Sam Spitz has been around motorsports her entire life. Growing up, her dad raced sprint cars and she attended countless dirt, oval and road races all over the country.
For the past year and a half, Spitz has served as manager of marketing events at NASCAR Events Group where she directs all consumer-facing events outside of the race itself. The day-to-day work varies with different projects each year although some recent assignments have included NASCAR Acceleration Nation at-track display, NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week (Las Vegas), Troops Welcome Center (Daytona), SEMA, Summer X-Games (Austin) and Telemundo Festival (Phoenix). She also assists the entire NASCAR Events Group with events including award ceremonies, press conferences and hospitality.
Prior to joining NASCAR, the Wisconsin native worked at Octagon as a senior account manager for The Sprint Experience. For three years, she worked closely with the JHE team. She also worked as a senior program manager on the Ford account for six years at Mach 2 Management.
Spitz holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and a Master’s degree in advertising management from Michigan State University.
Q&A with Sam:
What is the best career advice you ever received? Network, network, network … you never know who you will meet and where it will take you.
What is the biggest myth about your job? That it is glamorous. Everyone sees the final product which looks wonderful and is often high profile. But we are behind the scenes, often dirty and sweaty.
What is the insider secret to your job? For my specific role, you have to be a fan. You have to understand the fan, what they see and how they think. Fan interaction is great but it is when you can have that conversation or experience that makes them really feel like a part of the NASCAR family that is what makes the job worth it.
What is the best part of your job? My job is different every day. The ground work is very similar from event to event but the end result could be anything. I work with different departments and teams within NASCAR so the focus varies and it keeps things exciting. One day I may be at track getting more kids interested in NASCAR and the next I am away from the track helping to educate new fans from different backgrounds. And then I may be helping to promote our green initiatives and then showing the sport’s support for the military. But, in the end, I get to work with the fans, new or old.
Why did you choose your career path? I feel like it chose me. I originally went to school to be a physical therapist and then decided I wanted to be a big advertising executive. But in grad school I made a wrong turn and cut through the engineering building where I saw a racecar. The passion I had for racing and cars growing up came back and I had to find out how to get involved. From there, I made connections in the automotive industry that led to a job at an event marketing company where I got to work with cars every day.
What has been your best mistake? See above … took a wrong turn in grad school.
What is the best part of working with JHE? JHE is a family; they look out for each other. This carries out across the different teams at track and their clients. I know if something is needed, they will pull together and make it happen no matter what the circumstances. But while doing this, they look out for each other and those that are a part of their “extended family.” Whether you are on the road (or in the office) by yourself or with a team of ten, JHE always has your back.
What has most impressed you about JHE? Over the years, I have been around JHE through several challenges, personal and professional. What impressed me was how they regrouped and bounced back stronger no matter the situation. Whether it was quick rebranding, damage from severe weather or worse, they rallied together and moved forward with absolute professionalism.
What is your personal definition of success? Happiness. I consider myself successful if I enjoy what I am doing and am proud of the work that I did. Plus you have to have fun doing it and with the people around you.
Things You May Not Know About Sam:
I’m inspired by … anyone that physically or mentally overcomes a challenge in their life. It doesn’t have to be a tragedy, just something that seems next to impossible for them.
My runner-up career was … physical therapist because I spent so many hours in PT with my knee that I figured I knew a thing or two.
My ultimate stress reliever is … hitting the gym, especially boxing.
On my iPod playlist right now is … everything and anything but country (sorry NASCAR fans).
My biggest pet peeve is … when people do not return texts or emails but you know they read it.
My favorite sport is … racing and all Michigan State.
I don’t leave home without … my phone, not sure how we lived without them.
My favorite vacation yet was to … Costa Rica. It had everything … adventure, relaxation and good food.
The product that should be invented is … a teleporting machine. It would make traveling so much easier.
The best concert I’ve ever seen is … Beastie Boys and Britney Spears (not together). Both were amazing productions.
No one knows that I can … fall sleep anywhere: airports, restaurants, basketball games or in a racecar (yes, these have all happened).