Not only does Winthrop Intelligence help ADs increase revenue and athletic programs to be more competitive, but the Win AD database also assists athletic staff throughout an administration to increase personal productivity and make better, more informed recommendations. We are interested in hearing from staff who use the database to their strategic advantage, for career advancement, and about innovative uses of the system that provides tangible, university-wide benefits.
Ryan Matthews, Winthrop’s Managing Editor, chatted recently with TJ Feuerbach – Director of Development at Northern Kentucky University – to see how TJ is getting value from Win AD.
What advice would you give to a talented young admin that you wish someone had given you five years ago?
There are several things I would suggest, but for the sake of time and space I will focus on three items.
- Although it may lead to a larger workload, consistently ask to be involved in discussions or meetings that are either above your pay grade (manage up) or possibly outside your direct focus. I am at a point in my life where I have finally come to realize the power of learning and involvement. For example, as a development officer I consistently ask to attend meetings related to our corporate sales and marketing company (Nelligan Sports Marketing, Inc.), facility planning, and university development staff meetings, to name a few. Try to be involved in and learn from those above you. In doing so you also acquire a wealth of institutional knowledge that is beneficial regardless of what position you hold.
- As a young professional I believe it is important to take some time before you get too far down the road to reflect on your personal/professional values (in some instances those values may be differ slightly, and that is okay). Be honest and examine them from time to time to see if you are staying true to yourself and are creating the life you envision for yourself and your family.
- No matter what your job title indicates, you can be a leader. You have the ability to set the standard with involvement – not only within the department but across campus and within the community. Generate ideas; voice your opinions; ask for feedback, and I don’t mean once a year during your evaluation, but consistently; listen to anyone and everyone with whom you come in contact; and, finally, perform quality work on a regular basis.
How has Win AD broadly impacted your department?
As an institution in our first year transitioning to Division I, we have needed and been able to use several of the resources Win AD provides. First, it has helped give us a baseline for our guarantee games from Ohio State last basketball season, to Purdue, North Carolina and Kentucky this upcoming season. Second, it helped me and our staff in negotiating our equipment and apparel contract. Additionally, I like to use information related to coaching contracts, financials, or vendors to benchmark our current situation, as well as gain a better understanding of what needs to be done to reach our aspirations as an athletics department.
Can you cite one specific instance where Win AD helped you increase revenue, save time, save money?
The most noticeable example came in the negotiations for our men’s basketball guarantee games. Over the course of the past year, our men’s basketball staff has worked diligently to schedule several marquee games in an effort to promote our university and our brand as we make the D-I transition. Win AD, through its guarantee game contract feature, allowed us to identify high-profile institutions that were willing to schedule a team from the Atlantic Sun Conference as well as meet our needs from a financial standpoint. Armed with that information, we were quickly able to schedule some great games with top regional opponents that would get our fan base excited.
What have been some tips or tricks that you’ve found for using (getting the most out of) the system?
I can’t honestly say I do anything with Win AD that is particularly creative. However, as I mentioned above, it has been a great resource on a number of different levels. Personally it allowed to me quickly see what our peer institutions were getting in terms of apparel contracts with different vendors in a format that is easy to navigate. If I can’t find something or I am looking for something specific that may not presently be contained in Win AD, I call Kevin Barefoot and request to be added to the “big board” in hopes maybe another schools will have a same or similar request down the road.
If a peer were considering subscribing to Win AD, what would you tell him or her about your experience?
The staff at Win AD, in particular Kevin, is terrific. He is generally always accessible and has a great deal of energy and passion for what Win AD is trying to accomplish through this platform. The people are consistently working to refine and expand the wealth of information only Win AD provides. Additionally, the staff welcomes ideas or suggestions in an effort to better understand our needs as administrators.