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'Sheboygan County is such a hidden gem'

August 17, 2016 In Lakeland University Blog
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When Kathy Flanagan arrived at Lakeland College in fall, 2013, she had no idea how many Sheboygan County doors she would open.

But now, the senior marketing major with the power-packed resume could orchestrate an enthusiastic ad campaign for the chamber of commerce.

“Sheboygan County is such a hidden gem,” she said recently at world-famous Road America Racetrack, where she is enjoying a long internship. “This county offers opportunities everywhere, for everyone. It’s such a small, rural area, but there is so much big business and so many exciting events.”

Flanagan, from Midlothian, Ill., came to Lakeland to play volleyball. She had no idea what she wanted to major in, and was, in her words, “very, very quiet.”

But over the next three years, she grew up, while falling in love with the area. Last summer, she worked at renowned Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake and works throughout the school year for Lakeland’s sports information department. Last summer, she volunteered alongside her volleyball teammates at the PGA Championship on the world-famous Whistling Straits golf course.

And now, she’s in the midst of her exciting internship at RA.

“Lakeland has given me so many opportunities,” she said. “It’s really cool to think about all that I’ve experienced here.”

The Road America opportunity presented itself when Mary Lou Haen, RA’s director of marketing and promotions, spoke at Lakeland’s Sports Marketing class. Flanagan approached Haen after class was over, and landed the internship, which started in January and will last until November.

At Road America, Flanagan has been involved in numerous facets of the operation, from ticket sales to promotional mailings to fan surveys to running a winner’s circle. In June, she organized a fan bus from Skokie, Ill., to RA for the IndyCar race. And at the end of this month, she’ll juggle preseason volleyball at Lakeland with NASCAR week at Road America. The Road America 180 is on Aug. 27. Flanagan will be busy. She’d have it no other way.

“I would really urge everyone in the area to come out and see a race here at Road America,” she said. “It’s like watching a road race at a national park.”

Spoken like a true marketer.

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