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Meet the Staff: Mike Centanni, Kristin Dubinski & Jess Lott

October 25, 2011

ORLANDO -- In a new feature on OrlandoMagic.com, we will go behind the scenes and learn more about those who help this franchise flourish on a daily basis.

In this edition, we check in with Mike Centanni, Kristin Dubinski and Jess Lott, another three key members of the organization.

As Senior Ticket Sales Account Executive, some of Centanni's responsibilities include developing new business revenue for the Orlando Magic organization by full-menu product sales of season tickets, premium seats, partial plans, group tickets and hospitality areas through in-arena tours, external appointments, and phone prospecting.

As Group Sales Account Executive, Dubinski's primary responsibilities include generating revenue for the Orlando Magic organization via full-menu product sales of season tickets, partial plans, group tickets and hospitality to companies and individuals.

As Ticket Sales Service Manager, Lott works within ticket sales leadership to develop and implement department short and long-term business goals and objectives. He assists with the strategy and execution of all ticket sales campaigns, fulfills corresponding new season ticket holder and partial plan benefits, and manages the ticket sales service coordinators and interns.


1) What has been your most memorable experience since you started working for the Magic?

RESPONSE

Centanni
I have had a lot of great memories over the past 10 years, but nothing can compare to the 2009 NBA playoffs and Finals. It was amazing to see the Central Florida community rally around the Magic.

Dubinski
The 2009 NBA Finals was hands-down one of the most memorable experiences for me in the 7 seasons I’ve been with the Magic. The passion that ran through the city every day during our playoff run was unbelievable. It was so exciting to drive to work and see the support of the community through car flags and magnets, no matter where you were in Orlando there was Magic fans! Having the Magic ownership fly the staff out to LA for game 2 was something I will never forget. The Lakers fans did not know what was going on when we invaded the Staples Center with our superman capes and our rally rackets. Now that I know what is like for the Magic to be in the NBA Finals I can’t wait to experience it again!

Lott
I’ve been fortunate to be part of many memorable and extraordinary experiences during my tenure with the Magic. The moment that stands alone at the top is when we beat Boston in Game 6 in the second round of the playoffs and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in May 2009. My colleague, Andrew Bekemeyer, and I were called to carry out a Wall St. watch party on behalf of the event presentation department who was in Boston for the game. Andrew and I worked as a team with the Magic Flight Crew, Magic Marketing interns, and in-house DJ to put on an outstanding and electric event. Both bars were jam-packed with diehard Magic fans. When the team put the game out of reach, you could feel an excitement and energy level that was truly amazing. It was an experience that you had to be there to understand the emotions running through the crowd…we all knew the Magic had ‘arrived’ and were destined for continued success on the hardwood.




2) What is the best aspect about working for the Magic?

RESPONSE

Centanni
Having worked in professional sports for over 20 years I can easily say that the Orlando Magic organization and ownership is the best in professional sports!

The mindset and culture that exists is not just lip service but felt in everything we do. The Devos family instills their family values throughout the organization and cares as much for you when you’re not at work as when you are.

Dubinski
The ownership is the best in sports! I have many other friends who work for all different leagues and nothing compares to the “Magic Family” we have here.

I can’t believe that I have a job where I get to talk about sports all day, and where reading articles on ESPN.com is considered product knowledge. I love basketball and I feel extremely fortunate to have a job that I truly enjoy!

Lott
The best aspect of the Orlando Magic organization is the ownership. We are a leader in the professional sports industry because of the DeVos family. They embody excellence in serving the Central Florida community, building a championship caliber team, and fostering a healthy and responsive work culture.




3) If you could play any sport professionally, what sport would it be and what position would you want to play?

RESPONSE

Centanni
I always wanted to be an Olympic Wrestler. Growing up in Wisconsin I started wrestling when I was 6 years old through college and had respect for the athletes that represented the United States.

Dubinski
I would love to be an Olympic track athlete. I ran Division 1 Track and Cross Country in College and consider running a big part of my life. I enjoy the excitement of each race, and the training leading up to it. I love the spirit of competition and the feeling of knowing I left it all on the line. I find the 800m the most exciting middle distance race in track and consider it an extended sprint race. Nothing beats crossing the finish line and looking up at the clock at a new PR.

Lott
I would be a shooting guard for the Orlando Magic.




4) Growing up, who was your favorite professional athlete?

RESPONSE

Centanni
From an early age I always looked up to and admired Dan Gable, the greatest wrestling coach in NCAA history. He had a drive and determination that was contagious throughout the wrestling world. I remember having two quotes taped on my dresser mirror growing up.

“When you finally decide how successful you really want to be, you’ve got to set priorities. Then, each and every day, you’ve got to take care of the top ones. In 25 years as a head coach and assistant, I think I might have missed one practice. Why? Because practice is my top priority. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t accomplish something in my family life or my profession because those two things are my top priorities."

“Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.”

Dubinski
Growing up in the suburbs of Philly I have always been a fan of all the Philadelphia sports teams. The team that sticks out the most is the 93 Phillies. I remember going to games at the old Veterans Stadium with my family when I was younger and cheering on my favorite player John Kruk.

Marion Jones was an athlete that I followed since she was at North Carolina running track and I always admired her athletic ability. Even though she has made some mistakes throughout her career, I still think she is an incredible athlete!

Lott
Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson. My dad grew up in Lansing, Michigan and saw Magic’s progression from high school to Michigan State and then to the LA Lakers. Some of my favorite memories as a kid growing up were watching the Lakers and ‘Showtime’.




5) What advice would you give to others who hope to one day work for a professional sports organization?

RESPONSE

Centanni
Be prepared! You never know when the opportunity will present itself. Surround yourself with good people who will help mentor you for long term success.

Once you have an opportunity work hard and continue to learn. That will keep you there!

Dubinski
Network and gain as many experiences you can working in sports. I used to volunteer every year for the X-Games and the DEW Tour, I didn’t realize how important volunteer opportunities like that were until I was able to apply those experiences when interviewing.

Lott
My best advice would be to begin networking early and consider interning for a professional or collegiate sports team. I learned early on that ‘relationships determine results’ in professional sports organizations.