Pebble Beach SEMT

Golf: Their Favorite Course

Pebble Beach SEMT

Marissa Giacomo manages a concession stand staffed with volunteers from the Carmel Youth Center at the 2015 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (College of Applied Sciences and the Arts photo).

Thirty-four SJSU hospitality and management students are among the 150,000 people converging on the Monterey Peninsula this week for the 2015 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Though they may get a brief moment to soak in the sun, or even catch a glimpse of a top golfer or celebrity, the SJSU Special Event Management Team will be busy working.

Kelsey Castellano, ’16 Hospitality Management, arrived at the Pebble Beach resort at 6 a.m. Feb. 11, the day of the celebrity tournament. She expected to work a 12-hour shift.

“I can take a break, but I’ll probably just eat what’s nearby,” Castellano said, referring to a behind-the-scenes area where food is kept for employees to snack on.

One team. One dream.

Wearing blue Pebble Beach jackets, the SJSU students will spend a full week gaining valuable hands-on experience in a professional environment. They’re managing the concessions, including two hospitality tents and the on-course food and beverage operations.

Pebble Beach

During the 2015 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, SJSU students from a variety of disciplines intern as managers overseeing operations in concessions, corporate chalets and corporate sky boxes such as the ones seen in the background along the 17th green at Pebble Beach (College of Applied Sciences and the Arts photo.

Marissa Giacomo, another hospitality management major, is in charge of a concession stand near the 18th green. Her staff consists of volunteers from the Carmel Youth Center, which will receive 10 percent of the concession stand proceeds.

“It feels good to know everyone has a job. I’m surprised at how open they are to doing things,” Giacomo said.

Professional training

The students manage and oversee multiple corporate client events; host VIP guests in luxury suites; interact with servers and bartenders; and help manage employees. Castellano is over-seeing five employees in one of the skyboxes for a corporate client.

“I’m in control of my staff,” she said. “They are asking me questions. Until today, I had no idea what it would be like.”

Many former students of the program say their time at the AT&T Pro-Am gave them enough experience and know-how of event management that they were able to get jobs right after graduation. In golf terms, that’s what you’d call, a hole in one.

This is the 10th year SJSU’s Hospitality Management Program has partnered with Pebble Beach Resorts to assist with the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, one of the most popular golf competitions on the PGA tour.

Practicing for Pebble Beach

(Editor’s note: This is based on a College of Applied Sciences and Arts blog post. Read the full story.) 

Heading out to the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament this weekend? You may see some familiar faces.

A group of 34 hospitality and tourism management, kinesiology and communications studies students will be managing the concessions, chalets and skyboxes along the course.

The Special Event Management Team spent a full week during winter break training for the event. 

The Hospitality Management program has partnered with Pebble Beach Resorts on this event since 2006.

For the first time, the students will be using iPads purchased with a grant from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts dean’s office.

The iPads streamlined the training process by eliminating the need to duplicate (and carry!) a 900-page training manual for each team member.

Of course the human touch remains essential. Training days at SJSU began with students transforming the Boccardo Business Center into a slice of Pebble Beach by setting the tables with linens and centerpieces.

Program Director and Lecturer Rich Larson uses this exercise to, in part, show the students that attention to detail matters, right down to the tilt of the window blinds. 

In addition, Pebble Beach staff members led by Director of Special Events Beat Giger make presentations on everything from food safety to human resources to hospitality.

The program fills a real need for the resort while providing students with hands-on experience at one of the world’s most beautiful locations.

“It’s our good fortune to be in proximity to such a well-known resort and golf course,” Larson said.

Spartans at Work: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

(This summer, SJSU Today hit the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job at summer destinations throughout the Bay Area. Our 2013 Spartans at Work series continues with hospitality, tourism and event management alumna Gladys Rodriguez.)

Gladys Rodriguez, ’13 Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management, remembers childhood trips from her hometown of Watsonville to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Little did she know that she would grow up to help run the same Friday Night Bands on the Beach concert series she enjoyed when she was younger.

“I have pictures of me on rides when I was two years old, and looking back now, I never thought I would have the opportunity to work at the Boardwalk, and I never thought I would be helping manage such big events,” she said.

A recent SJSU graduate, Rodriguez is a promotions assistant, working closely with the director of promotions and entertainment. Her schedule varies depending on the festivities happening that week.

On Mondays, she focuses on office tasks, such as contacting vendors for an upcoming extreme sports expo. Wednesdays consist of monitoring activity and attendance during Movies on the Beach

The focus of Fridays is supporting the weekly evening concert, from the beginning of the day when she’s picking up the band until the end of the show.

“My favorite thing is that every day is different,” she said. “It’s not only office work. I’m not always sitting. I love that I get to work on something, and at the end, there’s a big event where you see how your hard work pays off.”

Rodriguez was working at the Student Union’s information center when lecturer Rich Larson stopped by to tell her about an open position at the Boardwalk. Larson is program director of the SJSU Special Event Management Team.

Rodriguez was a student manager at the 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, participating in Larson’s program. Working at the golf tournament in addition to other internships and her event management education prepared her well for her current position.

“This job has really shown me that you are ready,” she said. “School did prepare you. School helped you out, and the hospitality program is amazing.”

Spartans at Work: Oakland A’s

(This summer, SJSU Today hit the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job at summer destinations throughout the Bay Area. Our 2013 Spartans at Work series continues with radio-television-film alumnus Marcus Gonzalez and hospitality, tourism and event management alumnus Ellison DeCastro.)

On a breezy summer evening, fans decked out in green, gold and white head into O.Co Coliseum to root, root, root for the home team. As streams of people make their way through Gate D, they pass by the Oakland A’s Kids Club booth.

There, Ellison DeCastro, ’11 Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management, talks with the youngsters, who stop by to receive the latest stamp in their passport books. They’re working their way up to earn bigger prizes. In the meantime, with a spin of the wheel, will they win a pencil, key chain or temporary tattoo?

As attendees settle into their seats less than 15 minutes before the first pitch, Stomper the elephant mascot and the Oakland A’s promotions crew make their way around the warning track. The entourage includes Marcus Gonzalez, ’10 Radio-Television-Film, who throws beaded necklaces to the excited crowd along the way.

As members of the A’s promotions crew, DeCastro and Gonzalez push the A’s brand and team at Bay Area community events as well as within the concrete walls of the coliseum.

“If it’s a close game, we come out here to cheer, interact with the fans, throw beads or kind of get them riled up a bit, get them excited, pumped up, especially if they’re quiet,” Gonzalez said.

Before the game begins and while it is in session, DeCastro and Gonzalez search for people to participate in promotions and contests between innings. This involves a lot of chatting with fans to find the right candidates.

“The most fun part is interaction with fans,” DeCastro said. Watching a little bit of baseball now and then is a job perk, but he said he lives to “show great hospitality, making fans want to come back out.”

It may be hard to believe now, but Gonzalez was shy when he started attending SJSU. Then he began to break out of his shell when he became involved with the campus radio station KSJS. Being a deejay and representing the station at events turned out to be great practice for his current job.

Both Gonzalez and DeCastro earned spots on the SJSU/Pebble Beach Special Event Management Team, which gives students the opportunity to manage hospitality workers during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. 

Gonzalez said that experience helped him to begin “seeing myself as a manager, a working professional,” and that “bringing what I learned at Pebble Beach here to the A’s has helped me.”

One of the perks of living in the Bay Area is the many professional sports teams, each with promotions crews and other opportunities for people interested in sports-related careers.  For a lifelong A’s fan like DeCastro, he is exactly where he wants to be.

“It’s pretty much a kid’s dream to work for his favorite baseball team,” he said.


Working the Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Standouts in their bright red jackets, the SJSU Special Event Management Team once again played a pivotal role in the 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Despite the super early mornings and long days, these students say the week they spent managing the skyboxes, chalets and on-course food and beverage operations at one of the nation’s premier pro-ams will go down as a highlight of their college careers.

Of the more than 80 Spartans who applied this year, 34 students were selected for this unique, hands-on experience featuring 56 hours of training. Team members came from a wide range of majors including hospitality, recreation and tourism management; nutrition, food science and packaging; kinesiology; and advertising.

Many of the over 240 students and alumni of this eight-year-old program say the lessons they learned combined with the Pebble Beach name have earned them interviews and jobs in the industry, including 60 students and alumni working as temporary or permanent employees right there at the resort, according to Program Director Rich Larson.

For most team members, this was their first managerial experience, overseeing up to 20 workers responsible with providing thousands of spectators with refreshments. Some worked in corporate skyboxes or chalets, while others managed concessions open to the public.

“It’s great to see students succeeding and conquering their fears,” said Pebble Beach Resorts Banquet Manager Mark Hansen, who coaches many team members through a case of the nerves when it comes to interacting with the public and corporate clients.

“I’ve learned there are effective and professional ways to deal with managing people,” student Rebecca Mockabee said.

When it comes to the scenery, the students will tell you the worst day at Pebble Beach will always beat the best day in the classroom! Want to learn more? Check out this super cool video from last year.

Special Event Management Team Completes Seventh Event at Pebble Beach Resorts

Special Event Management Team Completes Seventh Event at Pebble Beach Resorts

Contact: Rich Larson, Lecturer, 408-924-3186

San Jose, Calif.—For the seventh year in a row, San Jose State University students traveled to Pebble Beach Resorts for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, held this year February 6-13. During the week, student managers supervised Corporate Chalets, Corporate Skybox Hospitalities and On-Course Food and Beverage Concessions for the Tournament. Students managed food and beverage staff and volunteers while interacting with VIPs, corporate clients and tournament guests to ensure a flawless experience. The team was comprised of 32 student managers, one student coordinator and one faculty advisor. Prior to the event, students spent around 56 hours in intensive training and worked almost 100 hours during the week of the tournament. Participating students receive class credit, practical on-the-job experience, and the privilege to list prestigious Pebble Beach Resorts on their résumé—a great start for their  professional career.

For many, the benefits of the Special Event Management Team continue beyond graduation. This program has led to exciting local and international career opportunities, including events such as the 2010 U.S. Open, the Pebble Beach Food & Wine and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and careers with exciting companies such as the Oakland Athletics and NASA. Some graduates have even returned to Pebble Beach Company as full-time employees as a result of their excellent performance.

The SJSU Hospitality Tourism & Event Management degree program incorporates multicultural-focused academic study in hotel and lodging, food and beverage, tourism, and event management with professional experiences designed to facilitate students’ transition to their chosen career. The nationally accredited undergraduate recreation degree program prepares students for successful careers in public and private parks, recreation agencies, schools and universities, hospitals, clinics, and non-profit public service organizations.

The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am began in 1947, and has raised more than $93 million for charity since its inception. The Tournament includes PGA professionals, amateurs and celebrities, and is played on three courses: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, and Monterey Peninsula Country Club-Shore Course.

Pebble Beach Company, headquartered in Pebble Beach, Calif., owns and operates the world-famous Pebble Beach Resorts, including The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmero. The company also operates four renowned golf courses: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, The Links at Spanish Bay and Del Monte Golf Course. Other famed properties include the scenic 17-Mile Drive and The Spa at Pebble Beach, and annually hosts premier events such as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational and the First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. Site of the 2019 U.S. Open, Pebble Beach Golf Links has hosted five U.S. Opens, four U.S. Amateurs, one PGA Championship, and numerous other tournaments.

Santa Cruz Sentinel: Students Pick Up Professional Skills at Pebble Beach Pro-Am

SJSU students learning management skills at National Pro-Am

Posted by the Santa Cruz Sentinel Feb. 10, 2012.

By Andrew Matheson

PEBBLE BEACH — Many of the hospitality workers at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf event are actually young undergraduate students looking to get a start in the food-and-beverage world.

For them, Saturday is the equivalent to the final round of a major championship.

Hordes of spectators will be flocking to the Pebble Beach Golf Links starting Saturday, all wanting a glimpse of not only some of the biggest names in professional golf, but also the celebrities the Pro-Am draws.

It’s what the students in San Jose State‘s Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management program have been gearing up for all week. They are gleaning real-world experience from volunteering at the event, and the excess crowds will no doubt mean a spike in business at the luxury boxes and food tents where they are stationed.

“Saturday last year was definitely our busiest day,” said Kathryn Kirby, a 2006 graduate of Aptos High, who is overseeing nine workers and 10 corporate chalets — or hospitality tents — at Pebble Beach this week.

Oh, and there’s also the Tiger Woods factor. He even comes with his own term in the hospitality field — the “Tiger draw.” “This year we’re expecting to be even busier because of the Tiger draw,” Kirby added. “Even I’m excited to see him.” Kirby and fellow Santa Cruz County residents Alexandra Sherrell and Kristina Mueller are students in the SJSU program, and more specifically its Pebble Beach Special Event

Management Team. The 32 students located in the corporate chalets, food concessions or skyboxes are receiving invaluable experience in managing, planning and coordinating an event like the Pro-Am at one of the world’s most famous golf courses.

They do so while working for Pebble Beach management. And the selection process for the program is perhaps just as grueling as today’s round will be for the golfers.

“These are not volunteers. This is not an internship,” said Santa Cruz’s Rich Larson, a professor at SJSU who oversees the program. “They have to be selected first, selected to work in one of those three areas.” Larson said he had some 80 applicants for 28 positions in this year’s class. Four students, including Kirby, were brought back from last year’s program for additional guidance, while the remaining slots are selected based on essays and a panel interview process that involves former students, Larson and five Pebble Beach managers.

Kirby admits to breaking out in hives during her interview.

“It’s intimidating. But the experience you gain here is so much more than if you were in a classroom,” said Sherrell, a 2008 graduate of San Lorenzo Valley High, who is managing two skyboxes as well as a staff of six to eight people along the famous 18th green at Pebble Beach this week. “The work is hard, but it’s also very rewarding.”

Sherrell said her main task — in a nutshell — is to make sure each order going into the skyboxes is correct and that her client is happy. Although the Pebble Beach managers chose the position for her, she said she would have selected it anyway if given the chance.

About 30 students have gone through the program each year since its inception in 2006, and the Pebble Beach company has hired 17 of those students, Larson said. Others have gone on to work at Jet Blue, hotels and in catering.

One is even concessions manager through Aramark at the Oakland Coliseum.

SJSU’s Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism Management Gearing Up for AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Student Management Team Prepares for 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

By Pat Harris, Media Relations Director
Video by Keith Sanders, Media Production Specialist

The deadline is coming up soon for the 2012 Special Event Management Team, which will provide students the opportunity to gain work experience at one of the world’s top resorts. All students are invited to apply online by Oct. 12, with successful applicants registering for a specific special event management course offered in spring 2012. The Department of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management partners with Pebble Beach Resorts to assist with the annual AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament. Students showcase their skills while managing teams in skybox hospitalities, chalet hospitalities, and on-course food or beverage operations. The program has helped many secure employment in related fields, including recent graduate Jason Whitcomb, who began a three-year paid internship with the National Football League this fall.

SJSU alumnus Jason Whitcomb at Labeau Field

Kinesiology Alumnus Drafted for NFL Internship

Jason Whitcomb standing on Lambeau Field, Greenbay Wisconsin

Jason Whitcomb at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin. Planning an NFL kick-off event is just one of several assignments for Whitcomb with the Junior Rotational Program.

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Alumnus Jason Whitcomb may have just graduated, but he is already off to a great start with a career in sports management.

After enduring a three-month interview process and going up against 2,500 applicants, Whitcomb was one of just six individuals selected in 2011 for the NFL’s Junior Rotational Program, a two-year paid internship in New York.

Sports Management Program Director Sonja Lilienthal says the most important thing for her students to do is gain experience in the field and volunteer as much as possible.

“Jason was a kid who took all the opportunities that I brought to class and followed up on them,” Lilienthal said.

Whitcomb played football, basketball and volleyball in high school. Then he played one year of football at Foothill College.

Now residing in Manhattan’s East Village, he is adapting to New York culture and working 9 to 5. He talked to SJSU Today about getting the job and what he does during his free time. The following was edited for length and clarity.

SJSU TODAY: Can you tell us about the interview process?

Jason Whitcomb: I took every round of interviews as an opportunity to prepare for the next stage. I used the SJSU Career Center’s online interview practice to help me prepare for my interview and met with a counselor to work on my resume. I tried to become more comfortable with my interview by practicing in my room at night.

SJSU: How important is it to have work experience in addition to your academic record on your resume?

Whitcomb: There is no way I would have gotten the job without my work experience. Professor Lilienthal recommended the Special Event Management Team with the Department of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management. The biggest highlight of my resume was living in Pebble Beach for a month, where I worked with upper-level executives to gain office experience while assisting with the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

SJSU: What types of things do you do with the Junior Rotational Program?

Whitcomb: I touch bases with different people in different departments. I’ve also worked with youth clinics, on an internal newsletter, and helped to plan the NFL Experience, a series of events that lead up to the Super Bowl.

SJSU: Were you a high school athletes?

Whitcomb: I played football, basketball and volleyball in high school. Then he played one year of football at Foothill College.

SJSU: What do you do during your free time?

Whitcomb: I like to put on a pair of sneakers and walk around the city. There are so many cool things to see, just walking down the street. There are a lot of cool parks and the East Village is such a fun area.

SJSU’s Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism Management Gearing Up for AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

SJSU Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism Management Students Gear Up for AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

By Rich Larson, SJSU Faculty Advisor/Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management Instructor

2010 SJSU hospitality students at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

2010 SJSU hospitality students at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

For the sixth year in a row, San Jose State University students are traveling to Pebble Beach Resorts for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, held this year February 7-13. During the week, student managers will supervise corporate chalets, corporate skybox hospitalities and on-course concessions for the Tournament.

Continue reading