Army Vet Fight’s through Pandemic’s Dark Cloud to Find Silver Lining
Over the past year, the COVID pandemic has pushed many business to the brink and put a large number of people out of work. Yet, it has also forced others to think differently and adapt under trying conditions. Online student Chris Hughes is one of those people. Since being medically discharged from the Army in 2009, he’s been working for 151 Sports Marketing. As director of operations, he oversees showcase and recruiting events for large high schools and small colleges across the country which can draw upwards of 12,000 fans and coaches.
“In a typical year, we normally plan about 18-months in advance and begin the steps that it takes to put on the events,” says Chris. “Planning is crucial and consists of many steps to include venue procurement, selling sponsorships and acquiring a title sponsor, and many other logistical items such as site security, catastrophic insurance, and corporate hospitality. However, with the pandemic in full effect, our company had not been able to execute any of the planned events for 2020, and it has forced us to shift our focus and change how we conduct business completely.
“While the pandemic has been a crushing blow to many companies, I think it’s also presented opportunities for others to thrive and capture market space. I feel that in a round-about-way, it’s given many companies a chance to change the scope of their operations and find new ways to serve their customers.”
“I feel I’ve been able to take the knowledge that I’ve learned at ECPI University and apply it to my work as I progress through my courses. Whether dealing with accounting, marketing, or just management decisions in general, I feel I’ve been able to greatly improve my work performance because of what I’ve learned at ECPI.”– Chris Hughes, Online Project Management Student
That’s exactly what Chris and his company have done. He’s about to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Project Management and has put what he’s been learning to considerable use. “Because it’s nearly impossible to fill 12,000 seat stadiums right now, we’ve begun hosting football recruiting combines, events where the on-field athletic performances are captured in live-streamed video for college coaches to see,” he says. “We’ve also learned through this process that we can operate just as efficiently in a virtual setting, and that in many instances, our productivity has greatly increased. We are no longer making in-person sales pitches to companies for sponsorship and advertising. We now host these meetings virtually and save considerable amounts of time and travel expenses, and meet with multiple companies a day instead of just one.
“With the changes that we’ve put in place for 2020 and 2021, we feel certain that they’ll be able to save us money moving forward and will also allow us to operate more efficiently. While nothing can completely replace hosting live and in-person events, we’ve learned that we can find alternative ways to conduct our business and remain profitable, so while 2020 has been a very trying year for us all, we’ve found a way to make the very best of the circumstances and find a way to turn a detriment into a positive step forward.
“I feel I’ve been able to take the knowledge that I’ve learned at ECPI University and apply it to my work as I progress through my courses,” he says. “Whether dealing with accounting, marketing, or just management decisions in general, I feel I’ve been able to greatly improve my work performance because of what I’ve learned at ECPI.