Joe Doud '09

Joe Doud '09

Where do you work?

I'm general manager of the Vermont Lake Monsters, a minor league baseball team based in Burlington, Vt.

How did you end up in your current job?

I started my career with the Lake Monsters as a summer intern during the 2008 season. I had just completed my junior year at Colby-Sawyer, and was faced with the difficult decision of choosing an internship position in Exeter, N.H., or with the Lake Monsters in my home state. I decided upon a summer with the Lake Monsters, and it has been history since.

After graduation, I moved to Portland, Maine, to start work in the healthcare sales industry. While I did not enjoy my job, I discovered a passion for sales and helping people solve problems. I was fortunate to have stayed in touch with many Lake Monsters employees, and in 2010 I moved back to Vermont to start as a group sales representative. Most of the front office was in their first season, and having experience as an intern already, I was able to help other employees acclimate. At the end of the season, I was offered the title of assistant general manager. Being 23 years old, that title pulled on my ego strings pretty hard, and I more than willingly accepted.

After four seasons as assistant GM, I was offered the role of general manager in the winter of 2014. I have been the GM since and am entering my eighth season with the team this summer.

What’s a typical day at work like?

The days here vary quite a bit depending on the time of year. In the off-season, roughly October–March, my primary focus is building new partnerships with sponsorship packages and group tickets. I do all of the organization’s hiring, which also takes up quite a bit of my time. We host a few off-season events, so I am involved in the planning and execution of those. Lastly, my title is appropriate in that a lot of what I do during the winter is “generally manage” the overall operations of our business. At the end of the day, we need to make sure that the decisions we are making are financially smart, and well accepted in the community.

During our season, my life changes quite a bit as the days are much longer preparing for our game events. This time is filled with lots of training, executing marketing partnerships, operating the ballpark and the 250 employees that we have during the season, as well as interacting with countless vendors, partners, fans, and community members.

Vermont Lake Monsters

What are some of your biggest challenges on the job?

The weather is my best friend at times and, at others, my worst enemy. I have developed a keen ability to read radar and predict where wind will blow rain. I can’t tell you how much time I spend waiting to decide whether to put our tarp on the field or not…

On the same weather note, Burlington, Vt., is a beautiful city. Even when it is a gorgeous sunny evening, there are so many other attractions in the area that people can choose from. We are always competing with Mother Nature, but sunny nights are much easier than rainy nights.

Like any business, there are many other external factors we face every day. Rising food costs and the cost of living always makes us pay close attention to our pricing structure to maintain Minor League Baseball’s trademark of “affordable family fun," while making sure we remain competitive in our market.

What might people be surprised to learn about minor league baseball?

The biggest misconception about my position is a question I get asked hundreds of times a year: how long until I am the GM for the Red Sox or Yankees? My position actually has very little to do with the on-field team happenings. I don’t travel with the team, I don’t scout, make lineups, or even know the team roster until a few days before they arrive. My job is much more business oriented, and based around running the Vermont Lake Monsters organization. The Oakland Athletics, our affiliate, handle the player development.

The other thing people may be surprised to know about Minor League Baseball is how big a business it is. There are 160 teams in the US, and we more than double the annual attendance of the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLS. Teams are routinely being sold for $35+ million, and ballparks are being built in the near nine digits in order to be able to handle all the games and non-baseball events that teams do. There is hardly anything “minor league” about Minor League Baseball.

How did Colby-Sawyer prepare you for your career?

The most important skill I took away from Colby-Sawyer was the ability to be an independent worker, yet accomplish projects as a team. I learned that very few things in life are handed to you neatly, and any successes or recognition you want needs to be earned. I have brought that work ethic with me and believe that has led to many of my personal successes along with some of our organizational success.

Any advice for students interested in a sport management career?

The best advice I can give to current students is incredibly cliché: don’t be afraid of hard work. My career started as an unpaid intern, and I would not be in the position I am without the 100+ hour weeks that I was putting in as an intern. Whether it is doing the reading for a class, asking for extra help from a professor, or even just chatting with your roommates’ parents about their careers, it will all pay off for you in the long-run. You never know who your next boss will be, so always treat each interaction with anyone as a potential stepping stone.

An internship is what got my foot in the door in the sports industry so it is what I would recommend all CSC students consider. It is a great idea to reach out to some teams early, just in case you catch them during a good time in their hiring cycle. I am sure there are plenty of great candidates we have looked past just because the timing was off. Sending out resumes year round doesn’t hurt, and it is unlikely you would not be considered for a position if you sent in multiple applications throughout the year.

My biggest regret looking back at my time at Colby-Sawyer was not getting to know more of my friends’ parents. While I was in school, I was more interested in the business finance world, and a majority of my friends had parents in high ranking business positions. I never thought once to introduce myself to any of them when they visited campus. I would certainly encourage all students to chat with as many established professionals as possible, and why not start with those closest to you!