Sports Career Spotlight

We've been featuring executives from the sports industry since 2001. Naturally, some of these executives have moved onward and upward in their sports careers. We believe these profiles remain relevant and valuable because they highlight the hard work, dedication, brilliant successes, and lessons learned in a variety of career paths through the sports industry.

Steven Dahlquist

Steven Dahlquist, Vice President, Sales & Marketing

American Seating


Age: 44
New title: Vice president, sales and marketing, American Seating
Previous job: Group vice president, global sales and marketing, Del Medical Systems
First job: Dishwasher
Education: Bachelor of science, systems engineering, U.S. Naval Academy (1982); master of business administration, Southern Methodist University (1991)
Resides: Ada, Mich.
Grew up: Bellevue, Neb.
Executive most admired: Warren Buffett
Brands most admired: Apple, Harley-Davidson
Favorite vacation spot: Outer Banks, N.C.
Last book read: “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” by Malcolm Gladwell
Last movie seen: “Are We There Yet?”
Favorite movie: “The Great Escape”
Favorite type of music: Blues
Typical workweek: 50 hours

Steven Dahlquist just took a seat to become the vice president of sales and marketing with American Seating, which provides seating for major sports venues.

Dahlquist is responsible for driving the strategic process and leading sales and marketing activities for American Seating’s three business groups: architectural products (including seating for ballparks, performing arts facilities and auditoriums), transportation products (including mass transportation seating in buses and trains), and office products (including office furniture and systems).

What is the biggest challenge in your new position?
Redefining American Seating’s position in the marketplace. American Seating has been around since the late 1800s, and sometimes the preconceptions about the company are also misconceptions. We need to build awareness about all things that American Seating does and is about.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Leaving a promising career as a naval officer to take a career as a salesman for a chemical company.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Earning my MBA while working full time. Also, while working as a senior member of the management team which took a large water company public. We then grew the company to a whole new level of sales and profit.

What is your biggest professional disappointment?
While working with the same water company, we ended up losing the acquisition race and were acquired by our competitor. While we were paid well for it, we weren’t able to gain control and become the leader in the business, as we had hoped.

What is your career advice?
Learn from your experiences and learn to apply it. I also agree with the point Andy Grove made in his book “Only the Paranoid Survive,” to apply a regular and measured dose of skepticism to your management formula.

What one element would you like to change about the sports industry?
I’d like to see the NFL take a more aggressive position about taunting and excessive celebrating. I think it lacks dignity and sets a terrible example for young athletes.

This Career spotlight is courtesy of the Sports Business Journal. CLICK HERE to visit their official website.

Read More Career Spotlights...