Hammond, born and raised in a small town in Illinois, coached high school, college, and professional basketball before entering the front office in the NBA. He won the NBA championship in 2006 as general manager of the Detroit Pistons. Interestingly enough, Hammond said that he never received any job that he applied for, but always got jobs that people offered to him. That helped him emphasize the theme of luck within the sports marketing profession.
Ash, a native Canadian, worked his way through the Toronto Blue Jays from ticket salesman to groundskeeper, all the way up to general manager. After being let go following seven seasons, Brewers GM Doug Melvin brought Ash on as assistant GM. Ash said that "it's getting your foot in the door" that leads to success in the sports industry.
Steinmiller, a lifelong Milwaukee resident, started off working at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel as a senior in high school. He graduated from Marquette in 2004, and was fortunate enough to pick up a low level job with the Brewers after graduation. From there, he worked his way up to become the media relations manager.
Perhaps the liveliest portion of the evening came when Hammond told a story about meeting President Bush at the White House after the Pistons won the championship in 2006 (the story came as a result of my question, I might add). The whole crowd laughed raucously when Hammond reached the punch line, which involved the former president not knowing who Hammond was when they shook hands.
For a more complete summary, see my classmate Jacob Born's recap of the event that he wrote in the Thursday edition of the Marquette Tribune.
I sincerely hope Marquette will continue to bring fantastic guests like Hammond, Ash and Steinmiller to campus in the future, because I learned a lot and really enjoyed listening to their wisdom about an industry I might get involved in in my professional career.