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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • Sara Wingate Bako, Scott Hartford, Casey Sparks, Rebecca Norberg, Frank and Sally Roach, and company representative for Contemporary Services Corporation pose together for a photo.

College of HRSM announces 2022 Distinguished Alumni and Friends of the College Awards

Four University of South Carolina alumni have been recognized by the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management for their leadership and accomplishments in their field. The College of HRSM Distinguished Alumni and Friends of the College Awards are presented annually and celebrate industry professionals, organizations and friends of the college who are making an impact on the industry or who are helping to advance the College of HRSM’s education excellence.

Congratulations to the 2022 College of HRSM Distinguished Alumni and Friends of the College award winners.

Sara Bako headshot

HRSM Distinguished Alumni Award: Sara Wingate Bako

Sara Wingate Bako earned her degree in retailing from the University of South Carolina in 2004. Today she serves as president of London Times, a division of Maggy London Group – a women’s designer apparel brand specializing in dresses. Throughout her distinguished career, Bako has remained engaged with her alma mater – providing mentorship and career development opportunities for students and serving on the Industry Advisory Board for the Department of Retailing.

Career Highlights

  • Prior to joining Maggy London in 2022, Bako spearheaded the launch and oversaw management of three brands; Cupio, Cupio Blush, and Adyson Parker.
  • Bako has held numerous executive positions with companies such as Takeout Inc., HMS Productions, and NYC Alliance.
  • Her retailing career started in 2005 in the executive training program with Macy’s where she went on to become a buyer before moving to New York City to pursue wholesale and merchandising.
  • She is a member of two exclusive leadership groups, Chief and the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.


Scot Harriford headshot

HRSM Distinguished Alumni Award: Scott Harriford

Willie Lloyd “Scott” Harriford IV is a 2016 alumnus of the University of South Carolina and earned his undergraduate degree in hospitality management. He has gone on to utilize his background in event management to build a prestigious career in the political campaign arena and is now a principal of Hilltop Public Solutions based in Washington D.C. Harriford is a Columbia, S.C. native and has participated in numerous alumni functions with the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management throughout the years – helping to shape the future of the college.

Career Highlights

  • As a principal at Hilltop Public Solutions, Harriford manages large-scale campaigns and provides strategic insight and advice to political and public affairs clients.
  • Prior to Hilltop, Harriford was appointed as the White House Liaison for the U.S. Small Business Administration.
  • He worked on the Biden campaign as the South Carolina political director, and after the primary election he became the Southeastern political director for the Biden-Harris campaign.
  • Before heading to D.C., Harriford worked in South Carolina’s First Congressional District as a senior field director for then Congressman Joe Cunningham.
  • His career beginnings included starting a small business that focused on hydroponic farm development and consulting in South Carolina.


Casey Sparks headshot

HRSM Distinguished Alumni Award: Casey Sparks

Casey Sparks began her career while still a student at the University of South Carolina, as a marketing intern opening the Colonial Life Arena in 2001. She is currently vice president of Oak View Group Austin and assistant general manager at Moody Center in Austin, Texas. The $375 million dollar venue was built on The University of Texas campus and opened in April of 2022, quickly becoming one of the top 5 venues in the country. Sparks earned her bachelor’s degree in sport and entertainment management in 2002.

Career Highlights

  • After Carolina, Sparks was recruited and accepted a position at AT&T Center, home of the NBA San Antonio Spurs.
  • In 2007 she moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma as the regional director of sales and marketing for 17 facilities, including BOK Center.
  • She went on to become director of sales and marketing for Red Light Management, the largest independent artist management company in the world, whose roster includes Dave Matthews Band, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton and many more.
  • Sparks returned to Tulsa in 2012 to manage BOK Center. During her tenure, she led the arena to be a nationally and internationally ranked facility for ticket sales – earning dozens of industry awards and nominations, including Venue Executive of the Year and Concert Venue of the Year.


Rebecca Norberg headshot

HRSM Distinguished Young Alumni Award: Rebecca Norberg

Rebecca Norberg graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s in sport
and entertainment management in 2014 and will earn her Master of Human Resources and Organizational Design from Eastern Michigan University in April 2023. As a student she served as student director of the SEVT Conference, participated in volunteer opportunities and built relationships with faculty and fellow students. She took the program’s focus on internships to heart, working with the Greenville Drive, Carolina Panthers, Koger Center, and worked as a resident mentor for the Sport Management Living and Learning Community and as a student assistant in the Athletic Department.

Career Highlights

  • Norberg started her professional career with Feld Entertainment in Houston and was then recruited by the Professional Bull Riders and moved to Nashville in 2015. In 2018, she was named director of live events and moved to Las Vegas to oversee the PBR World Finals.
  • Norberg pitched the creation of a corporate social responsibility department at the PBR. In August of 2020, she assumed the role of head of the newly formed department and built the organization’s philanthropic and social impact programs from the ground up.
  • In August, NRG Energy, a Fortune 200 company, recruited Norberg to oversee their corporate philanthropy program.


Frank and Sally Roach smile for a photo together.

HRSM Distinguished Service Award: Frank and Sally Roach

Frank and Sally Roach have played an important role in the success of the sport and entertainment management program within the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management.

Frank Roach spent 12 years as a senior lecturer in the Department of Sport and Entertainment
Management at the University of South Carolina where he developed and taught courses in event management, live entertainment, and venue management. During that time he made an immeasurable positive impact on students that is still being felt today.

Sally Roach constantly stood beside Frank to support the College of HRSM. As executive director of the Township Auditorium, she served as a guest speaker in classes, offered internships for students and gave students a firsthand look at a massive venue renovation. She also mentored numerous students over the years, helping them find internships and jobs and offering support along the way.

Frank Roach Career Highlights

  • While at South Carolina, he served as director of the Sport, Entertainment, and Venues Tomorrow (SEVT) Conference and as interim department chair.
  • He accepted the academic appointment following a nearly 30-year career in live events and facility management. His last industry posting was serving as vice president of venue relations for Clear Channel Entertainment, now Live Nation Entertainment.
  • Roach founded and was president of TourVen, Inc. and a co-founder and partner in Motorsports Entertainment Group, which is now part of the Feld Motorsports group.
  • Roach also spent two years with MCA Concerts, Inc. as vice president of family entertainment and served as vice president of routing and tours for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, Inc., now Feld Entertainment.
  • All told, Roach has booked more than 25,000 performances in more than twenty countries around the world.

Roach holds a masters of public administration degree from Golden Gate University and a bachelor of arts from the College of William and Mary. He has been a member of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) since 1976 and has served in various leadership roles. Career awards include the IAVM’s Distinguished Allied Member Award (2002), the Harry E. Varney Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award (2005 and 2012), Feld Entertainment’s Barnum Award (2010) and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the SEVT Conference (2016).

Sally Roach Career Highlights

  • Began her career of more than two decades in the entertainment industry in Hollywood as promotion director for the Ice Capades.
  • Worked in marketing and events for venues in Connecticut and Iowa.
  • Served as events manager for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Rose Bowl.
  • Served as general manager of the Network Associates Coliseum and Oakland-Alameda County Arena, then the homes of NFL, MLB and NBA franchises.
  • Supervised and directed all operations for nine arenas and one stadium as regional vice president of SMG.
  • Served as general manager of Township Auditorium in Columbia from 2003-2011, directing a $10 million renovation of the venue.

Today, Frank and Sally Roach are “gainfully retired” in Bluffton, South Carolina and involved in various community endeavors.


Contemporary Services Corporation logo

HRSM Distinguished Friend of the College Award: Contemporary Services Corporation

Established in 1967, Contemporary Services Corporation, CSC is the world leader in crowd management and event security. CSC’s esteemed clientele base includes more than 180 stadiums, arenas, and theaters, over 110 universities and scholastic institutions, nearly 50 convention centers, and numerous clients within the professional ranks of MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL, and NASCAR.

CSC has also provided services for the world’s most prestigious special events, including Collegiate Bowl Games, NCAA Final Four Tournaments, Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, Kentucky Derby, 32 Super Bowls, 10 Olympic Games, 5 Presidential Inaugurations, 4 Papal Visits, and 2 FIFA World Cups.

CSC operates 49 branch locations throughout the United States and Canada and has a long-standing partnership with the University of South Carolina. Numerous South Carolina graduates are currently working in various managerial positions with CSC. CSC provides South Carolina students with unique opportunities to gain event experience at the largest sporting events, including the Super Bowl, MLB All-Star Events, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup, Players Championship, Presidents Cup, Kentucky Derby and many more.


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