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Front Office Lineup

Akron RubberDucks Front Office

300 S. Main Street | Akron, OH 44308 | Phone: (330) 253-5151 | Fax: (330) 253-3300


Email Address: information@akronrubberducks.com
Website: www.AkronRubberDucks.com
Affiliation (27th year): Cleveland Indians (1989-Present)
Years in Eastern League: 1980-Present
Eastern League Championships: 2003, 2005, 2009, 2012, 2016

Ownership - Fast Forward Sports


Ken Babby Owner/CEO

Ken Babby

Ken Babby became Owner and Chief Executive Officer of the Akron RubberDucks, Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, in October 2012 when he purchased the then-named Akron Aeros.

Babby is the founder of Fast Forward Sports Group LLC, through which he additionally purchased the then-named Jacksonville Suns, Double-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins, in September 2015, becoming the youngest multi-franchise owner in professional sports. Following the 2016 season, the Suns started a new identity as the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Akron RubberDucks baseball has taken flight under Babby. In four seasons, the franchise's second-ever owner has invested more than $7 million into Akron's Canal Park, which includes one of the largest HD video board in the minor leagues, and attendance has increased by 28 percent.

Following a successful identity change after the 2013 season that focused on Akron's history as the "Rubber Capital of the World," the team went on to win Minor League Baseball's prestigious Larry MacPhail Award as the top promotional team in 2015. The 2016 was packed with honors for the RubberDucks, including an Eastern League championship, the franchise hosting the Eastern League All-Star Game and Home Run Derby for the first time, and the club's nomination for the John H. Johnson President's Award, which honors Minor League Baseball's "most complete franchise."

Babby, 36, is a Potomac, Maryland, native who spent 13 years with the Washington Post, rising to positions such as Vice President, Advertising, and Chief Revenue Officer of Washington Post Media and General Manager of Washington Post Digital.

He was named one of Sports Business Journal's 2016 "Forty Under 40," recognizing excellence and innovation in sports business careers. In 2015, Crain's Cleveland Business also honored him as one of its local 2015 "Forty Under 40" awards. He serves as chair of the Baseball Internet Rights Company (BIRCO) and serves on numerous boards in Northeast Ohio including: Akron General Partners, Downtown Akron Partnership, Great Trail Boy Scouts Council, Greater Akron Chamber, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Positive Coaching Alliance, Shaw Jewish Community Center, and Summa Foundation.

In describing his ownership vision, Babby elaborates on a two-fold mission. As the leader of the organization, he hopes to create a memorable, unique, affordable and enjoyable fan experience, and also maximize the opportunity to create change in the community through charitable, wellness and education initiatives.

Babby is a full-time Akron resident and a visible presence at RubberDucks and Jumbo Shrimp games, as well in the local communities. His son, Josh (9), resides in Maryland.

email: kenbabby@akronrubberducks.com
Twitter: @kenbabby


Jill Popov Executive Assistant to Ken Babby

Jill Popov

Bio coming soon.

email: jill@akronrubberducks.com


Jim Pfander President, Fast Forward Sports

Jim Pfander

Eighteen year Minor League Baseball executive Jim Pfander was named president of Fast Forward Sports Group LLC in October 2015 and has served as the general manager of the Akron RubberDucks since October 18, 2012.

Pfander, an Akron native, is only the second general manager in Aeros/RubberDucks history, and was the first executive hired by team owner and Fast Forward Sports Group founder Ken Babby. For Pfander, it was a return to the organization where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Aeros in 2011.

Under Pfander's leadership, the Akron franchise has risen into one of Minor League Baseball's premier franchises.

The team underwent a successful company-wide, identity change from the Akron Aeros to the Akron RubberDucks after the 2013 season, and it has witnessed record-breaking attendance growth and set single-game records. Pfander has also overseen more than $7 million in improvements to Canal Park, including the installation of one of the largest HD video boards in Minor League Baseball, the addition of The Game Grill + Bar, the Fowl Territory picnic area, the Tiki Terrace and Tiki Bar group areas, as well as the exclusive special-event Duck Club at Canal Park. Prior to the 2016 season, Pfander oversaw a complete renovation of the stadium's playing field and drainage systems.

The 2016 season also saw the RubberDucks and Canal Park host Akron's first Eastern League All-Star Game and Home Run Derby, which drew more than 14,000 fans and national attention to the city. The season concluded with the RubberDucks winning the franchise's fifth EL championship, and its first since 2012.

In addition to several new special events at Canal Park, Pfander helped the RubberDucks build a reputation as a leader in affordable family fun. With unique ballpark promotions, to go along with the creative concessions, including the Extreme Foods Menu, helped earn the franchise the prestigious 2015 Larry MacPhail Award, which goes to the Minor League Baseball team with the most outstanding and creative marketing and promotional efforts. Following the 2016 season, the team was chosen as the Eastern League's nominee for Minor League Baseball's top award, the John H. Johnson President's Award, which is used to honor a franchise with demonstrated stability while making significant contributions in its community, its league, and with the baseball industry.

Other stops besides Akron during Pfander's 17-year career include various positions with teams in Charleston, South Carolina; Brockton, Massachusetts; Port Charlotte, Florida; and Spokane, Washington.

Pfander is a graduate of Archbishop Hoban High School and Ohio University. He began his baseball career as an intern in the Cleveland Indians broadcasting department in 2000, prior to several assignments with minor league teams across the country. He resides in Akron with his wife, Page, and daughters, Olivia and Ella.

email: jim@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 255


Shawn Carlson Chief Financial Officer, Fast Forward Sports

Shawn Carlson

Bio coming soon.

email: shawn@ffsportsgroup.com

 


Management

Jim Pfander General Manager/COO

Jim Pfander

Eighteen year Minor League Baseball executive Jim Pfander was named president of Fast Forward Sports Group LLC in October 2015 and has served as the general manager of the Akron RubberDucks since October 18, 2012.

Pfander, an Akron native, is only the second general manager in Aeros/RubberDucks history, and was the first executive hired by team owner and Fast Forward Sports Group founder Ken Babby. For Pfander, it was a return to the organization where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Aeros in 2011.

Under Pfander's leadership, the Akron franchise has risen into one of Minor League Baseball's premier franchises.

The team underwent a successful company-wide, identity change from the Akron Aeros to the Akron RubberDucks after the 2013 season, and it has witnessed record-breaking attendance growth and set single-game records. Pfander has also overseen more than $7 million in improvements to Canal Park, including the installation of one of the largest HD video boards in Minor League Baseball, the addition of The Game Grill + Bar, the Fowl Territory picnic area, the Tiki Terrace and Tiki Bar group areas, as well as the exclusive special-event Duck Club at Canal Park. Prior to the 2016 season, Pfander oversaw a complete renovation of the stadium's playing field and drainage systems.

The 2016 season also saw the RubberDucks and Canal Park host Akron's first Eastern League All-Star Game and Home Run Derby, which drew more than 14,000 fans and national attention to the city. The season concluded with the RubberDucks winning the franchise's fifth EL championship, and its first since 2012.

In addition to several new special events at Canal Park, Pfander helped the RubberDucks build a reputation as a leader in affordable family fun. With unique ballpark promotions, to go along with the creative concessions, including the Extreme Foods Menu, helped earn the franchise the prestigious 2015 Larry MacPhail Award, which goes to the Minor League Baseball team with the most outstanding and creative marketing and promotional efforts. Following the 2016 season, the team was chosen as the Eastern League's nominee for Minor League Baseball's top award, the John H. Johnson President's Award, which is used to honor a franchise with demonstrated stability while making significant contributions in its community, its league, and with the baseball industry.

Other stops besides Akron during Pfander's 17-year career include various positions with teams in Charleston, South Carolina; Brockton, Massachusetts; Port Charlotte, Florida; and Spokane, Washington.

Pfander is a graduate of Archbishop Hoban High School and Ohio University. He began his baseball career as an intern in the Cleveland Indians broadcasting department in 2000, prior to several assignments with minor league teams across the country. He resides in Akron with his wife, Page, and daughters, Olivia and Ella.

email: jim@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 255


Scott Riley Assistant General Manager

Scott Riley

Bio coming soon.

email: sriley@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 254


Administration

Missy Dies Office Manager

Missy Dies

Missy greets and assists clients and guests of the Akron RubberDucks executive office. In a personable and helpful manner, she coordinates the switchboard for the front office, in addition to a variety of other front office duties.

Originally from Perryton, TX, Missy enters her third season with the RubberDucks, but is no stranger to baseball. Growing up, her father's job moved their family approximately 84 times, but they always called Texas home. In 1994, they finally settled in Strongsville, OH (you might know Missy's father as "The Human Rain Delay"). One of five children, Missy was a hair stylist for 16 years prior to joining the RubberDucks family. She has been married to her husband, Mike, for 15 years and they have two daughters, Madison (13) and Ashley (11).

Missy and her family are very involved with the West Akron Baseball League (WABL) with Mike holding the role of President and both daughters playing softball. Missy enjoys cheering both her girls on from the stands, and does a mean Molly Shannon "Superstar" impression!

email: mdies@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 221


Finance

Leslie Wenzlawsh Controller

Leslie Wenzlawsh

Bio coming soon.

email: leslie@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 253


Kayla Latini Assistant, Finance

Kayla Latini

Bio coming soon.

email: klatini@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 246

 


Marketing


David Bordonaro Director, Corporate Partnerships

David Bordonaro

Bio coming soon.

email: dbordonaro@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 510

 


Juli Donlen Manager, Corporate Partnerships

Juli Donlen

Juli helps Akron area businesses and organizations grow their enterprises through partnerships with the Akron RubberDucks, and is responsible for generating sponsorship revenue for the organization. Juli oversees fulfillment of business partnership elements, including promotions, signage, tickets, VIP hospitality and game day activations. She also oversees the Charity Begins at Home program and the game day Diamond Ball fundraiser for non-profit organizations.

A native of Philadelphia, PA, Juli graduated from St. Thomas University in Miami, FL with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sports Administration. She started her career in sports in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers in their Promotions and Live Events department. Baseball was always her passion, however, so she joined the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball in 2012 as a part of their Promotions and Creative Services team. Juli joined the RubberDucks team in 2013 after Ken Babby took ownership of the then Akron Aeros, and enters her sixth season with the organization.

Juli also has a passion for the arts, and enjoys attending Broadway shows and the ballet when she goes home to Philadelphia to visit family & friends. She is a member of the auxiliary board for Ballet in the City, an organization that presents professional ballet performances, programming, and events in cities around the nation, cultivating and enhancing the unique culture of ballet in each location and beyond. She is also a die-hard University of Miami football and Philadelphia Phillies fan, and Chase Utley will always be her favorite ballplayer (no matter what team he's on).

email: jdonlen@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 285
Twitter: @milbjulix
Connect with Juli on LinkedIn


Media Relations, Broadcasting & Creative Services

Adam Liberman Director, Public & Media Relations

Adam Liberman

Bio coming soon.

email: aliberman@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 284


Jim Clark Play-by-Play Announcer

Jim Clark

Bio coming soon.

Twitter: @JimClarkPBP


Dave Wilson Director, Broadcasting/Play-By-Play Announcer

Dave Wilson

Bio coming soon.

email: dwilson@akronrubberducks.com
Twitter: @davepxp


Zach Aaron Coordinator, Creative Services

Zach Aaron

Zach is entering his 2nd season with the Akron RubberDucks. He will be overseeing the in-game presentation and making sure all RubberDucks fans have a great time at Canal Park.

Zach is an April 2016 graduate of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. Prior to arriving to Akron, Zach worked for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (AA Toronto Blue Jays) and Trenton Thunder (AA New York Yankees) of the Eastern League as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

Zach, like any other good Philadelphia, PA native, enjoys rooting on his hometown Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, and Sixers. Zach also enjoys hanging out with friends & family and relaxing during his free time.

email: zaaron@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 295

 


Scott Watkins Graphic Designer

Scott Watkins

Bio coming soon.

email: swatkins@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 290


David Monseur Team Photographer

David Monseur

Bio coming soon.

email: photos@akronrubberducks.com
Twitter: @AIPphoto


Community Relations

Alex Hawks Manager, Community Relations

 Alex Hawks

Bio coming soon.

email: ahawks@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 279


Food & Beverage

Brian Manning Director, Food & Beverage

Brian Manning

Bio coming soon.

email: bmanning@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 282


Bob Demyan Assistant Director, Food & Beverage

Bob Demyan

Bio coming soon.

email: bdemyan@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 310


James Phillips Executive Chef

James Phillips

Executive Chef James Phillips joined the Akron RubberDucks Food & Beverage Department in January 2017 to help manage culinary operations at Canal Park, including the Duck Club by Firestone and The Game Grill + Bar.

James is a graduate of the University of Akron and a lifelong resident of Northeast Ohio. His varied experience includes time spent managing a neighborhood coffee shop, creating an internet-based record label, consulting for local restaurant owners, planning and executing large-scale catering events, and cooking all manner of delicious food from comfy casual to white tablecloth.

Equally at home cooking in a commercial kitchen or over a campfire, James' unique culinary style blends traditional French technique with a hearty Midwest comfort food aesthetic and a deeply rooted love for fresh ingredients. When he's not in the kitchen, you can find James tending his small garden of herbs & vegetables or hiking in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park with his girlfriend Julia and Faye, their Akita-German Shepherd mix.

James is committed to increasing his knowledge and experience through continuing education courses, seminars, and conferences. In 2016, he attended the annual Roots Conference at The Culinary Vegetable Institute in Milan, Ohio, a two day food-focused gathering featuring discussion panels with food service and hospitality industry leaders. James is currently pursuing membership in the Cleveland chapter of the American Culinary Federation.

James' top three favorite foods are cheeseburgers, sushi, and chicken wings.

email: jphillips@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 210


Premium Experiences, Suites & Special Events

Sam Dankoff Director, Premium Experiences

 Sam Dankoff

Bio coming soon.

email: sdankoff@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 291


Field & Operations

Chris Walsh Head Groundskeeper

Chris Walsh

Bio coming soon.

email: cwalsh@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 223


Duke Walsh Director, Geese Management

Duke Walsh

Bio coming soon.

Twitter: @DukeWalsh


Adam Horner Director, Ballpark Operations

Adam Horner

Bio coming soon.

email: ahorner@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 222


Shad Gross Director, Player Facilities

Shad Gross

Bio coming soon.

email: sgross@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 232


James Parsons Assistant Director, Ballpark Operations

James Parsons

Bio coming soon.

email: jparsons@akronrubberducks.com


Merchandise

Jeff Campano Manager, Merchandise

Jeff Campano

Bio coming soon.

email: jcampano@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 263


Ticket & Group Sales

Brian Flenner Director, Ticket Operations

Brian Flenner

Bio coming soon.

email: bflenner@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 287


Jody Sellers Director, Ticket Sales

Jody Sellers

Bio coming soon.

email: jsellers@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 281


Mitch Cromes Senior Manager, Group Sales

Mitch Cromes

Mitch is heading into his 8th season with the RubberDucks, where he works to go the extra mile and provide memorable experiences for all of his clients through the sales of season tickets, mini plans, group outings and nightly suite rentals.

He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Sport Managements from Ohio Northern University, where he met the love of his life, Jennifer, and mother of their two beautiful daughters, Harper and Emerson. He moved to Akron after receiving his Master's Degree in Sport Administration from Northern Illinois University to start in the Associate Sales Program. From there, his hard work and dedication has led to his tenure with the organization.

When his is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and playing with his two dogs, Nixon and Shea.

email: mcromes@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 293


Dominic DeMarco Ticket Sales Executive

Dominic DeMarco

Bio coming soon.

email: ddemarco@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 288

 


Kyle Hixenbaugh Ticket Sales Executive

Kyle Hixenbaugh

Kyle provides excellent customer service to prospective and current clients as he sells season tickets, mini plans, group outings, picnics, and nightly suite rentals.

A native of Logan, Ohio, Kyle earned a Bachelor's degree in Sports Administration from Ohio University. Kyle worked in operations for Ohio University Baseball and Football and was the Head Coach for Logan Hocking Middle School's Baseball Program in 2016.

email: khixenbaugh@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 297

 


Roy Jacobs Ticket Sales Executive

Roy Jacobs

Bio coming soon.

email: rjacobs@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 250

 


Ryan Jones Ticket Sales Executive

Joe Mayancsik Ticket Sales Executive

Joe Mayancsik

Bio coming soon.

email: jmayancsik@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 277

 


Thyran Nowden Ticket Sales Executive

Thyran Nowden

Bio coming soon.

email: tnowden@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 286

 


Rik Segel Ticket Sales Executive

Rik Segel

Bio coming soon.

email: rsegel@akronrubberducks.com
phone: (330) 253-5151 x 294