Kenosha Kingfish food and beverage intern Alexsis Kempin-Ellis has found her home in the field of hospitality, but she the scenic route at the University of Alabama to land there.
She started off her collegiate career wanting to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and become a nurse.
Then, the Alabama sports culture moved her to switch her major to athletic training.
After realizing the medical side of sports was not for her either, she took advertising and communications classes to try to find the right fit for her.
Finally, she found a major she loves in hospitality management last August.
And what better place to learn about hospitality than the South?
“It’s been amazing, just going to ‘Bama and living in the Dixie State and just having that Southern hospitality realm already created for us,” Kempin-Ellis said.
Kempin-Ellis works with an Alabama football program that had the fourth largest revenue in college football last season at $127 million, so her experience with an admittedly smaller organization in the Kenosha Kingfish has been valuable for her in terms of resource management.
“They say, when you’re trying to work in sports, it’s better to work with a smaller organization with half the budget than what I come from,” Kempin-Ellis said. “I’ve gained a lot of experience how to budget out things.”
Kempin-Ellis works alongside fellow food and beverage intern Seth Heiligenthal on the budget and the ordering of ballpark amenities under director of food and beverage Jake Zappa.
“We are gaining the experience of taking in orders and making sure we having things planned out for a week-long of games or when we only have one game in a week,” Kempin-Ellis said.
Though she wears many hats within the department, Kempin-Ellis enjoys her work with the organization’s premium seating areas (the Fish Bowl, 4-Top Tables, Founders Club, etc.) most because it relates most directly to her desired career.
That being said, all aspects of the job have taught her lessons and helped prepare her for the field of hospitality.
“I want to be in the hospitality realm, which food and beverage does fall under,” Kempin-Ellis said. “This (internship) has definitely given me the experience of stress management and time management.”
And there is a lot of time to manage. Kempin-Ellis, like many full-time staff members and interns, typically arrives at the ballpark at 9 a.m. and often does not leave until 1 a.m. on game days.
She could not endure the wear and tear of multiple 14 hour days doing just anything, though.
“I can’t even do four hours as at retail job,” Kempin-Ellis joked. “I didn’t really have the best work ethic throughout (college), but now being here and being in sports makes me realize how much I truly want to be in sports.
“Just knowing I can make it through 14-hour game days kind of shows that sports is the realm for me,” Kempin-Ellis said.
A popular adage says that if you do something you love for a living, you never have to work a day in your life, and Kempin-Ellis has been rewarded with just that as she enters her final year of college after sticking it out for six years despite multiple major-switches.