Rob Wells accepting Sports Tourism award

Robert Wells '03 accepted the "Sports Tourism Organization of the Year" award for his team from the National Association of Sports Commissions.

Sport Management grad accepts national award for best sports commission

May 11, 2017

Rob Wells accepting Sports Tourism awardRobert Wells '03, second-year sports commission director in Sarasota County, Florida, recently accepted a national award naming his "Sports Visit Sarasota County" team as the "Sports Tourism Organization of the Year (Population under 400,000)" from the National Association of Sports Commissions. 

"In one year, we increased the number of events that our team managed by nearly 20 percent and generated 178 million dollars of economic impact to the Sarasota community," said Wells, a native of Ashland, Ohio and BW sport management graduate. "I am the beneficiary of the hard work of my outstanding team and the entire sports tourism community here. It was an honor to accept the award on their behalf."

Wells says leading a sports commission is complex. "The different internships I completed at BW and just after graduation were helpful in acquiring the right skill set. The skills I use the most were gained while working in BW sports information: writing, public relations and people skills have been extremely beneficial."

Overcoming Hurdles to Success

The road to success was not without bumps for the U.S. Coast Guard veteran who served two tours of duty in the Middle East. Wells had to disrupt his education at BW in 2001 when he was deployed to Kuwait during the first Gulf War, and served a second time in 2003 after receiving his degree.

In addition, he endured a career setback during the Great Recession. "My career took a detour in 2008. I found myself working meaningless jobs for several years before getting back into the sports field," he says. "I learned two things during this time. One, don't ever think you can't get to where you want to be and two, once given the opportunity, savor it and use the bad and uncomfortable times as a motivation to succeed."

For Wells, overcoming those challenges makes his current success that much sweeter.