WATERTOWN, Wis. -- For senior Matthew Sheeley (Kansas City, Mo.), expanding his horizons with practical experience has been at the top of his "to-do" list during his undergraduate career at Maranatha Baptist University. Thanks to the internship program in MBU's sport management major, Sheeley is doing just that by filling the role of Mid-Term Operations Manager for the United States Golf Association's (USGA) 117th playing of the U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills in Hartford, Wis.
Sheeley has eagerly embraced his responsibilities at the USGA Field Operations Office. His job description includes equipment management and placement, acting as a liaison between the USGA and incoming vendors, budget management and monitoring, delegation, and more. Sheeley's primary responsibilities are in the equipment management aspect of his job - namely, overseeing some 450 golf carts and 100 storage containers in preparation for the busy week. "This means a lot of communication to keep things organized and running on schedule," Sheeley said. "It is a varied and exciting job!"
While the world-renowned championship takes place June 15-18, the work for Sheeley and part of the 4,800-man operations crew stretches a three-and-a-half-month span. Sheeley began in early April and will conclude his tenure in mid-July.
"Some of the upper-level managers on the USGA team have actually been preparing for four years for this year's tournament," Sheeley said. "All of our work is done so that we can completely renovate the facility to accommodate the thousands of golf fans coming in June. We then will have to get the course back to normal by July. Players will start to come to the course in May to place practice rounds and I am sure we will do all we can to accommodate them."
Sheeley said that he simply applied online for the position and was hired after virtual interviews. "I am very excited about my position," commented Sheeley. "The USGA is very good with re-hiring their employees once they prove themselves reliable. This will also hopefully be a great résumé builder as I am getting the opportunity to work with a very high-profile event. I thank God that I have the opportunity to work in a place with such high standards of performance and such rich history as the USGA."
While Sheeley is enthusiastically looking towards the future, the Kansas City native recognizes how his alma mater prepared him for his current position.
"I learned several event management concepts while doing other practicums for my [sport management] degree that have prepared me for an event like this," Sheeley noted. "I have learned communication skills, writing skills, and computer skills, and I would even say that the interview and application process was somewhat learned in my time at MBU.
"My background in manual labor jobs has given me great experience with long hours, 'grunt work', and machinery. Working in Guest Relations [at MBU] prepared me to be diligent in communication, and even being a Resident Assistant [in Leland Dorm] prepared me to be in a place of leadership."
Sheeley is an avid golfer and golf fan himself, so that fact is the proverbial cherry on top for the recent graduate. "I love to play golf," said Sheeley. "I got into golf through my brother and friends so I've grown to love it for the social aspect. I for sure will at least get a picture with the winner of the event with the rest of my office!"
When we at mbusabercats.com asked the Missouri native what advice he would give younger students Sheeley said, "I would advise [them] to look at these opportunities and apply to as many as you can. I would suggest being on the lookout for internships, jobs, and opportunities that you might be personally interested in. I knew nothing about working with the USGA when I applied and God really opened a door. Be proactive and be willing to try something new!"
More about MBU Athletics: The mission of the Athletic Department of Maranatha Baptist University is to develop leadership skills in the student-athlete through skilled training, godly mentoring, and intercollegiate competition.