Icons in Business
Big Top Sports & Entertainment:
Madison Mallards & Forward Madison FC
Left to Right: Conor Caloia, COO; Vern Stenman, president; Steve Schmitt, owner
Big Top Sports and Entertainment is one of the nation's leaders in summer collegiate baseball, operating four Northwoods League franchises in Wisconsin and breaking national attendance records with the Madison Mallards. They’ve even expanded beyond the ballpark in 2018, bringing professional soccer to Wisconsin with the launch of Forward Madison FC.
At the next Icons in Business, Big Top Sports & Entertainment’s leadership team will share insight into the challenges and opportunities facing the organization and its teams, and how they deliver a memorable fan experience.
About Conor Caloia, COO
As the COO of Big Top Baseball and along with President Vern Stenman, Conor oversees the Madison Mallards, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, Kenosha Kingfish and Green Bay Bullfrogs of the Northwoods League. He also oversees management of Breese Stevens Field and Festival Foods Shake the Lake. After starting as a public relations intern with the Mallards in 2003 and operations manager in 2004, Caloia served as the Assistant General Manager for two seasons. In 2006, he moved to Denver to work for the Western Athletic Conference. He returned to Madison in December of 2009 as General Manager of the Mallards and was named the Northwoods League Executive of the Year in 2011. In addition to his responsibilities with the Mallards, Caloia was involved in the founding of the Kenosha Kingfish in 2013 and the acquisition of the Green Bay Bullfrogs in 2013. In addition to his responsibilities with the Mallards, Caloia is on the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County.
About Vern Stenman, President
As the President of Big Top Baseball Vern’s role includes management and part ownership of the Madison Mallards, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, Kenosha Kingfish and Green Bay Bullfrogs of the Northwoods League. He also oversees management of Breese Stevens Field and Festival Foods Shake the Lake. Stenman, the 2003 and 2005 Northwoods League Executive of the Year, is entering his nineteenth season in the NWL. His innovative promotional ideas and steady vision have contributed to the Mallards consistently ranking in the top 25 in attendance in all of Minor League Baseball. He has helped draw over 200,000 fans per year from 2006 through 2015.
About Steve Schmitt, Owner
Steve Schmitt’s passion for the game and extraordinary attention to customer service are two big reasons why Big Top Baseball has become a mainstay across the entire state of Wisconsin and beyond. Also the owner of the Shoe Box and Rookies Sports Bar in Black Earth, WI, Steve is actively involved in the community and is a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. He is also the owner of the Madison Mallards, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, Kenosha Kingfish, and Green Bay Bullfrogs, all of the Northwoods League.
Date: Thursday, Sept. 12
8:00 a.m. | Registration and breakfast buffet
8:30 to 9:30 a.m. | Presentation
Location: The Madison Concourse Hotel, 1 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53703
Tickets: $35 each; $175 table of eight
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