” problem, but once in a great while, a suite order gets by unnoticed. The food is an important element of being in the suites, and when a group orders higher-end catering, like some steak tips and an order gets displaced, they may end up with hot dogs, and that’s not a great thing. It does not happen very often, so we try to label everything and pay close attention to details to ensure accuracy.
Thompson is one of the people who goes out of his way to not only make sure the customers are taken care of, but also makes sure his staff has what they need. I have seen him help pull the tarp, he is an asset to his employers!