Manchester Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 33

MU| F e a t u r e s T he perfect summer morning for Tyler Lantz ’16 looks a lot like this one. He sits at a table in front of the concourse at Parkview Field, and the colors come at him in vivid chunks: Blue of the sky, green of the grass, beige of the groomed dirt around home plate and the pitcher’s mound. A sweet little breeze whispers around the place. From down on the manicured diamond comes the soft mutter of a mower as the ground crew spruces up what is already immaculately spruced. Nine hours to first pitch, and all is well. For both Parkview Field and for Lantz, who is literally living the dream these days. Five years ago he got a summer job with the Fort Wayne TinCaps Class A baseball team as a parking lot attendant, and now he works for them full-time as a ticket account manager. It’s the culmination of a series of summer internships in which he caught the eye of TinCaps’ management by coming in on his off-days to shadow full-time employees such as facilities and accounting manager Eric Lose and Abby Naas, then the TinCaps’ community relations manager. “Just an absolutely unreal experience,” Lantz says. “You know, I’m from Fort Wayne, and you see how great this place is, but you truly don’t understand how much time and effort goes into this place until you get to see behind the scenes. “As soon as the season starts up, we’re working 70 to 90 hours a week. It’s unreal. But once you see the product and just the result of all that hard work, it’s priceless.” His job in group sales, after all, is about serving others – in Lantz’ case, making sure the customers with whom he deals have the optimum experience no matter who they are and how many times they’ve been to the ballpark. If that doesn’t fit Manchester’s charge to respect the infinite worth of every individual, Lantz doesn’t know what does. “It was probably the greatest decision of my life to go to Manchester,” he says. “I learned so much about just like how you view everyone equally. It’s not all about you; you have to consider each and every other person and treat them the way they want to be treated. “Coming here, I can kind of just move that into customer service – treat each and every person as if this is their first time to Parkview Field.” But if this is the perfect melding of education and job, there is a certain amount of serendipity to it. Lantz came to Manchester initially because his dad had gone there; the job with the TinCaps came open mere days after he’d finished his last internship with the TinCaps and taken a job with a marketing firm in Fort Wayne. “I’m two days (into the new job) and I’m out in Philadelphia, and (TinCaps president) Mike Nutter gives me a phone call,” Lantz recalls. “Probably the most stressful week of my life. I mean, I’d started this new job, it was fun, I liked the people I was working with. But I had spent so much time and I just loved being here, I loved the staff, and just getting the chance to work for Mike Nutter ... it was unreal.” So the baseball guy took the baseball job. Just as he took to Manchester once he got there and discovered its unique and nurturing culture. “Manchester was just awesome because there’s so many different people, and being such a small community as well, you get to know everybody,” Lantz says. “And just the friendships and the staff you meet over the four years, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I went there by myself, I didn’t go with any friends, and just the whole sports management program ... Ryan Hedstrom ’00 just did such an awesome job preparing me for this. And with it being smaller, too, you’re in a lot more contact with everyone. “It gives you the freedom to go out and follow your dreams, essentially.” From perfect summer morning to perfect summer morning. By Benjamin Smith For Tyler Lantz ’16, going to the office means Parkview Field, home of the TinCaps, in downtown Fort Wayne. It also dovetails neatly with the values he learned at Manchester, where he studied sport management and sales and played baseball. Manchester | 33