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Business Operations

Staff Directors

Through a career that has spanned more than 25 years with Ilitch Holdings Inc., Mike Bayoff currently holds the position of Director of Strategic Hockey Alliances for the Detroit Red Wings. In his current position, Bayoff is responsible for all college hockey events at Joe Louis Arena, youth marketing and fan development, all alumni-related programs and interactions with the Red Wings Alumni Association and its members. Bayoff was instrumental in securing the Big Ten Hockey Championships for 2015 and 2017 at The Joe and has coordinated large off-ice programing, such as the Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park in December 2013.

Bayoff started his career with Ilitch Holdings, Inc., as a Marketing Manager for Little Caesars and served in the Little Caesars Creative Marketing Department. Bayoff also held the title of Director of Publishing and Creative Services, in which he produced 11 different books for the Red Wings and Tigers, Inside Hockeytown Magazine, yearbooks, media guides and much more. In 1999, Bayoff assumed the internet responsibility for Olympia Entertainment, oversaw and created, which was the first paid for website launched by a professional sports franchise. Additionally, Bayoff oversaw the Little Caesars Triple-A Hockey Program and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League, serving as the President of the Executive Board for more than eight years, before assuming his current position as Director of Strategic Alliances.

Bayoff holds a bachelor's degree in communications and marketing from Central Michigan University. He and his wife Susan have two children and reside in suburban Detroit.

Todd Beam was named Director of Public Relations in November 2013. In his current role, Beam oversees all aspects of the team's media relations and handles both broadcast requests and interview requests for players, coaches and management. His department is responsible for producing all team publications including the regular season and postseason media guides, NHL game notes and team press releases. Beam also travels with the team to handle media relations during road games and manages all team services on the road including team flights, hotels, buses, meals and player ticket requests.

Beam joined the Red Wings in June 2001 as a Season Ticket Account Representative and was promoted to Marketing Assistant in 2003. In that position, he helped in the development and execution of the team's season-long marketing plans, while also assisting in the promotion of annual college hockey events held at Joe Louis Arena, including the Great Lakes Invitational and the Michigan-Michigan State game. After five seasons in the marketing department as both an Assistant and Coordinator, Beam joined the Red Wings' public relations staff as Media Relations Manager in 2008.

The Williamsville, N.Y., native played four seasons of college hockey at Geneseo State University (SUNY) before graduating in 1998 with a Bachelor's degree in economics. Beam and his wife, Mary, currently reside in Grosse Pointe, Mich.

Paul Bee was named Director of Ticket Sales for the Detroit Red Wings in August 2013. Prior to being named Director, he held the position of Group Sales Manager and Inside Sales Manager for the Red Wings. In his current position, Bee is responsible for meeting and exceeding ticket sales revenue goals by overseeing three ticket sales departments. These teams consist of the Group Sales, Inside Sales, and Account Executive Sales teams. In addition, Bee ensures the goal of keeping the Detroit Red Wings sell-out streak alive stays front of mind for the entire sales and service staff.

Prior to joining the Detroit Red Wings as a Group Sales Account Executive in 2010, Bee spent four years with the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association and Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League where he worked his way from an Inside Sales Account Executive, to Group Events Specialist and ended as a Night Sales Manager / Business Development Specialist.

Bee earned his Bachelors of Arts degree in business and communications from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he was a track and basketball athlete. The Mattawan, Mich., native graduated from Mattawan High School and currently resides in Berkley, Mich.

Through a career that has spanned more than 20 years with Ilitch Holdings, Inc., James Bullo currently holds the title of Assistant General Manager and Director of Operations for Olympia Entertainment and the Detroit Red Wings. In his current position, Bullo is responsible for all facility and event operations at Joe Louis Arena. Additionally, Bullo handles oversight of the office services department.

Bullo joined Olympia Entertainment in 1996 as a Box Office Auditor and General Accountant in which he was tasked with internal audit of box office sales and cash handling procedures. Bullo was named the Assistant Controller for Olympia Entertainment in 1999 and his responsibilities included management of the accounting staff and monthly P&L reports for Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Arena and Hockeytown Authentics merchandise store. He moved to Operations in 2003.

Bullo earned a Bachelor of Arts in accounting from Michigan State University and a Master's degree in business administration from Wayne State University. He currently resides in Grosse Pointe, Mich., with his wife, Jennifer, son, Jack, and daughter, Grace.

With nearly 40 years of experience in the restaurant and food industry, Michael Berend is the Director of Hospitality for Olympia Entertainment. Berend joined Olympia Entertainment and the Detroit Red Wings in his current role in September 1993 and is responsible for overseeing all hospitality operations at Joe Louis Arena, including the Olympia Club, Suite Level, catering and all premium food and beverage.

Prior to joining Olympia Entertainment, Berend worked at numerous restaurants throughout the country and state of Michigan. He was the Chef de Cuisine at Les Auteurs in Royal Oak, Mich., in which he was responsible for all kitchen operations of the restaurant, catering and gourmet take-out delicatessen. Berard also served as an Executive Chef at Dolce in New York, N.Y., where he oversaw the opening of a 150-seat restaurant in Manhattan, including menu planning, hiring of kitchen staff, purchasing, receiving and overall kitchen supervision. Berend trained under Chef Wolfgang Puck in Los Angeles, worked as an Executive Sous Chef in Stamford, Conn., a Sous Chef and Chef de Partie in New York, N.Y., and interned at Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Stateline, Nev.

Berend graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. He currently resides in Brighton, Mich.

Kevin Brown was named Director of Community Relations & Detroit Red Wings Foundation in December 2015. In his current role, Brown is responsible for overseeing a staff dedicated to developing the Red Wings' strategic efforts to innovatively elevate Metro Detroit communities through the power of hockey. Additionally, Brown manages the Detroit Red Wings Foundation's efforts to raise funds and awareness in support of opportunities that provide local youth with unparalleled access to the sport of hockey throughout the region. In 2015-16, Red Wings players, staff, partners and fans contributed more than $1 million in monetary and in-kind donations, as well as 900 hours of service, to Michigan nonprofit organizations.

Prior to joining the Red Wings, Brown was Senior Manager of Community Relations at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In that role, he was responsible for developing a multifaceted community outreach strategy that engaged Buccaneers players, staff, and partners with nonprofit organizations throughout west central Florida. Brown has also worked at Durek Enterprises, FedEx Freight and supported the National Football League's community relations efforts for Super Bowls 43-50.

Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from the University of South Florida. He currently resides in Detroit.

Ryan Coyle was named the Director of Premium Sales for Olympia Entertainment in March 2010. In his current role, Coyle manages a business development team responsible for large and continuous revenue growth in all areas of the business relative to corporate partners.

Prior to joining Olympia Entertainment, Coyle spent five years with Palace Sports and Entertainment as a Sales and Marketing Executive where he managed major corporate accounts and coordinated communications with key decision makers and clients to increase sales for the organization..

Coyle, who currently resides in Ferndale, Mich., earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Sales and Business Marketing and Management from Western Michigan University's Haworth College of Business, and received his Master of Business Administration

Rob Croll was named the Director of Corporate Partnership for the Detroit Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment in July 2010. In his position, Croll is responsible for meeting and exceeding revenue goals for both in-stadium and out-of-venue partnerships for several entities, including the Red Wings, Fox Theatre, College Hockey, Red Wings Radio Network and FOX Sports TV on a local, regional and national level. In addition, Croll has played an integral part in developing and extending partnerships for Little Caesars Arena, the new home for the Red Wings, other sports and entertainment events, concerts, family shows and community functions set to open in September 2017.

Prior to joining the Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment in December 2008 as a Senior Account Executive, Croll was the Director of Sports Sales at CBS Sports Marketing and was in charge of the sales staff for the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions and Detroit Red Wings radio networks. Croll also served as the Director of Sales for Michigan Sports Network for more than six years, in which he represented University of Michigan Athletics with media and sponsorship sales.

Croll earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from DePauw University and a Master's Degree in sports administration from Ohio University. The Mount Pleasant, Mich., native graduated from Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart Academy High School and currently resides in Birmingham, Mich.

Dave Deckert was named the Director of Ticket Operations for Joe Louis Arena in 2008. In his current role, Deckert oversees all box office ticketing systems, sales processes and daily operations of the Joe Louis Arena box office. Deckert is also responsible for building seat configurations for all sporting events and helping manage inventory, presales, onsales, special offers and day of event sales for all Red Wings games and entertainment events held at Joe Louis Arena. Additionally, Deckert works closely with the Sales and Marketing departments to ensure all sales initiatives are fulfilled, along with providing assistance in the area of customer service to maintain positive rapport with facility users and the ticket buying public.

Deckert started his career with Olympia Entertainment in 1994 in the phone sales department for the Detroit Tigers. He then moved to the Red Wings side in 1995 as a Box Office Ticket Seller for Joe Louis Arena. Deckert was promoted to Joe Louis Box Office Administrator in 2003 and again in 2006 to the position of Joe Louis Arena Box Office Manager before being named to his current position in 2008.

Deckert is a lifelong resident of Dearborn, Mich., and attended Edsel Ford High School. He resides with his wife and three children.

Bryan Durren became the Creative Director for Olympia Entertainment and the Detroit Red Wings in September 2010. Durren, an award-winning illustrator and graphic designer, leads the in-house creative teams for Olympia Entertainment and the Red Wings. Prior to his position as creative director, Durren worked for nine years in the creative services department for Little Caesars Enterprises, working his way from Graphic Designer to Creative Services Manager.

Durren began his career at MARS Advertising then went on to work as an illustrator/designer at the Detroit-area studio, Colorforms, for three years. Notable among Durren's projects that have spanned across a variety of media for numerous national clients includes his collaboration with Craig Jablonski to illustrate and design the children's books The ABC's of Detroit Red Wings Hockey and The ABC's of Detroit Tigers Baseball.

In 2014, Durren was commissioned by the Detroit Tigers to create a commemorative painting that was given to retired manager, Jim Leyland, during an on-field ceremony. Later that year, he was commissioned by DDP Yoga founder, "Diamond" Dallas Page, to create a painting for the DDP Yoga Performance Center in Georgia.

Durren graduated with honors from the College for Creative Studies with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration, where he remains an adjunct faculty member. In 2015, he became a certified DDP Yoga instructor, and founded Before, Durren & After Fitness. Durren grew up in Beverly Hills, Mich., where he currently resides with his wife, Heather, son, Heath, and daughter, Haven.

Darren Eliot was named the Director of Little Caesars Amateur Hockey in September 2014. In his current role, Eliot oversees the day-to-day operations of the Little Caesars AAA hockey program and the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League (LCAHL), along with serving as the organization's representative to USA Hockey, the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) and the High Performance Hockey League (HPHL).

Eliot also serves as a hockey analyst during Red Wings broadcasts on FOX Sports Detroit, a position he has held since September 2011. Prior to joining Little Caesars Amateur Hockey, Eliot served as the Director of Programming and Communications for the Suburban Hockey Group, where he oversaw the re-branding of Michigan Hockey Magazine, the launch of the Digital Magazine and the redesign of the website. Eliot also ran Suburban Hockey's on-ice camps and clinics, as well as managed their AAA Hockey Club.

Eliot was drafted in the sixth round (115th overall) by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft out of Cornell University, where he was an All-American, a two-time All-Ivy League selection and later was inducted into the Cornell Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996. Upon graduation in 1983, Eliot played for Team Canada, competing in the 1984 Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo. Over the next six years, Eliot played in the NHL for the Los Angeles Kings, Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres, as well as spending time with each club's AHL affiliate.

Eliot currently resides in Grosse Pointe, Mich., with his wife Meredith and their three children, Avery, Mitch and Gillian.

Dwight Eppinger was named Director of Digital Marketing & Analytics for Olympia Entertainment and the Detroit Red Wings in January 2016. In his current role, Eppinger directs the company's CRM strategy, market research initiatives, business analytics, digital marketing and email efforts.

Prior to joining Olympia Entertainment and the Red Wings, Eppinger worked for eight years at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado as Director of Marketing where he lead a team of nine employees and was responsible for creating and implementing the resort's public relations, lodging, ticket and youth strategies. He also oversaw the social media initiatives, website, email, direct mail campaigns and resort app, Sherpa. Additionally, Eppinger has worked at Killington Resort in Vermont as an Interactive Marketing Manager and at Breakaway Games as an Artist.

Eppinger graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Arts. He resides in Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., with his wife, Kelly, daughter, Alice, and their two dogs.

Russ Gregory was named the Director of Corporate Development for the Detroit Red Wings in November 2008. In his current role, Gregory generates new business and renewals for the Red Wings and all entertainment events associated with Olympia Entertainment. Gregory also sells all-inclusive advertising and marketing assets for the Red Wings, Fox Theatre and Olympia Entertainment.

Gregory brought more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience to the Red Wings when he joined the organization in 2008. Currently in his second stint with the Red Wings, Gregory has previously been employed by the Hartford Whalers and the Detroit Jr. Red Wings, among several others.

Gregory earned his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University and went on to earn a Master's degree in sports management from St. Thomas University. A native of Dearborn, Mich., Gregory currently resides in Northville, Mich., with his wife, Patty, and children, Shelby and Shane.

Jeffery Hancock was named the Director of Finance for Olympia Entertainment and Joe Louis Arena in October 2009. In his current role, Hancock is responsible for the financial reporting, budgeting, projections, statistical analysis, adherence to policy and procedures, and the support of multiple audits per year.

Hancock joined Olympia Entertainment in April 2007 as Accounting Manager of Joe Louis Arena before his promotion to Director of Finance. Prior to joining Olympia Entertainment, Hancock spent seven years as a Senior Accountant for Gale Force Sports and Entertainment and Compuware Arena in Plymouth, Mich.

Hancock earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in accounting and finance from the University of Michigan. Hancock currently resides in Plymouth, Mich.

Johnny Jackson was named the Director of Venue Security for Olympia Entertainment and the Detroit Red Wings in October 2005. In his current position, Jackson is responsible for security and safety at Joe Louis Arena, the Fox Theatre and Hockeytown Cafe. Jackson coordinates with the Department of Homeland Security, Detroit Police Department, Detroit Fire Department, Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University Police, Michigan State Police and the Wayne County Sheriff's Office. In addition, Jackson plays a critical role in the security planning for Olympia Entertainment venues and events, such as the Democratic and Republican Debates, NHL Winter Classic, NFL Super Bowl Experience, MLB All Star Game VIP Party, Ryder Cup Gala Dinner and several high profile concerts.

Jackson was hired as a Corporate Security Representative for Olympia Entertainment and the Detroit Red Wings in January 1998. He was promoted to Corporate Security Coordinator in April 1998 and later Corporate Security Supervisor in September 1999. Prior to joining the Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment, Jackson worked as a Security Account Executive for William Davis and Associates and served in the United Stated Navy as a Naval Intelligence Officer assigned to the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Twp., Mich.

Jackson graduated from the University of Michigan Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Military Science program. He went on to serve six years in the United States Navy.

Liz Karolak was named the Director of Client Retention and Service for Olympia Entertainment, the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers in 2010. In her current role, Karolak is responsible for overseeing the customer service departments for ticketing and premium service. Her teams service and renew season ticket holders and service and assist with the renewal of suite leases. Both teams plan events and execute various renewal campaigns. She also handles the budgeting process for the Sales and Service departments.

Prior to joining Olympia Entertainment, Karolak spent 10 years with Palace Sports and Entertainment. Karolak started with Palace Sports and Entertainment as the MyPal Assistant Manager and ascended through several positions in the company and was ultimately named the Director of Customer Retention in 2005. As the Director of Customer Retention, Karolak and her staff developed several customer service initiatives that have become commonplace in the professional sports landscape.

Karolak earned her bachelor's degree in communication from Central Michigan University. A Connecticut, native, Karolak currently resides in Madison Heights, Mich., with her husband, Scott, daughter, Raegan, and son, Tristan.

Kathryn Kowalski was named the Director of Private Event Sales for the Detroit Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment in December 2014. In her current role, Kowalski is responsible for booking all corporate and social private events at Joe Louis Arena, Fox Theatre, City Theatre and Hockeytown Café. Kowalski also develops and executes internal event initiatives promoting the organization and its illustrious roster of venues.

Kowalski is nearing 10 years with the organization, as she previously started with Olympia Entertainment in 2005 and ascended to the position of Director of Operations, Assistant General Manager for the Fox Theatre. In that capacity, Kowalski managed more than 1,000 events from inception to post-event guest perception throughout her tenure. She collaborated on numerous high-profile events such as the 2013 Hockeytown Winter Festival, 2012 Detroit Symphony Orchestra Fundraiser featuring Kid Rock, and the 2009 NCAA Final Four Salute Ceremony. Additionally, Kowalski has held the position of Corporate Event Planner and Manager for Special D Events, in which she produced corporate events for a diverse array of industries nationwide.

Kowalski, an Okemos, Mich., native and graduate of Okemos High School, attended Michigan State University and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in interdisciplinary humanities. Kowalski currently resides in Plymouth, Mich.

Kimberly Palter was named the Director of Integrated Media for the Detroit Red Wings in November 2014. In her current role, Palter oversees all social media, video production, website and content production for the Red Wings. In addition, Palter is responsible for further evolving the Red Wings overall brand campaign and setting forth a vision, strategy and goals for all communication channels.

Palter joined the Red Wings in 2007 as the team's Marketing Assistant. Over the next several years, her role evolved as she took on responsibilities pertaining to brand management, campaign development and media promotions. While serving as the Marketing Manager, Palter was also responsible for project management, ad planning and media buying for the Detroit Red Wings and College Hockey in the D.

Before joining the Red Wings, Palter was a Public Relations Account Assistant for Marx Layne & Company. Additionally, Palter served on the Media Relations team for the Detroit Tigers in 2006 and as a Marketing Coordinator for Robin Fogarty & Associates in Chicago.

A West Bloomfield, Mich., native, Palter graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science degree in communications and theatre.

Marcel Parent was named the Director of Curation and Content Activation for Olympia Entertainment in September 2015. In his current role, Parent is responsible for creating dynamic and forward-thinking strategic visions for curation and storytelling within Little Caesars Arena and other Ilitch company venues. Parent's position manages all aspects of preparing exhibitions and providing innovative ideas and creative concepts to take the company's history and retell it with the purpose of making arenas, stadiums and other venues immersive, emotionally engaging, and memorable experiences for guests, colleagues and other visitors.

Prior to joining Olympia Entertainment, Parent was the Senior Director of Education, Outreach and Curation with the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Ky. Parent was also previously involved in the start-up and management of two large-scale cultural attractions, Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay and the Las Vegas Springs Preserve.

Marcel holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Master's degree in public policy and public administration from Concordia University. Parent currently resides in Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., with his wife, Carrie, and their three dogs.

Maggie Sweeney was named the Director of Merchandise for the Detroit Red Wings in August 2014. In her current role, Sweeney is responsible for overseeing all merchandise operations at Joe Louis Arena, Hockeytown Authentics and additional Olympia Entertainment initiatives. Sweeney is also responsible for developing and communicating the integrated strategic direction for the Merchandise department.

Sweeney joined the Red Wings in November 2011 as the Retail Promotions Manager, in which she was responsible for the development and execution of retail promotions at Joe Louis Arena and Hockeytown Authentics. Additionally, Sweeney managed seasonal marketing campaigns, social media execution and visual merchandising. Prior to joining the Red Wings, Sweeney held several management positions in both the retail and restaurant industry.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Sweeney graduated from Bowling Green State University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in apparel merchandising and product development with a minor in marketing. Sweeney currently resides in Troy, Mich.

Molly Wurdack-Folt was promoted to Director of Marketing Strategy in March 2017. In her current role, Wurdack will continue to manage the Corporate Partnership Marketing department, which she oversaw for more than seven years as the Director of Ticket Service and Corporate Partnership Marketing. She will continue to seek out new opportunities for Red Wings sponsorships, working closely with the NHL and fellow NHL teams to grow revenue and expand relationships with key partners. Additionally, in her new position, Wurdack will manage two departments within the Marketing & Communications umbrella - Curation & Activation and Community Relations & the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. She will also oversee a refresh of the Guest Connect program focusing on guest experiences in Little Caesars Arena, the Fox Theatre and throughout The District Detroit.

Wurdack started with the Red Wings in May 2008 as the Manager of Ticket Service and Retention. In that role, she developed and implemented a new business unit - the Ticket Service and Retention department - which assisted in growing ticket retention and increased season ticket holder satisfaction. Wurdack was promoted to Director of Ticket Sales and Corporate Partnership Marketing in 2010 and oversaw client retention for all Red Wings season ticket holders, providing servicing, retention and upselling to these clients, along with overseeing the corporate partnership marketing team to fulfill and execute all sponsorship contracts. Prior to joining the Red Wings, Wurdack served as a Marketing Partnership Staff Assistant for the Miami Dolphins where she assisted in the execution and fulfillment of marketing partnership contracts.

Wurdack earned a Bachelor of Arts with a major in psychology and a minor in business from Ohio University and went on to earn her Master's degree in sports and business administration from Ohio University as well. Wurdack currently resides in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., with her husband, Jason, and son, Beckett.