CURVE, Pa. - Altoona Curve Director of Community Relations Elsie Gibney and Director of Creative Services John Foreman, have both retired from baseball following long, successful tenures with the club, it was announced today.
In addition, the Curve have promoted two staff members and hired two of their interns to full-time status. Mike Passanisi, who handles all of the club's communications and broadcasting duties, has been elevated to Assistant General Manager, Communications. Steffan Langguth, previously a ticket sales associate, is now Box Office Manager. Emily Erickson and Courtney Simpson, who served the club as front office interns each of the last two seasons, have moved into full-time positions. Erickson is the club's new Special Events Manager and All-Star Game Coordinator. Simpson has been named Community Relations Manager.
Gibney, who joined the Curve in 2000 as a group sales intern while finishing up at Frostburg (MD) State University, was hired as Community Relations Manager in 2001. Eventually promoted to Director of Community Relations, she served in that department for 13 seasons. Well-known in the community for her outreach on behalf of the club and personally, Gibney's passion for helping and finding a way to say "yes" for the thousands of requests for assistance will be a lasting hallmark.
In addition to scheduling community appearances for players and mascots and filling requests for donations, Gibney was instrumental in developing and planning special events at the ballpark and beyond on behalf of the club. During games, Gibney ran the Laurel Eye Clinic Customer Service Booth, assisted with on-field promotions and charitable auctions, and helped coordinate the team's popular Field of Dreams program.
"Elsie will be greatly missed by our organization," said Curve General Manager Rob Egan. "She was the face of the Curve in the community and became so ingrained that people knew they could turn to her for help with their charity, cause, or event. If the answer wasn't an immediate 'yes', she figured out a way to make it happen. She is such a special person and a treasure for our community. While we will miss her, we're thrilled she will now be able to spend more time with her family. We are confident Elsie will still continue to be involved in the community helping out on a personal basis because that's who she is."
Foreman, who first joined the Curve in 2003 as a video production intern, spent a total of ten seasons with the club in various roles - the last five as Director of Creative Services. In his most recent role, he was responsible for all of the audio and video elements of the team's in-game entertainment, all of the video content on the Curve's website and social media pages, and a bulk of the graphic design needs for the club. Foreman was also instrumental in helping prepare presentations of all kinds (print, audio, TV) and producing the Curve's television commercials.
"John's work speaks for itself," said Egan. "He has done remarkable things with our in-game entertainment - particularly his creative video board productions. John has also been the ultimate 'team player' assisting our entire operation with his skill, experience, and leadership in entertainment, graphic design, and the audio-visual media. Fans got a big league experience here at the ballpark the last several years largely because of his work. We will miss John and wish him the best in his new opportunity."
Passanisi, who joined the Curve in 2010 as a seasonal communications/broadcasting assistant, became the full-time Director of Communications and lead radio play-by-play broadcaster by the end of that campaign. In his new role of Assistant General Manager/Communications, Passanisi will continue to oversee all the team's communications - radio broadcasts, website, social media, game programs, media guides, specialty printed pieces, email newsletters, and media releases - while increasing his contributions in the marketing and promotional event departments of the franchise.
"Mike has truly earned this promotion," said Egan. "His work ethic, attention to detail, desire to improve the operation with new ideas, and his excellence in effectively communicating through traditional and new media made this an easy decision. He is ready to take on even more of a leadership role on our staff."
Langguth, a Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School and University of Pittsburgh graduate, begins his third year with the club with the promotion to Box Office Manager. Langguth served as a Ticket Associate each of his first two years and showed steady growth in the sales and customer service aspects of his position. While continuing to assist individuals and groups with their ticket and hospitality needs at the ballpark, Langguth will take over all aspects of the box office including the management of the team's ticketing system, coordination of season ticket, suite, group, picnic, and individual ticket fulfillment, and oversight of seasonal ticket office interns.
"Steffan has taken great strides in his first two years with us," said Egan. "He is ready to build on his sales and customer service abilities with the new responsibilities as box office manager. We are looking forward to his continued growth in this role."
Erickson, a graduate of Hollidaysburg Area High School and the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, joins the Curve full-time after two seasons as a front office intern. She also worked for the team as a game day employee in the Curve Stockyard merchandise store and Galliker's Fun Zone for several seasons during high school and college. In her position as Special Events Manager and All-Star Game Coordinator, Emily will guide the Curve's efforts in both non-game and day-of -game special events like the Holiday Bazaar, Guinness Irish Festival, and Yuengling Oktoberfest. For the next several months, she will also be the club's liaison for all aspects of the 2014 Eastern League All-Star Game and its associated festivities which will take place in Altoona in July.
Simpson, a graduate of Cumberland Valley High School (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, also spent the last two seasons as a front office intern with the Curve. As Community Relations Manager, Simpson is responsible for coordinating the team's community appearances, charitable donations, mascot scheduling, and game-day customer service duties. Simpson will also manage the Pirates' Community Commitment Program in making sure Curve players have ample opportunity to do community service projects in the region during the baseball season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.