Main Speaker, Paul Hightower: Duquesne Senior Assistant AD/Facilities and Events


Paul started the athletic academic advising program at Radford as a GA and stayed one extra year. He also served as an assistant director of the athletic facilities at the same time. He moved on to St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and started their academic advising program from scratch as the director of athletic academic services. He moved on to Duquesne University as an assistant AD and was in charge of all of business, travel, and game operations. After 20 years and staff expansion, he moved to the assistant AD for facilities, operations, and home events.

Zach Henderson: Director, Group Sales at Comcast Spectacor 

Zach Henderson, an IUP alumnus (’13), has moved around the sports industry. Formerly working for the Indianapolis Colts as the director of ticket sales and service, Henderson has moved his way up the ladder with different positions in the sports industry. He started as IUP’s Sports Business Conference marketing intern (April 2010–May 2012). After graduating from IUP, Henderson started working for the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he held two positions for four years (June 2013–August 2017). Henderson moved on to working with the Washington Nationals as the manager of inside sales, then worked as the director of ticket sales. Henderson was with the Nationals for almost five years, which allowed him to be a part of the World Series win in 2018.

Jordan Albright: Assistant Athletic Director/Ticket Sales at US Naval Academy

Jordan albright photoJordan Albright serves as an assistant athletic director for ticket sales and advertising. Prior to Navy, Albright worked for IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions at Penn State, where he set both the all-time new revenue record and season ticket record in one season. He has also worked for the Houston Astros in ticket sales. Albright graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in sports administration. The Shippensburg, PA, native currently resides in Annapolis with his wife Abby, daughter Tatum, and son Keller.

Jeremy Almazan: Off-ice Official/Arena Technician

Jeremy AlmazanJeremy resides in Pittsburgh, PA. While serving his country in the Air Force, Jeremy got his first job in sports selling tickets for the Abilene Aviators of the Western Professional Hockey League. Upon retiring from the military, Jeremy started with instant replay in both the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball. In December, he also earned his degree in business administration from Penn State.

Erika Siegel: Manager of Guest Experiences at Acrisure Stadium

Erika Siegel headshotErika currently works as the manager of guest experience with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Acrisure Stadium. Prior to this role, she spent five seasons with the Buffalo Bills, having worked in customer service and guest services. As manager of guest experience, Erika oversees all game-day guest services team members, manages the daily stadium tour operations, and leads a stadium operations intern development program.

She was a Division I athlete at Niagara University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sport management and an MBA in strategic management. She serves on the Young Professionals Committee for the International Association of Venue Managers. Prior to her time with the Buffalo Bills, Erika worked in various capacities with Syracuse University, the Syracuse Crunch (AHL), and the Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission.

Derek Partsch: Director of Business Operations for the Johnstown Tomahawks

Derek partsch photoDerek Partsch is in his fifth season as director of business operations and eighth overall for the Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL. He oversees the day-to-day business operations with a majority focus on sponsorship and ticket sales. He also hires and manages all front office staff and interns. Derek also oversees the operations of the Johnstown Tomahawks Foundation, the team’s charitable component. Prior to joining the Tomahawks, Derek worked for the Pittsburgh Pirates community relations department during the 2011 and 2012 MLB seasons. In addition to his full-time role, Derek also owns his own custom apparel and promotional product business. “Be a good person” projects are also important to Derek. He cofounded his nonprofit organization, Second Chance Fundraising, in spring 2016 after his best friend received a life-saving heart transplant. To date, the organization has raised and donated over $250,000 to organ donation awareness initiatives in western Pennsylvania. In his very limited spare time, Derek is a volunteer women’s softball coach at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, Pennsylvania.

Connor Siskovic: Director of Ticket Sales for the Pittsburgh Penguins

Connor SiskovicConnor Siskovic is the director of ticket sales for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He joined the Penguins in February 2023 and is responsible for overseeing the New Business, Groups, and Inside Sales teams. Prior to joining the Penguins, Connor worked as the general manager of ticket sales and service for Vanderbilt University through Learfield Amplify. He also spent four years at Syracuse University in their Ticket Sales Department, where he earned his MBA.

Chad Westerburg: Vice President of Business Operations at Erie Otters Hockey Club

Chad WesterburgChad Westerburg is currently the Vice President of Business Operations for the Erie Otters. In his current role, he oversees the day-to-day business operations with a primary focus on ticket sales, sponsorship and marketing. Prior to the Otters, Chad has experience in various sales and marketing roles with teams such as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, University of Pittsburgh Athletic Department, Reading Royals and San Diego Gulls. 

Chad graduated IUP in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in sport administration and minor in business. After graduation, he decided to return to IUP to earn his master's in Sport Administration and was the graduate assistant for the annual IUP Sports Business Conference. 

Brett Cook: Vice President/General Manager at Seven Springs, Hidden Valley, and Laurel Mountain

Brett CookBrett Cook is a graduate of Kutztown University in 2005, where he studied Business Administration with a focus in Marketing. He got his start in his professional career as a Director of Operations with Liberty Mountain Resort. He then held the position of General Manager with Whitetail Ski Resort, and Roundtop Mountain Resort, before ultimately reaching his currenty postion he took in 2022 as VP and General Manager of Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

Christina Nellis: Human Resources Specialist at Pittsburgh Pirates

Christina has been with the Pittsburgh Pirates for 13 seasons. She started her career in 2010 when she obtained a guest relations internship. In 2011, she was a customer service representative. Christina moved into her first full-time role with the Pirates in 2012 as the cleaning operations coordinator. In 2016, she transitioned to the human resources team as a human resources specialist. She was promoted to her current role of HR generalist in 2019.

Christina graduated from IUP in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in sport administration. She is currently obtaining her master's degree from Saint Francis University in human resource management.

Michael Kosnosky: Director of Athletic Facilities and Operations at Saint Francis University

Mike kosnoski photoMike Kosnosky is in his third year as director of athletic facilities at Saint Francis University, where he is responsible for all day-to-day operations of athletic facilities and game management strategies. Mike earned his bachelor of science degree in sport administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2015 and his master's of educational leadership in 2020. Prior to his time at SFU, Mike traveled the country as a member of USA Football's equipment and operations team, where he assisted in managing equipment and games at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, and Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. Mike also spent time as an athletic facility specialist at Youngstown State, where he served as game manager and facility representative of women's soccer, women's volleyball, and all Ursuline High School football games at Stambaugh Stadium.

A Western PA native, Mike earned his bachelor of science degree in sport administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2015 and master's of educational leadership from Saint Francis University in 2020

Before Youngstown State, Kosnosky was an athletic facilities and operations graduate assistant at Saint Francis University for two years. Kosnosky earned his master’s degree in education from Saint Francis University in May 2020.

Matt Reinsel: Assistant Director of Compliance at University of Pittsburgh

Matt ReinselMatt is a graduate of St. John's University (NYC) with a Masters of Sports Management from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is the Assistant Director of Compliance- Eligibility at the University of Pittsburgh Athletics. He is an experienced athletics compliance professional with 6+ years of division 1 experience at a multitude of levels (D-1AAA, and D-1 FCS). He is a member of the NCAA Eligibility Center Advisory group, as well as a current nominee to join the NCAA High School Review Committee.

Dan Minnicks: Owner, Apex Performance Integration Head Sports Performance and Fitness Coach

Dan MinnicksDan Minnicks is the owner and head fitness and sports performance coach at Apex Performance Integration in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is passionate about helping those who settle for nothing but the best for themselves. Throughout his career, he has worked with athletes from the youth level to the pro level, including Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, as well as adult national figure skaters. In addition to working with a wide range of adult clientele, Dan is also honored and proud to coach and be a consultant to members of the United States Military and Law Enforcement. He also is a mentor to coaches and practitioners across the globe.

Kaan Akbay: Fan Service Representative for Philadelphia Union

KaanAkbayKaan is a 2021 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania where he studied Physcial Education/Sports Administration. He has worked within the Indiana, PA community even beyond his gradaution as a high school lacross assistant coach. He currently holds a position with the Philadelphia Union professional soccer team, and resides in Philadelphia

Brandyn Ott: Associate Director, Wellness and Recreation at University of Pittsburgh

Brandyn ott headshotA driven professional deeply rooted in higher education and wellness programming. Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Human Services and a Master of Science in Sport Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, my expertise lies in exercise science, physical education, and sports management. Currently, Brandon serves as the Interim Associate Director of Wellness and Recreation Programs at the University of Pittsburgh, where I spearhead strategic planning, program development, and project management initiatives for our cutting-edge recreation and wellness facilities. With a fervent commitment to inclusivity and impactful wellness initiatives, he is passionate about enriching the collegiate experience through comprehensive fitness programs and collaborative campus endeavors.

Nathan Holtz: Assistant Director of Facilities and Operations at Penn State University

Nathan Holtz Nathan Holtz is a Pennsylvania native and currently serves as the assistant director for facilities and operations for campus recreation at Penn State University. He received his bachelor's degree in sport administration and his master's degree in sports management, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Prior to working for Penn State Campus Recreation, Nathan spent a little over three years working for university recreation at the University of Alabama as a coordinator for facility operations. During this time, he helped oversee operations of their Student Recreation Center, Robert E. Witt Student Activity Center, and the Parker-Haun Tennis Complex. Before starting his career in campus recreation, Nathan worked in various part-time jobs and internships in athletics while completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Steve McCune: Assistant Director of Risk Management and Facilities at University of Pittsburgh


Steven McCune (he/him) is a seasoned professional with a BA in communication from the University of Pittsburgh and an MS in sport studies from IUP. He currently serves as assistant director, facilities and risk management for the University of Pittsburgh's Campus Recreation Department in the Division of Student Affairs. Steven has worked at Boston College, Duke University, and the YMCA of Central Florida's aquatics programs. 

With a focus on sports risk management, wisdom-based leadership, and effective communication strategies, Steven brings a wealth of expertise to the table. Having navigated diverse challenges in the sports industry, he is passionate about integrating these wisdom-based leadership principles into risk management practices. 

His theories foster resilience in staff retention while maintaining a successful record in safety. By committing to creating space and time for open dialogue and collaboration, Steven is dedicated to advancing the field of risk management through innovative solutions and strategic communication approaches.

Phoebe Bowers: Assistant General Manager at Johnstown Mill Rats

Phoebe BowersPhoebe Bowers is a Pittsburgh native and a recent graduate from Robert Morris University. Her work within the sports industry began as an intern for the Johnstown Mill Rats in 2022; since then, she has committed herself to the team and was recently promoted to assistant general manager. As one of the youngest assistant general managers in the sports industry, Phoebe takes pride in the efforts she's made, not only within the Johnstown Mill Rats' organization but the industry as a whole.

Whitney Crull: Director of the Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness, and Well-Being at Elizabethtown College

Whitney CrullWhitney Crull is a double alumna from IUP graduating with her BS in sports management in 2010 followed by her MS in sports studies in 2012. While pursuing her master’s degree, she managed the James G Mill Fitness Center, which opened multiple doors for her such as internships and positions with Gannon Athletics and the Altoona Curve. Upon graduation, she worked in North Carolina as the assistant director of campus recreation at the University of Mount Olive, where she managed everything from the fitness center to intramural sports, off-campus trips, and group fitness classes. That led her to take a position in the Campus Recreation Department at the University of Pittsburgh where she started as the competitive and recreational sports coordinator, organizing over 80 club sports teams and overseeing the construction of the Pitt Sports Dome. She quickly advanced to assistant director of campus fitness and managed all 16 fitness facilities. Whitney joined Elizabethtown College in January 2019, where she currently works as the first-ever director of the Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness, and Well-Being, a brand-new 82,000-square-foot wellness facility. She currently resides in Lancaster, PA, with her husband and two daughters.

Rob Waller: Advantage Sport and Fitness Sales Director

RobWallerRobbie is originally from Southwestern Pennsylvania. Since joining Advantage in 2013, he has been covering his home territory in Western Pennsylvania as well as West Virginia. He truly appreciates every person he has the good fortune of meeting through this job and he loves that he is able to build lasting relationships in that way.

Robbie spent the last 10 years prior to joining ASF in the college coaching ranks, where he was an assistant coach at the University of Missouri, head assistant coach at his alma mater, and head coach at Lock Haven University. Robbie earned his master's degree from the University of Missouri and his bachelor's from the University of Oklahoma. He was named two-time All-American and 2003 NCAA Division I National wrestling champion for the University of Oklahoma.

Outside of work, Robbie stays active by spending time with his son and his wife, Clare. He is an avid fisherman and loves to spend time with his family by getting his son involved as well.