Touring The Bases With…Kelly Hallquest
Kelly Hallquest is the Food and Beverage Director for the Eugene Emeralds located in Eugene, Oregon. They have been an Affiliate of the San Diego Padres since 2001 and are in the Northwest League. Check out Emeralds on Facebook. www.-ems.com
Seamheads.Com: What are your responsibilities for the Emeralds?
Kelly Hallquest: I am the Director of food and beverage. I run the entire ballpark in all concession and premium departments. We just moved into a new stadium last year, PK Park. I oversee all food quality standards and make sure they are met throughout the stadium.Â I do all the tracking and ordering of inventory. I hired all my eighty-six employees and do the staffing for them during the season. I am also responsible for forecasting my budget for the coming season. In addition, I get all deliveries in and stock up all my concession stands myself.
We have eight suites upstairs with two picnic areas that can hold up to four hundred people on the 1st base side and 100-hundred people on the 3rd base side. Overall, I see everything from the stocking to the operational part of during the game to the closing down and reconciling all bills and stand sheets.
Since we share the stadium with the University or Oregon, I am also am responsible for the PK Park Experience. This is held during Ducks Football: (nickname U. of Oregon). We open the stadium for people who do not have a ticket to the game to come and sit down on the field and watch game on our big screen in centerfield.Â As you can see, my job is not just the normal thirty-eight baseball games.
SEAMHEADS: What did you do before you arrived in Eugene with the Emeralds?
Kelly:Â I was born and raised in Long Island, New York where I lived five minutes from Nassau Coliseum (where the New York Islanders hockey team play). When I turned sixteen, my parents said, â€œhappy birthday, now get a job.â€
I was fortunate to have my next-door neighbor be in charge of operations for Nassau Coliseum. He helped my older brother get a job there with Aramark (the concession company that ran Nassau Coliseum) He also helped me get a job. I started working there on December 29, 2001 as a pastrami sandwich maker in the back of a concession stand. I did that for a few months, and then moved up to Carvel girl. I learned everything about ice cream there.
At eighteen, I became â€œalcohol certified.â€ I took a test and passed so I was now able to serve beer. After proving myself, I became responsible for counting inventory, the moneybags and the employees at my stand.Â I was proud of moving up to a supervisory position at eighteen.Â When I turned twenty-one, I was asked if I wanted to work for the Premium Department. This was the â€œupscaleâ€ version of concessions. I quickly agreed.Â In the Premium Department, I was in charge of the two restaurants we had: Doolinâ€™s Pub (an Applebeeâ€™s style restaurant) and the Bohemian Club (an upscale Manhattan-like scotch bar). I also oversaw Seat Service (waitress service to certain sections in the arena), the wives and family rooms and also the season ticket holder room. These were my responsibilities when there was an Islander game.
When there were concerts, I was still responsible for my duties but was also manager of all catering. I was in charge of all dressing rooms, production rooms, stage areas, anything for the concert required food and beverage. The hours were long; I worked a thirty-four hour shift once. After seven amazing years at Nassau Coliseum, we unfortunately lost our contract and were removed as the concession company there.
Many good people lost their jobs but I was fortunate to be transferred to Keyspan Park. The Brooklyn Cyclones (Single A Short Season) played there and I was the Premium Service and Catering Coordinator. I ran all the suites and catering.Â I was in charge of a wedding that took place there during a game with fifteen hundred people in attendance. After I get their order, I had to organize it by game day and then give it to my Executive Chef and her staff so they can prepare it. Then I give a copy of their order to my suite attendants so they can get the suite ready for game night. I also have to feed the press and oversee the catering throughout the game.
In addition, I had to feed the players, three times a day. I was the only women allowed in the locker rooms, so that was a huge responsibility on me because no one else was allowed to do it.Â After two years at Keyspan Park, I found out about PBEO (a) and signed up for it. I put my resume out there and Allan Benavides, the General Manager of the Emeralds came across it, brought me out to Eugene for an interview and I loved it.Â I packed my bags and moved out west to Eugene, Oregon.
SEAMHEADS:Â When did you get interested in baseball?
Kelly:Â I was interested in baseball since I was about ten years old. My parents took my siblings and me to Shea Stadium (Long Island, New York, home of the New York Mets) to watch the Mets whenever we had a chance.Â I loved sports all my life, played softball, volleyball and ran track. Volleyball ended up being my main sport and I got a scholarship to attend college for it.Â I played overseas in Australia and came back with a silver medal. I have always been a huge New York Mets, Jets and Islanders fan. Being able to work for two out of three of my favorite team was amazing and I feel so blessed to be able to make my dream come true. This is a difficult industry to get into and to be in it for ten years now, I can honesty say I am fortunate and very lucky.
SEAMHEADS: What do you love the most about your job?
Kelly:Â I love being able to meet new people. This is a small, exclusive group to be a part of. I love knowing people all around the country from other teams. I have been fortunate to go to Spring Training, All-Star games, games around the country and the Annual Baseball Winter Meetings.Â I love the fact that I am where I am because I worked hard for it. Nothing was given to me and I never gave up. I worked hard to get where I am and I am proud of myself.
SEAMHEADS: Where were you born and raised?
Kelly: I was born and raised in East Meadow, New York and attended East Meadow High School.
SEAMHEADS: What College did you attend? What was your Major?
Kelly: I attended Long Island University, the C.W. Post Campus. It was located in Brookville, New York. My major was Business Management.
SEAMHEADS: Did you play sports in High School or College?
Kelly: In High School, I played volleyball, softball and ran track.Â In volleyball, I was an outside hitter.Â I was All-Conference, All-County and MVP of many tournaments.Â I lead school records in kills, aces and digs.
In softball, I was a centerfielder.Â I only played two years because I wanted to concentrate on volleyball.Â For track, I ran the fifty-five meters, one hundred meters and did the high jump.Â In College, I played volleyball on a volleyball scholarship.
SEAMHEADS: What were you considering doing before you got into the food and beverage industryâ€
Kelly:Â When I got into this industry at age sixteen, I was dead set on being a history teacher. I loved American History. I still do. I taught history classes in high school about Pearl Harbor and WW2 to my fellow students.Â I thought that was what I would do with the rest of my life. After being able to move up on the management ladder, I fell in love with the food and beverage industry.
About my junior year of college, I was working in the Premium Department at the Coliseum working my way up, running catering, etc. I sat back and took a lot of time thinking of being a teacher, or staying in the F & B industry. After a few weeks, I came to a decision. I love the industry so much; I decided to stay with it.Â The next school day, I saw my counselor and changed my major. I was lucky it did not cost me an extra year of college. I was able to graduate in four years.
SEAMHEADS: What do you love the most about your job?
Kelly: I love that I got this job because of my hard work to get here. I love coming to the ballpark everyday and knowing I run this place (food wise) I came here in May 2010 and had about two weeks to open a brand new stadium. I worked twenty-two hour days and with help from my co-workers, I was able to get this place ready for Opening Day and the rest of the season.
I felt accomplished and I knew this was my home; this was my baby, as clichÃ© as it sounds. I love meeting new people and customers.Â Having worked through the process of this industry, and dealing with all types of situations, I know what my employees are going through. I have been in their shoes and being able to relate to them and that makes our relationship a lot smoother than other boss/employee relationships.
SEAMHEADS: What is the most difficult part of your job?
Kelly:Â I live twenty-five hundred miles from my family and friends. I have never lived this far away from them. It was hard to adjust to this at the beginning, but the people I work with in the office are my family now.
I have a lot on my plate at times. Being responsible for the entire company, (the owner of our team, Mr. Dave Elmore, owns the concession company as well; Diamond Concessions). I admit I have not dealt with all the paperwork and meetings and policies of Oregon that I have to follow. It can be overwhelming.
SEAMHEADS: What is the most outstanding memory you have working for the Emeralds?
Kelly: When we retired Greg Riddoch at our last game of the season. He had been with the team for so long and became the face of the Emeralds to a lot of people in the community.Â It was great to see all our fans come out and say goodbye to a legend on our team.
SEAMHEADS: Which women in baseball do you admire the most?
Kelly: There is no question; the woman I most admire is Onalee Carson. (b) She is one of the most dedicated people I have ever seen, when it comes to her job. She is out in the community talking about our team at breakfasts in the morning or at networking events in the evening.Â She works hard and has amazing ideas that truly make out club unique. Her non-profit organization groups and the reading program she created for school children are wonderful. She also developed a Science in Baseball program that interacts science and baseball to kids.
SEAMHEADS: Do dreams come true?
Kelly: Yes, mine did, dreams can come true as long as one works hard. What I would say to any person, if you have a dream to do something, do not let anyone or anything turn you away from it. My parents wanted me to pursue something else, as they believed this was a dead end.Â But, I knew I loved this industry, and I absolutely love what I do. I worked hard to show my parents and myself I could do it, and I did!Â My dream was to be a director of food and beverage and now, at twenty-five, I am.
(a)Â Â Â PBEO.com is the online home of Minor League Baseballâ€™s Official Employment Service. PBEO serves all affiliated baseball clubs (Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball). They are a medium for all clubs and organization to post positions throughout the year. If you are looking for a job in Baseball â€“ consider The PBEO Job Fair.
(b) Onalee Carson is the Director of Media Relations for the Eugene Emeralds.