He started his career with the Mariners in 2005 at the age of 17. Now, Michael Hilburn has been recognized by the International Association of Venue Managers Foundation as one of the emerging leaders in the field.
Hilburn has been named one of 30 Under 30 honorees by the IAVMF. According to a news release, the program is “designed to engage the best and brightest young professionals in the venue management industry by recognizing emerging leaders—and their talents—which help accelerate the industry and carry it into the future.”
When Hilburn started at the Mariners he was part of the Fielders program, which is made up of high school and college age kids. They are assigned to various jobs around the ballpark such as handing out bobbleheads at gates, escorting the Moose, staffing the Children’s Playfield, the speed pitch or manning the hand-operated scoreboard during games.
Hilburn progressed through the ranks until 2011, when he was hired by the Mariners as a full-time Event Manager. In that role he coordinated various non-baseball events at Safeco Field such as luncheons and corporate functions. Next stop was Ballpark Events Operations, where he managed non-game events and oversaw the Fielders program. Today, Hilburn is Senior Manager of Ballpark Event Operations, where he is responsible for game day and non-game ballpark operations, and oversees the hundreds of employees who staff Safeco Field for games and other events.
In the meantime, Hilburn earned a degree in Political Science at the University of Washington. “It was really good to get a degree and go through the process. I thought that’s what I wanted to do, but this job showed me I have a passion for something different,” said Hilburn.
Hilburn and the other members of the 30 Under 30 Class of 2016 will be honored on July 25 at the IAVM’s annual conference in Minneapolis.