When Richmond alumnus Tom Hoof needed to hire an intern for his organization, the Tampa Bay Rays, he knew he needed a passionate student with a diverse background. The vice president of marketing and community relations for the Florida-based major league baseball team went straight to his alma mater in hopes of recruiting a student who would meet his expectations.

“We used SpiderConnect to list our position at Richmond, and the student we hired ended up being one of the best interns we’ve ever had in the marketing and community relations department,” said Hoof. “He did so well that other departments started hiring Spider interns.”

This summer, the Rays organization welcomed its sixth Richmond intern since 2007.

Students from all majors are recruited for six to nine-month positions in various departments, including marketing, community relations; corporate sales; ticket sales; baseball operations; stadium operations; and fan experience.

“Our interns play a vital role in our organization,” said Hoof. “They get great experience working in a professional, fast-paced office. They receive hands-on experience contributing to community projects, media promotions, creative marketing and social networking.”

Duncan Phillips, a 2009 Richmond graduate, began a Rays internship this summer. He hopes the experience will further his goals of working in media and communications.

“The Rays internship seemed like a logical way to launch my career because I knew I’d be working in an exciting environment with people who are passionate about their jobs,” said Phillips, who majored in journalism and English. “I’m looking forward to learning from my co-workers and tapping them for every bit of knowledge they can pass on to me.”

Michael Ice, a junior business administration major, will also intern with the Rays this summer.

“I’m excited about living in a new environment and learning about how a large organization can help the community, while exploring a possible career path for the future,” said Ice.

Jeff Kent, a 2009 Richmond alumnus who majored in business administration with a minor in rhetoric and communication studies, said he learned of the Rays internship through the Career Development Center, and he hopes his intern experience will give him a leg up in the competitive field of sports marketing.

“I am passionate about this field, and I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity, working with a professional team’s front office,” said Kent. “This internship is a stepping stone along a path I see myself heading.”

Hoof said that their most successful interns have a history of working hard and putting in the time it takes to succeed.

“There are 12 full-time members of the marketing and community relations department, and five of them started here as interns,” said Hoof.