About

Staff

Central Florida's Polk County Sports Marketing Staff

MARK A. JACKSON
mark@centralfloridasports.com
Director of Tourism & Sports Marketing

Mr. Jackson is currently the Director of Central Florida’s Tourism and Sports Marketing (CFTSM), an initiative of the Central Florida Development Council (CFDC) and Board of County Commissioners, an award winning program that promotes tourism, sports and economic development in Central Florida’s Polk County.

Mr. Jackson brings more than 29 years of marketing, sales management and tourism experience to the position. During his tenure with the CFTSM, Mr. Jackson successfully: developed the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex; merged the VCB and Sports Marketing initiatives; created the area’s first, and Florida’s most honored sports commission; developed creative new golf, cycling, water sports and fishing programs; created the organization’s first Visitors Services initiative and the Polk Outpost 27 Visitors Center; coordinated CFTSM’s recruiting of the Florida Youth Soccer Association; Florida Sports Hall of Fame; Cleveland Indians, Independent Softball Association and the Futures Golf Tour to Polk County; and developed a community promotional program that includes a sports and tourism television show Sports Central; a sports talk radio show, Polk County Sports Hall of Fame, celebrity luncheons and television productions.

Prior to his tenure with the CFDC he was employed by a United States Olympic Committee national governing body, USA Water Ski. As the organization’s first Marketing Director, Jackson created and directed a comprehensive marketing program that included corporate sponsorship, membership development, televising and promoting national and world championship events and marine industry promotional programs.

Mr. Jackson has been heavily involved in the marine industry: serving as marketing manager for MasterCraft Boat Company, a Fortune 500 subsidiary; he is currently co-owner of a MasterCraft marine dealership, Bay Area Water Sports in Land O Lakes, Florida; and for 13 years was the Director of Sea Operations for the McDonald’s Air and Sea Show (4.2 million spectators) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. His professional experience also includes 12 years of tourism and entertainment experience with: Aspen Highlands Ski Area in Aspen, Colorado; Tommy Bartlett Ski, Sky & Stage Shows in Wisconsin Dells; and he served as general manager of Timberline Ski Area in Wisconsin.

Since 1988 Mr. Jackson has worked as a color commentator on shows aired on: ESPN I, ESPN II, Outdoor Life Network, Sun Sports Network, Water Channel, Versus and various syndicated sports shows. In addition, he has authored more than 30 articles about sports and business related topics for various publications. As a result of his experience in marketing and special events, Jackson is a frequent speaker at business conferences and conventions nationwide.

Mr. Jackson graduated with a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin, he received his MBA from Florida Southern and served as an adjunct professor of economics at Polk Community College in Winter Haven, Florida. In addition to his academic and professional activities, Mr. Jackson was a professional athlete in two sports, snow skiing and water skiing.

Mr. Jackson currently serves on numerous boards, including: Florida Sports Hall of Fame; Southeast Tourism Society; Florida Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus; and is the President of the Florida Grapefruit League Association (Major League Baseball Spring Training). He also served as board member for the National Association of Responsible Professional Athletes; ‘’Sports For Life’’; The Florida Sports Foundation; Meals On Wheels; Super Bowl XXXV Advisory Committee; and Florida 2012 – Florida’s Olympic bid initiative.

MARC ZIMMERMAN
zimm@centralfloridasports.com
Sales & Events Manager
Polk County Sports Marketing

As the Sales & Events Manager, Marc is responsible for overseeing the Sports Marketing efforts of PCTSM, which includes sports events recruitment, promotion, and facility development. Marc serves as the staff liaison to the Sports & Special Events Committee. His team is also responsible for gathering and analyzing the economic impact information for each of the sponsored sports events in Polk County. Marc serves on a variety of committees including the Polk Leisure Services Association and the NASC Professional Development Committee.

Marc brings with him experience from a variety of areas. Prior to moving to Polk County, Marc worked as the Assistant Director of Athletics at the Cocoa Expo Sports Center, a multi-sport training complex in Cocoa, Florida, where he organized baseball tournaments and a Spring Training for Collegiate and High School baseball, softball, and lacrosse teams. Marc has also served; as the Assistant General Manager for the former Greenville Bluesmen Professional Baseball Club, in Greenville, Mississippi; as the Concession Manager for Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi; as the Intramural Director also at Delta State University; as an Assistant Tournament Director for the Bud Light New England Volleyball Series; and was a former intern with Polk County Sports Marketing.

Marc received a B.S. in Business Administration in 1996 from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, and continued his education by receiving a Master’s of Business Administration in 1998 from Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. Marc has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Webber International University and Florida Southern College, and is a speaker at many conventions.

Marc resides in Lakeland with his wife and their three children, where he continues to enjoy sports and is active at their church and in the community.

NEAL DUNCAN
neal@centralfloridasports.com
Sponsorship Sales Manager
Polk County Sports Marketing

As the Sponsorship Sales Manager, Neal is responsible for overseeing and negotiating the sales of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing (PCTSM) corporate sponsorships. He assists with both the marketing and promotion of the tourism/sports initiative and special events that enhance the economic climate and increase overnight stays in Polk County accommodations. Responsibilities also include coordinating all radio and TV for PCTSM.

Neal brings a wide range of experiences with him to PCTSM. Most recently, he was the Director of Membership and Special Events for the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce. There he was responsible for recruiting new members to the chamber and acquiring sponsorships for the Chamber’s functions and events. Prior to taking over membership, Neal served as the Director of Communications where he utilized his writing skills to create interest about the chamber and its events. Neal was an employee of the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce from February 2000 through January 2006.

Prior to working for the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce, Neal had experience working for the Polk County Leisure Services Division. He also completed two internships: one with Polk County Sports Marketing and one with the Central Florida Visitors and Convention Bureau. These internships fulfilled his requirements for completion of his Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation and Sports Management from Indiana State University.

Neal is a former member on the American Cancer Society’s Bartow/Fort Meade Board of Directors as well as serving as the Bartow Relay For Life (American Cancer Society’s signature event) Chairman for 2005-2006 Relay events. Duncan served on the 2008 membership committee for the Greater Bartow Chamber of Commerce.

Additional activities include serving on the Board of Directors for the Florida Sports Hall of Fame; the George W. Harris, Jr. Runaway and Youth Crisis Shelter Advisory Committee; Stinger Shootout Event Coordinator; Bartow Unlimited Youth Football and Cheerleading Board of Directors and Chairman of the Junior Jacket Basketball Program.

AL SNOW
al@centralfloridasports.com
Communications Specialist
Polk County Sports Marketing

As the Communications Specialist, Al is responsible for developing and implementing public relations and media strategies for Central Florida’s Polk County Sports Marketing, as well as, driving business development in the outdoor recreation segments (golf, fishing, cycling, waterskiing and nature/ecotourism). He also hosts PCSM’s weekly sports radio show, “Sports Central” on WLKF 1430 AM and is a co-host for PCSM’s weekly television show on PGTV.

Snow comes to the Central Florida Visitors and Convention Bureau with more than 12 years of experience in the golf and outdoors industries. Snow most recently was Manager of Event Marketing and Sponsorship Fulfillment for ESPN Outdoors where he handled all sponsorship negotiation, activation and event marketing for B.A.S.S., ESPN Saltwater Series and ESPN Outdoors television programming. Prior to joining ESPN Snow was Director of Marketing for Golfweek Magazine/Turnstile Publishing, in addition to, serving as Marketing Director with the PGA TOUR.

Snow, who is a native of Syracuse, N.Y. and attended Syracuse University, is a current resident of Lakeland.

RYAN PICKLES
ryan@centralfloridasports.com
Sales and Events Representative
Polk County Sports Marketing

As the Sales and Events Representative, Ryan is responsible for recruiting and coordinating PCSM Special Events and implementing marketing, sales and promotional activities for tourism/sports marketing that generate overnight stays in Polk County accommodations and create economic impact in Polk County. He also assists in the coordination and operations of Polk County owned and co-owned special events, including securing venues, volunteer recruitment, completion of special event bid applications, on-site special event set-up and management. Ryan serves as a liaison to PCSM’s clients and is a member of the Polk Leisure Services Association and the United States Golf Association.

Before joining PCSM as a staff member, Ryan was an intern at PCSM and he also held an internship with the Cleveland Indians while pursuing a Business degree from Webber International University. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Sports Management in December 2004 from Webber International University. Ryan started his career as an Event Coordinator for PCSM in March of 2005.

Ryan was born in Lake Wales, FL and has lived in Polk County for 24 years. He currently lives in Lakeland and spends his spare time golfing, going to the gym and attending University of Miami Hurricane football games.

RYAN RITCHIE Ryan Ritchie
ritchie@centralfloridasports.com
Sales and Events Representative
Polk County Sports Marketing

As the Sales and Events Representative, Ryan is responsible for recruiting and coordinating PCSM Special Events and implementing marketing, sales and promotional activities for tourism/sports marketing that generate overnight stays in Polk County accommodations and create economic impact in Polk County. He also hosts PCSM’s weekly sports radio show, “Sports Central” on WLKF 1430 AM.

After receiving a B.S. in Sport Management in 2007 from SUNY Cortland, Ryan has held numerous positions during his four years with the organization including Sports and Special Events Coordinator and Client Services Coordinator. Ryan also joined Haines City Leisure Services for a brief stint as their Athletics Coordinator where he coordinated and developed recreational activities for adults and youth. Ryan and his family relocated to Rochester, NY in 2010 where he worked for a private staffing and recruiting firm in Rochester, NY as a Recruiter and Business Development Manager.

Most recently, Ryan and his family relocated back to Polk County returning to PCTSM as the Visitor Services Operation Supervisor for Central Florida’s Visitor Information Center in Davenport, FL. As Visitor Services Operation Supervisor, Ryan was responsible for managing all Visitor Services’ accounting and financial operations, attraction ticket sales program and General Store, collateral distribution program, research and data analysis initiative, and assisted with the development and implementation of the Visitor Services strategic marketing plan.

Originally from Fulton, NY, Ryan enjoys golfing and is an avid Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Syracuse Orange and Boston Red Sox fan. Ryan resides in Lakeland with his wife and their daughter.

JOSH HICKS
josh@centralfloridasports.com
Sales and Events Representative
Polk County Sports Marketing

As the Client Service Coordinator, Josh assist with the marketing and sales functions by securing venues, volunteer recruitment, completion of special event bid applications, on-site special event set-up and management for Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing. He also designs and prepares informational data such as survey reports. Other duties include serving as a liaison for many of our clients and other volunteer coordinators while coordinating and implementing special events that generate overnight stays in Polk County accommodations and create economic impact in Polk County.

Before joining Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing as a staff member, Josh worked as a sports assistant intern. While Interning at Sports Marketing, Josh gained valuable skills while creating new contacts in the sports industry. He started interning with PCTSM shortly after graduating from The University of South Florida. There he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. Josh was born in Winter Haven, Florida and grew up in the Polk County area. Josh now lives in Eagle Lake and in his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his son while enjoying activities outdoors. He enjoys playing sports with friends, fishing, golfing, and going to the beach.

Internships

Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing seeks fall, spring and summer semester interns. Our internships are unique to the sports and tourism industry and will provide an opportunity to execute job functions as they are required in a “full-time” position. Candidates MUST have strong written and verbal communication skills, have a team player type attitude and show a strong willingness to go above and beyond the tasks that are required. As Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing support upwards of 210 events a year, you will be required to assist in on site event logistics which will require working some weekends. Sports Marketing and Communication majors are encouraged to contact Neal Duncan for internship details.

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