PLANO, Texas – Collegiate marketer Learfield recently has overseen numerous leadership appointments to its core business at the property level. At 10 select college properties on the East and West coasts specifically, six general managers are brand new to the company, with four others making moves internally.
Learfield represents multimedia rights and sponsorship initiatives for nearly 130 collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas nationwide, and Duquesne, Fordham, Manhattan College and University of Miami are four of its relationships on the East Coast. Bob Heller joined Learfield as general manager for its DUQS Sports Properties team at Duquesne, having previously served as associate athletics director for major gifts at University of Pittsburgh. Kevin Waters, former director of sponsorship and marketing for The Taubman Company, is general manager for Learfield’s Fordham Sports Properties. Layne Werner is general manager for Learfield’s Jasper Sports Properties at Manhattan. She is the former senior manager, strategic marketing and partnerships for LeadDog Marketing Group. Charles Nieves, former director, business development for Learfield’s Penn State Sports Properties team, was promoted to general manager for Hurricane Sports Properties at Miami.
On the West Coast, Tatia Benkonvich is now general manager at Learfield’s Anteater Sports Properties at UC Irvine, having previously served as general manager for Learfield’s Big West Sports Properties team representing the Big West Conference. Ron Kobata is now general manager for Beach Sports Properties, having previously served as general manager for Learfield’s UC Irvine property team. In addition, Andy McDowell has been promoted to vice president and general manager for Learfield’s Cal Bears Sports Properties team in Berkeley. He previously served 10 years as general manager for Learfield’s Wolf Pack Sports Properties team representing the University of Nevada. Heather Hellman is general manager for Learfield’s Mustangs Sports Properties team at Cal Poly, joining Learfield from HWY 101, a brand and marketing firm she founded in 2003. Sports industry veteran Logan Davis is general manager for Learfield’s Seawolf Sports Properties representing University of Alaska, Anchorage. He joins Learfield from the University of Miami, where he was an account executive in group sales. Joey Huerta, former sponsorship account executive for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, is now general manager for Learfield’s Highlanders Sports Properties team at UC Riverside.
“Each of these individuals we’ve appointed to lead property teams are incredibly bright and bring valuable sales, sponsorship, management and sports marketing experiences that we believe will serve our partners well,” said Andy Rawlings, Learfield’s executive vice president and chief revenue officer. “We’re fortunate to work with the outstanding institutions and conferences that we do, and we remain committed to hiring and retaining exceptional and diverse talent.”
An industry leader for more than four decades, Learfield has a deep presence in the college athletics landscape nationwide. The company also provides its collegiate partners access to professional concessions and ticket sales; branding, licensing and trademark consulting; digital and social platform expertise; campus-wide business and sponsorship development; and venue and technology systems through its affiliated companies.