Sports organization hires national sales manager


Alyssa Updegrave Courtesy West Michigan Sports Commission

The West Michigan Sports Commission added a new member to its staff.

The organization hired Alyssa Updegrave as its national sales manager. She replaced Jamie Schlagel, who held the position since 2014. Updegrave is responsible for helping to increase the number of national sporting events hosted in the region.

“We’re excited to round out our team to full strength again by adding someone with national sports event management experience who will help get West Michigan on bid lists for greater and more varied national events,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission.

Before joining WMSC, she worked with IRONMAN, an international endurance race that is a combination of running, biking and swimming, for more than five years in both its Tampa, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee, offices. Updegrave was the athletic services coordinator, executing all race day responsibilities.

She later became a race director in 2017 for IRONMAN 70.3 Augusta, which is North America's largest IRONMAN 70.3 race with 3,700 athletes, and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon, where 30,000 athletes compete. Updegrave has competed in one half-marathon and three full marathon IRONMAN events.

Updegrave also was the fitness programs director at the University of Central Florida. She planned fitness events for the students.

She was the marketing-guest relations coordinator for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and an event operations intern in Tampa for both Amalie Arena, where the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning play home games, and for the 2012 Republican National Convention. 

She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in event management with a minor in marketing and hospitality management.

“I am so excited to be a part of the West Michigan Sports Commission,” Updegrave said. “As a newcomer to Grand Rapids, I have already fallen in love with the culture, community and diversity of landscapes that work well with a magnitude of sporting events. I can’t wait to showcase Grand Rapids and West Michigan to both returning guests and new visitors.”

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