Scott Calka, BBA-MGT 1999
As a long-time fan and employee of the Detroit Tigers, Scott Calka has worked for the club through both the good and bad times. Since graduating from Walsh, he has remained dedicated to the team, while also maintaining a positive attitude, even as the Tigers struggled. After all, during his first 14 years with the team, the Tigers only had one winning season. As Scott points out, fan loyalty is not the only requirement for having a successful career with the Detroit Tigers.
Interview with Scott:
Where are the Tigers headed?
"Hopefully the Tigers will follow the path of the 1989 Oakland A's, who lost the 1988 World Series and then turned around the next season and won the World Championship in 1989 ."
What was your job title before you were enrolled at Walsh College?
"When I was attending Harper Woods Notre Dame High School, I began working for the Detroit Tigers as a Clubhouse Attendant / Bat Boy for the visiting teams. I stayed with the Tigers Organization throughout school, working as a manager in the mail room while also attending Macomb Community College and Walsh College. When I graduated with my bachelor's degree, I was offered a full-time position in the Front Office.”
What is your job title now?
"My current title is Box Office Administrator. My primary duties center around daily accounting and financial reports, as I balance daily settlements, oversee deposits, and conduct general cash handling procedure compliance, as defined by the organization. During the baseball season, around 20 part-time window sellers work day-of-game, and I am responsible for handling and checking out seller banks, assisting in ticket-related problems, and managing customer service issues. Finally, I work with a variety of departments in the processing of Suite and Champion Club ticket accounts, such as Accounting and Corporate Sales."
How did Walsh College influence you?
"The most important skill I gained at Walsh was how to effectively work with others. The emphasis on group work, project preparation, and formal presentations, with both similar and different individuals, are applicable skills necessary for success in any career. From my own experience in my current organization, we have many different departments that must work together on projects and accounts. Co-workers within my own department can vary on practices and decisions, and, on a typical game day, we have individuals from the visiting team and the Front Office, as well as part-time personnel and thousands of fans, that we must interact with. It can be difficult to balance the variety, especially when people are upset. By using the skills I gained through group work at Walsh, I can better manage differing people, and work more efficiently in my current position, in order to achieve an agreeable outcome. Nonetheless, it is especially challenging to work in the professional sports environment because the business side of you has to outweigh the fan in you."
Is there a professor you would like to mention?
"I struggle to choose a single professor, but one experience that personally stands out to me actually occurred in a communications class. One of the assignments was the development of a persuasive speech, which we were required to present with a visual aid. At the time, the Tigers were looking to sign a free agent in the off-season. My speech focused on free agency – which free agent should the Tigers sign that fall? My visual aid was Tigers outfielder Bobby Higginson, who was nice enough to speak to the class after my presentation. I thought that, by inviting a professional baseball player, I would be guaranteed a good grade. Yet, surprisingly, I received a B; despite the disappointment, I gained a valuable lesson in what it takes to be successful. Like all projects in life, especially work, the outcome of measured achievement rests in one’s own potential. Though my visual aid was a unique addition, only my personal investment into the work could have guaranteed an A presentation."
What have you learned along the way, from where you were, to where you are today?
"Arthur Ashe once said, 'Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. ' From working as a Bat Boy to serving as a full-time Front Office employee, the skills I gained through my Walsh education have allowed me to achieve a successful career transition within the Tigers Organization throughout the last 25 years."
Why would you encourage people to attend Walsh College?
"The professors bring more than a background in education; they bring knowledge through real-world experience in business. The information one gains through education is imperative to success, but the business environment presents challenges one cannot anticipate or predict until they actually enter the workforce after graduation. Walsh professors provide the tools for this, by bringing lessons they learned in real-world business to the classroom to better their students. I think everyone, at some point in their lives, has wondered how lessons from a classroom will be used in their workplaces; however, at Walsh, the applicability of your education is understood before graduation. Students leave with a better sense of what to expect once they begin working in a business environment."
What is your greatest accomplishment?
"My greatest accomplishment would be starting off as a Bat Boy and working my way up as a Front Office member with the Detroit Tigers. I remained dedicated to the club, while also maintaining a positive attitude when the team struggled; unfortunately, during my first 14 years with the Tigers, they only had one winning season. I remember years in which people would ask me for Red Wings tickets, rather than Tigers tickets, once they found out I worked for Olympia Entertainment. And then, in 2003, the team almost set a record when they lost 119 games. During those types of moments, organizational moral is a struggle and daily responsibilities can be challenging. Through each of these experiences, I learned the importance of commitment and positivity, both toward my team and my job. Under the direction of owner Michael Ilitch and President/GM Dave Dombrowski, things have turned around. I am fortunate to have attended two World Series and I am about to receive my second American League Championship ring this year. Without a doubt, my commitment to my work is a significant reason for that. From Bat Boy in the Clubhouse and Manager in the mail room, to my current position as an Administrator in the Box Office…who would've thought?"
Please join Walsh College in applauding Scott Calka for his continued successes, by adding your comments below. Feel free to express your well wishes for the Detroit Tigers as well!