MEET: Rachel Mark, she’s been to every RailRiders game for the past 3 years
Rachel Mark is the director of community relations with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. She has worked with the team for three years. Mark, 27, is a native of Aberdeen, North Carolina. She received a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and tourism management at North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in sports administration from East Carolina University. She lives in Old Forge.
It would seem that you’re right where you want to be, professionally. I didn’t figure that out until after I had graduated college. I originally thought I wanted to be a news anchor, and then I thought I wanted to be an events planner. Once I graduated, I took an internship with the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, and that’s when I found sports and community relations. And that’s what took me back to school for my master’s.
What is it you enjoy working with the RailRiders? I really love the way that sports is so influential on people’s lives. And my job, specifically, is to take that influence and do good with it. That’s really why I’m passionate about my job. It’s a really fun work environment. We become a family, because we spend so much time together, especially during the season. With my family being so far away from me, I form really strong relationships with the people that I work with. And that’s nice.
With 72 home games a year, you must have at least 72 very long workdays. Oh, yeah. And that’s not counting playoffs and special events. It’s a lot of time. It’s a strong commitment when you want to work in sports, especially with something like baseball.
What do you enjoy in your free time? I like to run, which is something I just picked up over the last couple of years. I was never a runner before, but I was always an athlete, so it was something that was easy to pick up. I also like to read. And I like to spend time with my friends, who are typically my co-workers. Believe it or not, we go to baseball games, or we go out and watch sporting events. It’s our lives.
Favorite music? I really enjoy country music. Being from the South, that’s what I grew up with. And it’s actually really popular here, too, which I didn’t expect. Lee Brice and Brantley Gilbert are my two favorites.
Fvorite sports teams? First and foremost, the New York Yankees are my favorite Major League Baseball team. And my heart is with the San Diego Chargers and any sport that North Carolina State University is involved with.
Favorite cities? Denver. It’s just a beautiful city with a lot of culture and a lot of things to do. And it’s very clean. And Charleston, South Carolina.
Favorite thing about NEPA? Just how different it is, from what I grew up with. Even the way the towns are laid out, you still have shops that are in people’s homes. That’s not something I was used to. There’s also a lot of history here and a lot of strong family ties. It’s a big small town, and that’s a nice change of pace for me.
Favorite vacation spot? The beach. I don’t get to go that often, because of my work schedule in the summer, but I really enjoy just going to the beach, relaxing and hanging out.
Favorite food? Anything with potatoes. Potato chips, French fries, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes … anything with potatoes, I love.
Favorite holiday? Christmas. That’s the one time a year my family all gets together.
Favorite book? “The Shack” by William P. Young
Biggest pet peeve? A lack of effort. When you’re all working towards a goal, and I see someone not trying as hard as everyone else.
Is there anything about you that might surprise even your friends? I was a collegiate cheerleader. I don’t think a lot of people know that about me.
Who has been the most influential person in your life? My mother, because of the strength that she instilled in me. After college, I’ve done a lot of moving around on my own, and moving into new cities. Charleston. Kansas City. Up here, to Northeastern Pennsylvania. She always taught me to never be scared to do new things and to try new things. She told me that I could always do it. And by instilling those values in me, and that strength in me, it helped make me who I am today.
Alan K. Stout is a regular contributor to Weekender. In addition to the MEET feature, he also writes about the NEPA music scene.
MEET is a new feature in Weekender that profiles local people from throughout NEPA.