Marketing Motor Sports
Senior Manager of Relationship Marketing, International Speedway Corporation
2000 BS in MarketingW.A. Franke College of Business
As senior manager of relationship marketing for International Speedway Corporation, Aaron Radbill holds an important position in helping to promote the growth of one of the most popular spectator sports in the US. Radbill works to enhance the relationships between five of International Speedway's 12 racetracks, and their core consumers to drive attendance at major motor sports events; ultimately helping the tracks, and company as a whole, meet their strategic goals. He says that many of the skills he uses on the job every day are things he learned as a student-athlete while at Northern Arizona University.
"I learned a lot of the leadership skills that I use today," says Radbill. "In the classroom, not only is it important to understand your role and responsibility, it is equally important to know that leadership comes in taking initiative, being an active contributor and role player, volunteering to lead certain areas, and being able to draw conclusions and deliver recommendations with conviction.
Then, of course, as a student-athlete you have a lot of freshmen and sophomores that you try to help adapt to college life. Also, being a competitive athlete definitely taught me time management. That helped me not only in graduate school but in the work force today."
As a student athlete, Radbill learned more than just time management, "It's about being competitive. The workplace is a competitive environment, whether you're interviewing for a job, or have a job and want to achieve your goals and succeed, there's heavy competition," says Radbill. "Competition for the job you want, competition within your company, or competition in your industry."
Radbill came to NAU as a tennis recruit. He was trying his hand at being a professional tennis player while maintaining amateur status when he met the university's head men's tennis coach. When Radbill came to Flagstaff for a visit, he was sold.
"I had never been to the west, but when I came for a recruiting trip, I fell in love with the place. I fell in love with Flagstaff's unique environment," says Radbill. "There's such a variety of things you can do. I liked the idea that if I wanted to ski, I could go ski. If I wanted to go camping, I could go camping. If I wanted to bake in the sun I could just drive 20-30 miles down I-17."
While at NAU, Radbill received the Golden Eagle Award for student-athlete academic achievement, was a member of the student-athlete advisory committee, and served as an ambassador for the NAU Centennial Celebration. From there, he took the next step toward his dream of a career in sports administration by working with the university's Athletics department to help execute events and operations for football and basketball games in the Walkup Skydome.
"I don't think people truly realize what goes on behind the scenes to market and execute events like a college football game, the Indianapolis 500, or the Daytona 500: there's a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes," says Radbill. "Working with the Athletics department helped me understand what it takes to put on high profile events, laying a foundation for what would eventually be part of my academic curriculum in graduate school and my eventual career in motor sports."
Relationship-building is another area that Radbill credits with his success: in sports, academically, and professionally. "The relationships I built with my teammates and classmates were positive because they helped us learn to work together to achieve success, on the court, and in the classroom," says Radbill.
Those experiences, Radbill says, have proven invaluable in helping him create and maintain a bond between consumers and the track, consumers and the sport, and consumers and drivers. "I learned those lessons at NAU and apply them to my career today."
Radbill says everyone can benefit, on both personal and career levels, from being a part of university life. He says he took away valuable lessons from his involvement in sports, friendships with classmates and professors, and time in the classroom. He advises future students to set a goal and do everything possible to go after it.
"Experience all the university has to offer. If you have a goal, be driven to reach it. If you don't have one, make sure you are exposed to as much as you can so that you can figure out what you want to do," says Radbill. "From there, be driven to learn as much as you can in that field so that you can succeed in the professional world. Relationships are a major key to success no matter what direction you choose to go in your professional career. From your classmates to your professors to anyone that you work with, its a small world out there. Maintain the relationships you cultivate because you never know when you will find yourself working with or needing assistance from those individuals."