Staff News: Tennessee, Joliet, Wisconsin Rapids

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We hear from staff today from Tennessee Smokies (Double-A South), Joliet Slammers (League of Borders) and Wisconsin Rapids Rafters (Northwood League).

For Smokies and Boyd Sports, Paul Makres is now director of finance. Makres brings over 30 years of experience in accounting, finance and joint venture environments, previously working for companies such as Coca-Cola and DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products.

“We are delighted to welcome Paul to the Boyd Sports team,” said the CEO of Boyd Sports. Doug Kirchhofer by press release. “He is a talented professional whose extensive career experience in financial management will be invaluable as Boyd Sports continues to evolve and grow.”

Originally from Knoxville, Makres graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. He has been married for 25 years to his wife Angie and has three children together, daughters Stevie and Danni, and son Brock.

“The Tennessee Smokies and Boyd Sports provide a great family environment,” Makres said via a press release. “It’s a great team for which I have the privilege to work. “


In Joliet, Briar mills is the new CFO, overseeing all budgetary and financial aspects of the organization. His responsibilities will also include ticketing operations, merchandising and overseeing our food and beverage operations. She has been part of the team since 2013 and general manager since 2016

John wilson, who was hired as vice president of sales and marketing in fall 2018, will become executive vice president of baseball operations / chief revenue officer. He will oversee all income generating activities, as well as baseball and baseball stadium operations.

Lauren Rhodes, who most recently served as Director of Ticket Sales and has been with the team since 2016, becomes Deputy Managing Director. She will oversee all stadium rentals, ticket sales and ticket sales staff.

Tom fremarek, who had been director of food and beverage since 2014, retired at the end of the 2021 season. Doug Clement, who most recently served as Director of Food and Beverage for the Kane County Cougars (American Association) and has previous experience at Arlington International Racecourse and in the NFL.

“Heather and John have been extremely important leaders for the baseball club and I am happy to recognize their many contributions to the Slammers on and off the field,” said the majority owner. Nick semaca by press release. “We thank Tom for eight wonderful years and wish him the best in his retirement, and we are delighted to have found a wonderful new Food and Beverage Chef at Doug Clements.”


Rachael Leystra joins the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters as Head of Marketing and Inside Sales, working with Nine-Game Pack owners and groups. She will also oversee the promotional team to provide a unique baseball experience.

Leystra joins the Rafyers after completing an internship in Marketing and Promotions with the Eau Claire Express (Northwoods League) in the 2021 season. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout with a dual major in hospitality, foodservice, tourism management and golf business management. She also obtained a minor in Spanish, which allowed her to study abroad in Mexico.

“I am very happy to take on this new role with the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters,” she said via a press release. “I can’t wait to be next season and officially be part of the Cranberry Crazies. “


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