Specialized studies graduate races into sales career at NASCAR
As a new account executive for NASCAR in Daytona Beach, Fla, Ohio University graduate Ryan Hiser is applying his love of sports, people skills, as well as his experience at OHIO to forge a successful career at one of the world’s most well-known stock car race companies.
“At the end of the day, sales is about people,” Hiser said.
Hiser entered Ohio University with an economics major and an interest in investment banking, but as his interests shifted he changed majors and graduated with a specialized studies degree focused in international business, trade and commerce.
“Ryan is a great example of how experiences can change a student’s professional trajectory and the importance of building transferrable skills,” said Cristy Null, assistant director of University College Advising and Student Services, who served as Hiser’s specialized studies advisor. “His experiences outside the classroom contributed to his current skillset in a powerful way.”
When Hiser graduated from OHIO in 2021 he wanted to work in sales for a sports organization, but with no industry experience he needed to find a way in. However, opportunity proved abundant. He took a premium usher job with the Columbus Crew for the summer and soon landed his first sports sales job with the Philadelphia Flyers. He then went to Pittsburgh, where he worked with the Penguins for six months before settling in to his current position with NASCAR.
“Ryan always believed in his ability to succeed, which is why people believe in him,” Null said. “I am excited for what the future holds for him.”
Because Hiser pursued a specialized studies major, he was able to follow his interests in economics and international trade, as well as build important relational skills through his communication, management and supervision courses, which are now serving him well, Null said.
At NASCAR, Hiser is enjoying working with people ranging from colleagues to clients.
“I spend most of my day making outbound calls to get people to come out to NASCAR races and campsites,” Hiser said. “I also set up appointments to help clients return in the following year, allowing them to make sure they get exactly what they want out of the experience.”
Hiser expressed deep gratitude for his advisor Null, who was instrumental in helping him successfully chart a path to graduation. He appreciated the opportunity to learn from the experienced instructors and professors at OHIO, especially in the College of Business. His favorite professors included Kim Jordan, John Nobles, Anne Valeant, Chauncey Joyce, and Jim Fuller.
“They took me under their wing and gave me their time and effort to make sure I succeeded,” Hiser said. “My experience at OHIO allowed me to grow as a professional and as a person.”
While at OHIO, Hiser was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, where he says he met some of his best friends. He said he loved every part of his Ohio University experience, but some of his OHIO highlights included living at Courtside, joining the Sigma Chi fraternity, parents/moms/dads weekends, winters in Athens, and even the first day of classes.
Hiser’s advice for current OHIO students is to enjoy their time at college, to believe in themselves and to focus on developing their soft skills, like interpersonal communications, which will serve them well in any future employment.