Geneseo’s Tess Hamer had no problem jumping into the big leagues as she has been learning the ropes in the world of professional sports.
Hamer, a sophomore sports adminstration major at the University of Illinois- Champaign, has been interning this summer with the Texas Rangers baseball organization.
“We have lifelong family friends, Rick and Nancy George, and Rick is the chief operations officer for the Rangers,” she said. “My first assignment at school was to interview someone in the field, so I interviewed Rick. We had a nice talk and after our conversation he said if I ever was interested in an internship to contact him.
“It was a very good opportunity, and I didn’t want to pass it up.”
So, after finishing her first year of college, Hamer left for Texas and began her internship with the Rangers as a customer service and seasonal employees intern.
In her position, Hamer helps deal with complaints that come into the office, is in charge of all seasonal employees, makes sure everyone has badges made for stadium access and also works with payroll.
“It is a really fun job,” said Hamer. “I was very nervous my first day. It was very intimidating at first because I wanted to do the right thing, but it is very interesting seeing how everything runs and all the behind-the-scenes stuff.”
Hamer also had to opportunity learn how to deal with a variety of customer satisfaction situations from her boss Donnie Pordash.
“He would let us listen, and what I learned is you need to agree and do anything you can to make them happy,” she said. “You don’t want a bad experience to prevent someone from coming back to the ballpark.”
On game days, Hamer said she is very busy prior to the first pitch checking in employees and taking care of customers, but once the game starts her duties are done and she gets to go enjoy the game, which she watches with the Georges.
“I hadn’t missed a game since I’d been there,” said Hamer, who missed her first games to come home for Music Fest. “They were very flexible with me only being there for the summer and coming back for Music Fest. Their whole goal is for the interns to learn.”
One of the challenges Hamer faced was being the youngest intern. She said the interns come from all over the U.S. and most of them have already graduated from college.
“I really wanted to do a good job and represent the University of Illinois and Rick because he got me the internship, and I wanted to do the best I could.
“I am really enjoying not only the learning, but meeting so many people and learning how they got to where they are now.?It is important to make those connections.”
Page 2 of 2 - Hamer also has had the opportunity to learn from Rick. She is spending her summer living with the George couple.
“He was at home one night working on a big presentation and showed me what he was working on and how it would affect the organization,” she said. “Rick has been an amazing role model and has showed me if you work hard and do what you need to do you can do anything. Learning from him has been a great experience.”
Hamer said she chose sports administration as her major because sports is something she has been around her whole life.
“I have always been a huge sports fan and love the idea of helping people enjoy their leisure time,” she said. “I don’t know what I want to do after I graduate, so this opportunity was an exploration, but, after this now, I would like to pursue a career in professional sports.”
During her time with the Rangers, Hamer has just been soaking it all in and trying to learn as much as she can about the business.
“I just went into this wanting to learn and experience what it is like to work for a professional team,” she said. “It has really opened my eyes to how broad a field it is and has opened doors for me.
“The biggest thing I learned is the inner workings of a professional team and there is so much more to sponsorships than I ever knew.”
Hamer says she has really enjoyed her time with the Rangers and has assured her that this is the right direction for her.
“I have enjoyed the learning experience and it has helped me figure out what I want to do in the future,” she said. “I made the right choice. I am definitely interested in staying in baseball, but I may look into other sports for possible internships.”
Hamer will end her internship with the Rangers on July 20.
“I am definitely going to miss the people I work with and being at the stadium everyday and helping make the organization what it is,” she said. “The Rangers have a strong foundation, and I am going to miss being a part of it. I have really enjoyed my time there from the start.”