CMD Alum Pursues Career as an Event Director at Rugged Races LLC

Amy Lindenfelzer began her time at Ithaca College in the fall of 2011. When approaching her decision of choosing a major, Amy knew that she wanted to do some form of event planning, but did not want to be a "party planner.” She has a background in both theater and sports, which allowed her to look at the bigger picture of her dreams, as well as the smaller individual pieces. With this knowledge and drive, she decided on pursuing a B.S. in Communication Management and Design and a minor in Psychology. This major is ultimately what led Amy to her choice of attending Ithaca College. Amy calls CMD the “all-in-one major,” because throughout her four years at school, she learned a lot about everything. Unlike her friends in other schools that focused on one specific topic, for example accounting, Amy learned about marketing, advertising, strategic planning, web design, movie production, basic coding, accounting/ budgeting, HR, and training. She jokes that the major was, in actuality, “How To Be A CEO,” because the skills taught can be applied to almost any field.

Amy credits her major overall with her vast range of knowledge, but highlights a few specific courses as especially valuable. Howard Kalman, a professor in the Roy H. Park School of Communication, teaches a course called Communication Management Lab. Amy labels this course as “one of the most eye opening classes I have ever taken.” On the course, Amy says, “I learned so much about being a good leader, worker, CEO, intern, etc. It sounds silly, but he was the one that showed our class that we can apply our skills to any field. From my class of 20 seniors, we had people go into the sports, health care, charity, corporate wellness, law, and special events. Looking at the major, I doubt anyone would think "party planning" and law would fall under the same major.” Amy also highlights Ari Kissiloff, another Park professor’s, Advanced Web Design course. She did not know it at the time, but the lessons she learned about using the front and back end of websites, along with php scripting, would directly impact her first major job.

After she graduated in the spring of 2015, Amy returned home to work at a job that was not truly what she wanted. While her friends were venturing off to job positions in Los Angeles and New York City, Amy was anxious about continuing to live at home. In January of 2016, she landed an interview to be the Wedding Coordinator at the Crown Plaza in New Hampshire. Amy went through all the interviews with the GMs and upper management. She was offered the job the same day as she interviewed with another company, Rugged Races LLC. She now had to make a decision, live at home for less pay, or move to Boston and travel the world for more pay.

Needless to say, Amy chose to accept the position as an Assistant Event Director at Rugged Races. Three months later, she was promoted to Event Director because one of the Event Directors was leaving to pursue her dream job. Amy credits the lessons she learned in Kalman’s class for her promotion saying, “I swear this [course] was what helped me get the promotion over other Assistant Event Directors that had been with the company longer. There is a HUGE difference between managing and leading."

Now, Amy is currently one of the three Event Directors at Rugged Races LLC, a Mark Cuban company, based out of Boston, MA. Rugged Races, is an epic event production company that puts on The Great Bull Run, Costume Dash, The Boston Triathlon, and Rugged Maniac. Their premier race, Rugged Maniac, is a 5K obstacle course race within a day long festival. The festival includes free beer, a mechanical bull, music, dancing, and a lot of contests. Picture Kendall Day + Tough Mudder all hosted by Kevin Hart. That is Rugged Maniac.

However, from Amy’s Event Director’s perspective, Rugged Maniac is traveling all over the US and Canada, from Monday through Sunday, every week from March until Thanksgiving. A construction team that goes to every event begins building the obstacles a week before the race. Then, Amy flies down with the RR administrative team, and starts creating the festival area. This includes registration, branding, bag check, parking, food, beer, and sponsors. The team sets up all week, and on race day Amy’s staff has certain positions and responsibilities to make sure the event runs smoothly and volunteers know what they are doing. Each event averages 5,000 participants, and each event has 6 full time staff (admin).

In her field, Amy reads and negotiates venue contracts. She works with the company’s lawyer to obtain the correct Certificates of Insurance for every event. “Thanks, Gordon's Critical Thinking class,” she says. Amy creates training manuals for staff, race directors across the country, and American Cancer Society charity coordinators. She says that Dennis Charsky’s Instructional Design course was so helpful when creating these documents. Kissiloff’s Advanced Web Design course, as noted before, helped Amy to create the registration process in Ticket Socket which allows her to utilize the back end of php.

Finally, Amy highlights David Prunty's Event Management course as one of her absolute favorite courses. She says, “It was a very helpful course if you are going into the event's field. In this course, I actually researched Tough Mudder as a class project (Tough Mudder is currently a competitor of RR). I presented the company to my class and helped three people register that day.” In the course, Amy learned about different types of events, certain event jargon, proper contact negotiation, and budgeting. These types of skills helped her to perform in her interview with Rugged Races, where she was asked situational questions about handling event crisis.

Amy adds, “It’s weird looking back now, pinpointing the exact moments that lead me to where I am. I truly do think that Ithaca prepared me for working in the Events Industry. If it wasn't in the classroom, it was with the extra curricular activities, like HiFashion Studios, Senior Cabinet, and Ballroom. As President of HiFashion Studios, I needed to plan a Fashion show and manage a magazine every semester. This provided experience managing different types of people, coordinating between teams, and budgeting large scale events on no money.” Amy had a successful career at Ithaca College, and will continue to use her lessons learned, both inside and outside of the classroom, to only further her success in her career.