Name: Josh Olerud
Current Job Title: General Manager
Company Name: Potomac Nationals
First sports job: Rockford RiverHawks – Group Sales
College education: Minnesota State University, Mankato – Bachelor of Science (2002)
Executive most admired: Billy Beane, Oakland Athletics
Brand most admired: USA Hockey
In Josh’s debut year with the Potomac Nationals in 2011, Josh is leading the P-Nats as General Manager. While overseeing day-to-day operation of the Nationals and working as an intricate part of the sales effort, Josh hopes to maximize entertainment value for the community by providing an affordable family activity in America's pastime. His main focus this season is to capitalize on the constant raising of the bar and add to it by bringing in fresh ideas and promotions to this years season.
When he's not at Pfitzner Stadium, Josh likes to workout, play golf, hang out with his dog, and watch his hometown Twins, Vikings, and Wild.
Tell us a little about your first job in the sports industry. How did you land it?
My first job in the sports industry came in 2004 with the Independent Rockford RiverHawks Professional Baseball Team. I was the group sales intern and was hired full time at the end of the season as the Group Sales Director. I landed that job by sending my resume through WorkInSports.com and the rest is history.
What advice would you give to students looking to make sports their career?
The sports career path is a long marathon rather than a sprint to your ideal position. Picking a school that has a good educational background and the ability to get you real world experience is very important. Then take advantage of the opportunities that are presented, soak up as much information as you can, learn as much from your seniors, try as many job duties as possible and keep in touch with your network of professionals.
We all know that working in sports generally involves long hours. What are the perks that offset this?
If you’re around me enough, you will often here me say “I can’t beat calling a professional baseball stadium my office”. It makes coming to work everyday an enjoyable experience, a great work atmosphere. The sports community is filled with dedicated individuals who are passionate at what they do and are great to work with; this makes the work environment a blast. And lastly the fans and sponsors that become extended family. All the hard work and long hours are worth every second you see smiling fans and grateful sponsors. It is a very gratifying feeling.
When hiring, what major traits do you look for in a candidate?
The trait I look for first in a candidate is enthusiasm. I want individuals that want to be here, help make the business grow, take the organization to a higher level and impact our community in a positive way. I believe everything else comes with having good people. Obviously we want polished professionals when we are in the hiring process, but we can see taking a chance on a less polished individual if we feel their make up is good for growth within our company.
Where do you see hiring in the sports industry heading in the next 3 years?
The sports industry is continually growing and very competitive as it always has been. I see the alternative sports to the major sports to continue to rise in popularity which in turn will create additional jobs in the industry. A great example is the increased popularity of MMA and sports that are becoming large globally. All in all it’s a growing industry and I see the growth as continual. This will create great variety with in the hiring fields of our industry and it’s an exciting time to be involved.