Tickets and Travel

Managing tickets for bigger events and a bigger arena, plus coordinating travel plans for basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball and more is a daunting task but Jessica Russo is up to it.

ZH: Word is, you grew up going to Coach Hertz's baseball camps and you've known longtime Zags like Mike and Mary Shields… Can you talk about those years and what on earth possessed you to attend WSU?

JR: [laughs] The summer after first grade, I decided to play softball and Coach Hertz was my coach. Two of his daughters were on the team with me along with Mike and Mary Shields' daughter, Erin. We all continued to play together, as the Blue Angels, for several years with our dad's as our coaches. It was such a fun time and our families have turned into life-long friends. My parents both attended WSU and it was a natural fit for me to go to college there.

ZH: How did you come to Gonzaga's athletic department, and in what capacity did you start?

JR: I came to Gonzaga the fall after I graduated from College. I had been working in the field of my major, Adolescent Development and was not happy with the shifts that I was working. So, I spotted the ad in the newspaper and thought that the position of Receptionist in the Athletic Department sounded like a great second job. At that time the job was half time, nine-months of the year. A year later, the job was expanded to full-time, 12 months and Basketball Office Assistant was added to my duties. A year after that the Ticket Manager/Travel Coordinator position became available and it was a natural fit.

ZH: 2002-2003 was your first school year as Ticket Manager and Travel Coordinator. How did you get the job and how did your first year go? What was the biggest thing you learned for your second year?

JR: My first year went well. I was able to continue the work that had been started and since the position itself was relatively new, I was able to make some changes too. I don't know that I can pinpoint one specific thing that I learned. I think that actually doing the job was the best way to learn the job. Now that I have been through an entire school year and I know how the different sports seasons progress I will be better able to anticipate things and know what the end product should look like.

ZH: What was your most challenging task so far? Does any one episode stand out?

JR: My most challenging task so far has been learning to balance the different parts of the school year. There are some times where I am simply able to prioritize and attend to the most pressing issues. Other times, I am able to tie up loose ends, plan for upcoming events, and brainstorm new ideas.

ZH: What advice, besides patience, would you like to offer eager Zag fans who want tickets yesterday for particular sections at big games like the Pete Newell Challenge months down the road?

JR: I think that patience is really the only thing I can advise! [laughs] Often times an event like the Pete Newell is just one of many that a company is promoting and they have a timetable of when tickets are available for each event. Another thing to consider is that when we are the home team, like the Battle in Seattle, we have more control over the number of tickets we have access to and when they go on sale. For games where we are the visiting team, we have no say in any of that and I am only able to get a hold of a certain number of tickets when they release them to me.


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