Meet Your 2018 #DECASEM Speakers

The 2018 Sports & Entertainment Marketing Conference in Orlando, Fla., brings DECA members inside the exciting sports marketing and entertainment marketing industries.

Industry professionals from some of Orlando’s top entertainment venues and sports teams will share their backgrounds and experiences, as well as offer tips for success to DECA members in attendance.

Check out all the 2018 #DECASEM speakers below:

Eric Marshall | Vice President, Park Sales, Universal Orlando Resort

Eric Marshall has worked at Universal Orlando Resort since 1998. He started his career in the Group Sales department and has held a variety of positions over the last 18 years. In his current role, he oversees in-market sales, domestic wholesale accounts, student and youth programs, event sales and management, military sales, corporate sales and the sales team for the Blue Man Group show at CityWalk. Prior to joining Universal Orlando Resort, Eric worked in the sports business, where he spent the first several years of his career as the ticket manager for Florida Citrus Sports. He then moved to Atlanta and spent two years as a regional ticket manager for the Atlanta Olympic Games. Eric graduated from Rollins College with a degree in history in 1991. He is active in the local community and the travel industry, currently serving on the Rollins College Alumni Board and on the Student and Youth Travel Foundation Board.

Mandy Penn | Senior Director of Resort Marketing, Universal Orlando Resort

Mandy started her career walking through the same gates she still walks through today at Universal Orlando Resort. Twenty-six years later, she has held multiple positions in Attraction Operations Management, Training & Development and Sales & Marketing. In her current role, Mandy spends her days focused on developing and delivering strategic programs and products for the five Universal Orlando Resort Hotels. Since 2014, Mandy has successfully led the team in opening a new hotel every two years, and in August 2018, the next hotel will be opening when Universal’s Aventura Hotel joins the portfolio. In 2020, the hotel portfolio will offer 9,000 rooms which is a 275% increase over the 2,400 rooms offered when Mandy started her role. Mandy graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications and a master’s degree in business administration. Mandy is active in the hospitality community and serves on the Marketing Advisory Board for the HSMAI organization working with top marketing leaders in our industry providing guidance, best practices, and consultation to hospitality partners.

Eric Gray | Director of Social Media, Universal Orlando Resort

Eric Gray (@theericgray) is an 11-year veteran of social media with innovative companies like EA SPORTS, and now Universal Orlando Resort. He led the emerging Social Media Department for Universal Orlando Resort, responsible for customer engagement across all owned and earned social media channels. He has been a part of leading high impact social media campaigns like the Grand Opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. He and his team led the launch of the Universal Orlando Resort Social Media Engagement Center, helping Universal Orlando connect with its guests in real-time. He has also been a social media and content evangelist, speaking at multiple conferences around the country. This former sports radio producer turned social media marketer has a passion for brand building through fostering relationships and disruptive brand storytelling. Lastly, he was once retweeted by @BarackObama himself (or Obama’s team of social media interns).


Chris D’orso | Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations, Orlando Magic

Chris D’Orso is in his 29th season with the Orlando Magic and was promoted to senior vice president of sales and operations in July 2012. His responsibilities include overseeing the day-to-day operations of sales for the Amway Center including ticket sales, hospitality, tourism, retail, Premium sales, and ticket operations for both the Orlando Magic and Amway Center. A mainstay in the organization since the team’s inception, D’Orso joined the Magic in 1989 as the promotions/publicity coordinator. After two seasons in that capacity, he moved into the sponsorship sales department as a corporate account manager for the next three years. In 1994, D’Orso was promoted to the assistant director of marketing position, and in 1998 was promoted to director of marketing. He served as director of ticket sales and marketing from 1999, and was promoted to vice president of marketing and sales in 2002, a position he held for seven years. In 2009, he was named vice president of sales and ticket operations and promoted to senior vice president of sales and operations in 2012. D’Orso graduated in 1988 from Fairfield University with a bachelor’s degree in communications.

Chris Michalowski | Director of Experiential Learning, USTA National Campus

Chris Michalowski (“Mick”) a member of the United States Professional Tennis Association, is currently the Director of Experiential Learning at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., a position he accepted in the summer of 2016. He oversees the National Campus’ internship program, which includes positions in teaching, retail, collegiate, events, video services and USTA-U. He is responsible for creating an environment where interns can prepare for their future careers, in addition to their departmental positions, by providing additional learning opportunities and face-to-face workshops, utilizing on campus experts and the executive staff as mentors. Michalowski is also responsible for turning the campus into a “Learning Lab” where interns, teaching pros and visiting coaches can come to learn the latest innovative ways to train and teach the game of tennis. Prior to his position at the USTA, he was the director of tennis at The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, in Traverse City, Mich. During his time there, he was a two-time Michigan Pro of the Year, The Midwest Cap Leighton Pro of the Year and received the National USPTA All-Star award and the National USTA/USPTA Community Service Award for his work in building tennis in the community.

Steve Hogan | Chief Executive Officer, Florida Citrus Sports

Steve Hogan is the Chief Executive Officer for Florida Citrus Sports (FCS), a non-profit event management company that is responsible for producing the Citrus Bowl, Camping World Bowl, Camping World Kickoff, Florida Blue Florida Classic, Florida Citrus Parade and other Central Florida-based events generating economic impact, and ultimately benefiting at-risk children and educational initiatives. In 2016, Hogan was widely regarded as being the “quarterback” who brought together leaders from the public and private sector to convince the NFL to move the Pro Bowl from Honolulu and make it a week-long celebration. In 2013, Hogan was part of a group of community leaders responsible for creating LIFT Orlando, a 501-C3 organization aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty in Orlando’s at-risk communities. Hogan serves nationally as a Past Chairman of the Football Bowl Association and has served locally as chair of Leadership Orlando. Hogan started his employment at Florida Citrus Sports in 1995 in the events department. He worked his way up to become events manager, assistant executive director and ultimately interim executive director. After a nationwide search, Hogan was named the organization’s Chief Executive Officer in 2006. Hogan is a graduate of Polk State College, and later the University of Central Florida. earning a bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations from the University of Central Florida in 1991.

Jonathan (Jon) Kropp | Vice President of Digital Media, Golf Channel

Kropp joined Golf Channel in 2016 as vice president of digital media, tasked with overseeing strategic and operational initiatives to broaden the network’s range of digital offerings. Prior to joining Golf Channel, he launched J Kropp Media & Strategy, advising companies on strategy development, television and digital media programming, partnership negotiations and business development. Previously, Kropp spent more than 15 years as a Turner Sports executive, immersed in various aspects of the organization’s sports media portfolio, including and He earned an Emmy Award (New Approaches in Sports Event Coverage) for his work alongside Turner’s production team by creating content to be distributed across multiple platforms, including website, tablet, mobile device and interactive television. As a veteran sports media executive, Kropp has spent his career in pivotal roles helping marquee sports media brands navigate and succeed in a rapidly changing landscape. Throughout his career, he has developed the unique ability to leverage broadcast, web and mobile platforms into an integrated strategy to drive viewers, traffic and revenue. Kropp holds a master’s degree in business administration, as well as a master’s certificate in international sports business and economics, from Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Management. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Bates College (Maine) where he was a member of the men’s lacrosse team.

Be sure to follow #DECASEM on Twitter and Instagram to see everything that’s happening in Orlando this week!

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