Arundel native sold on Atlanta

Leo Sloss works in sales for the Hawks and Thrashers - and sometimes hits the showers

At Play

October 10, 2007|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Special to The Sun

Leo Sloss can't cheer as loud for the Washington Capitals anymore.

The 23-year-old Sherwood Forest native was hired last month by the sales department of the Atlanta Hawks basketball team and the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team.

Former neighbor and longtime friend Keith Bradshaw worked for the company that owns the teams and help set things up for Sloss to get the interview and job before leaving to work with the Dallas Cowboys.

Sloss cold-calls businesses in hopes of selling them ticket plans - often season tickets. The Thrashers will host the National Hockey League All-Star Game in January, giving him a good sales pitch, but the job isn't easy.

"You get 20 noes for every yes. That part of the job is frustrating," he said. "It's hard, and it's definitely a job where you have to stay on an even keel."

Gigi Sloss isn't surprised that her son, one of five siblings, landed in a sales job. She said he has always enjoyed interacting with other people.

Before going to Lynchburg College in Virginia, Sloss spent in a year in Florida working for AmeriCorps, a network of service programs, to get a look at a different side of life and work with kids.

Sloss likes giving prospective clients tours of Philips Arena - where the Hawks and Thrashers play - when it's empty. Sloss said fans enjoy seeing the locker rooms the Thrashers and Hawks use, particularly the shower heads used by the Hawks, which are 10 feet above the floor to accommodate players, some of whom are close to 7 feet tall.

"That's a highlight," Sloss said with a laugh.

During his senior year at Lynchburg, Sloss was part of a group that helped raise $30,000 for the college. Sloss' success earned him a promotion to manager of the group, which solicited donations from parents and alumni.

Sloss loves sports. He played basketball and lacrosse at Archbishop Spalding High School before graduating in 2002.

A lifelong Orioles and Washington Capitals fan, he now roots for the Atlanta teams, too. But he couldn't help feeling conflicted when the Thrashers fell to the Capitals in Washington's season opener, 3-1.

He can sit in any open seat at a Hawks or Thrashers game for free.

"I like Atlanta a lot, and I expect to be down here for a while," he said. "I'm hoping my job will lead to opportunities like those Keith got. But I like it here."

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