Living the Dream: Boston Cannons' Kevin Barney

Kevin BarneyVice President& General Manager---Boston CannonsGet to know KevinIf you could have dinner with anyone, living or not, who would it be?Abraham Lincoln. He’s always been one of my favorite political, American figures. What he meant to our the history of our country is very inspirational and interesting. I think everyone could learn from his thoughts on how this country works and what he tried to do.What restaurant would you take him to?I would take him to a steakhouse to have a real hearty meal. I’d love to enjoy a good meal and have good conversation.If you could live in any book, TV show or movie, which one would it be?Most of the TV shows and movies I’ve been watching lately are not good for this, they are set in an apocalyptic world, not where you’d want to be. I’ll go with one of my all-time favorites: Major League. It’s a great sports movie about a struggling franchise that turns things around.What was your childhood dream job?Believe it or not, I’m living it. It definitely wasn’t lacrosse because I didn’t play lacrosse growing up, but being the GM of a sports team was always what I wanted to do. I knew early on that I wasn’t going to be playing professional sports, so the next best thing is to be involved in it.How did your upbringing influence who and where you are today?Learning ResponsibilityAs a kid, I was very involved in sports. I played baseball, soccer and basketball growing up. I ran track and cross country in high school and my early days in college, where I learned how to balance responsibilities and priorities between sports and academics.Family SupportEducation was very important in my family. I was always very good at math and science so everyone thought I would go to engineering school. I remember the day I told my parents I wanted to go to school for sports. I was apprehensive about their reaction, but they were completely supportive. They helped me do the research and pointed me in the right direction to succeed. Although it came with plenty of challenges, the support of my family and friends had a very positive influence on me as I pursued my dream. That holds true, even in recent years.SacrificesSports is a tough industry to work in. I’ve missed a lot of events and family time. When you work in sports, you work when other people don't. I’ve worked a lot of nights, weekends and holidays. I’ve had to sacrifice things, but I've always had the support of my family. I still do today with my wife. We have two young kids, which adds to the challenge. Without family support it’s impossible to do this.How have you progressed professionally to your current role with the Cannons?New England PGAThe best part for me was actually the internship I did while at Springfield College. It was extremely important, not only for experience, but for resume building, which helped me get a job afterward. I started my career in golf, interning with the New England PGA, and then they hired me right away after I graduated. I tried to be involved in as many different areas of the organization as I could.National Kidney FoundationAfter the PGA, I had the opportunity to go work for the National Kidney Foundation. I ran their big fund-raising golf tournaments all over New England. We had up to twelve tournaments each year. That was a really unique experience working in sports, per se, but doing it directly for a non-profit charity. It was really special for me because I could see the impact of the money we raised. It took a lot of hard work and dedication.New England Revolution, The Kraft GroupMy time with the National Kidney Foundation led to an opportunity to work for the New England Revolution and the Kraft family, where I stayed for eight years. I worked in ticket sales, which was something totally different for me at the time, but I knew it was a great area for me to learn about sports. I think it’s one of the most important areas; if anyone wants to get involved in sports and really grow, sell tickets. It’s one of the harder things to do, but it can be fun too, because you’re in the sales world. It’s much more enjoyable to sell sporting events than normal consumer products. That experience taught me a lot about the business of sports and about the fans that come out to the sporting events, which laid a lot of ground work for me.Boston CannonsWhen I learned about an opportunity with the Cannons, I came and met with Mark Kastrud, the GM at the time. I really hit it off with him, and he offered me the job. It was a totally different environment because when I was in the marketing department for The Kraft Group, there were 35 of us. When I started with the Cannons, I was the marketing department. It was much more hands-on and I wore several different hats every day. That reinvigorated my passion to realize my dream of running a sports team. I wanted to be involved in every aspect of the organization. My role provided a ton of opportunity to learn about the business of running the franchise. When Mark left, they handed me the keys and said “Let’s go.” That was kind of a shock and a challenge to be in charge of running every aspect of the team. It’s been a fun challenge, but we have a ways to go here with this team, league and sport. I really enjoy being a part of this organization.What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced since you took over the Cannons?Time ManagementHaving to oversee so many different areas and managing time and energy. I have to bounce back and forth every day handling different things, from office supplies and IT, to player trades and travel. The time management and multitasking is probably the most challenging part to it.Growing the SportThe sport of lacrosse and our league are each still young and growing. We are trying to find our foothold, not only in American sports, but here in the Boston, New England area. It’s a very crowded sports market. Trying to continue to grow has many challenges. Everyone has to be fully committed and know the challenges for us to be a successful business. It’s a slow process, but we’re always finding new ways to grow this team, league and sport.What is your biggest success you’ve been a part of in your current role?ChampionshipIn 2011, winning the MLL Championship was something that I’ll never forget. It was the first for this team, and to be a part of that was special. When I worked for the Revolution and the New England Patriots, I went to two Super Bowls. I have a staff Super Bowl ring, but I would've traded that thing in a heartbeat to win one with the Cannons because I’m so much more involved. To see our fans, who have been with us since the beginning, be able to celebrate was really something special.Attendance RecordsIn 2012 we broke some of our attendance records. I am really proud of that because of the work we did with only seven people in our office. When I walked into Harvard Stadium and saw nearly 12,000 people, I knew I played a part in getting those people there. During the game I took a minute to look around and appreciate the fans. Our players were excited about how big of a crowd it was. Those are the little moments that make the job definitely worth all the hard work and effort.What is your favorite inspirational quote?“Make your teammates better.” I don’t know who that quote is originally attributed to, but one of my coaches several years ago mentioned it before a game, and it’s been part of my mantra with the team. If you make your teammate better, the team will be better. That not only applies on the field but off the field, to the team staff and our front office staff as well. If everyone is working to make everyone else better and make their jobs easier, we’ll all rise.

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