Lacrosse is one of America's fastest growing sports, and GKDSportsVision and its owner and principal, Gene DeLorenzo, are at least partially responsible - especially when it comes to women's lacrosse. The company's annual event, SpringFling, draws some of the nation's top NCAA Division I, II and III lacrosse teams, along with a number of elite prep school teams, for a women's lacrosse spring training event like no other. Here, DeLorenzo shares some of his experiences planning this huge event that has made a powerful impact on women's lacrosse.
GKDSportsVision, a private, sole proprietorship.
Years in industry
Fourteenth year in 2010.
Years in current position
What is the mission of your organization?
GKDSportsVision, and in particular our SpringFling event, exists to provide an opportunity for young women athletes to enjoy and make progress in the sport of women's lacrosse.
Nationally, how many participants do you have?
SpringFling hosts more than 2,500 student athletes each March in Palm Beach County, Florida. The most teams hosted was in 2006, 116 collegiate and high school teams from around the country, Maine to California. Many of the top lacrosse programs in the country have competed at SpringFling, including Final Four teams from all three NCAA collegiate divisions.
How many events are held each year?
SpringFling is a national annual event.
In what regions/locations are they held?
SpringFling has been held in Palm Beach County for six years and was held in Bay County, Florida for seven years prior to that. We are happy to provide Palm Beach County with another viable event to add to their impressive list of sporting events. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission and the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, among others, are very helpful to us. College teams base a great deal of their decision-making upon not only our service, but especially the location of the event. Palm Beach County has been a good place for us.
As an organization, what do you look for in a location?
We absolutely must have a major airport, local interest in women's lacrosse, quality field locations, a supportive Conventions and Visitors Bureau (or its equivalent, such as a sports commission), hotels and ground transportation. Outstanding weather and local attractions are a huge plus also. Palm Beach County in Florida provides all of this.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Receiving the appreciation of coaches, administrators, players, Sports Information Directors, referees and local people in the community who respect and enjoy what we are doing.
What is your biggest challenge in organizing your organization's events?
Our event is held 1,500 miles from our home office in Middlebury, Vermont. We have to be able to make decisions without having the luxury of being able to be on site to determine what serves our interests the best. We also have to spend a great deal of money to operate our infrastructure to support housing, food, field rentals, insurance, etc. involved in the event.
Please describe how you feel your knowledge, skills and experience have contributed to the success of the sports events in which you are involved.
We have a great team. We employ a wonderfully creative group of expert women's lacrosse umpires, along with select people who are extremely proficient in the operation of an event such as ours. I have also been active in the collegiate athletic scene for over three decades. Our umbrella is a large and all-encompassing one.