Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University Athletics Director Perk Weisenburger filled a key department position while landing a highly-respected individual to serve as the school's new Assistant Athletics Director/Manager of Facilities with the appointment of Craig Wotta.
Wotta, who brings more than 15 years of management experience to FSU and spent the majority of his professional career at the University of Michigan, directs, manages and coordinates all facility operations, including serving as the manager for Ferris State's Ewigleben Sports Complex and Ice Arena. He also serves as the department's primary contact with the university's physical plant and has specific oversight of budget, staffing, programming, revenue production and maintenance for athletics facilities.
"We are very pleased that Craig Wotta will be joining our athletics staff at Ferris State," said Weisenburger. "Craig will be an excellent addition to our department as his experiences and skills in managing facilities, events, special projects and the operational details that surround and support a NCAA Division I hockey program will serve us extremely well.
"We look forward to the leadership and energy he will bring to our operations and facilities as we continue to work hard at providing the best experience for our fans, student-athletes and every possible user group associated with Ferris State University," he added.
Most recently, Wotta had served as the director of the One On One Athletic Club in Ann Arbor since October 2012. In that role, he supervised operations of a fitness club with more than 3,500 members and was instrumental in a leadership position overseeing member activity, staff management, housekeeping and retail stations.
Prior to this employment at the One On One Athletic Club, Wotta received significant experience at the NCAA Division I level as the manager of the University of Michigan's Yost Ice Arena from 1998 to 2012. While at Yost Ice Arena, he was responsible for facility operations, scheduling, programming, maintenance and budget control along with overseeing a facility management intern program which allowed students in Michigan's Kinesiology program to gain experience by assisting the Yost Arena staff.
"I'm excited about this opportunity and challenge at Ferris State," said Wotta. "My experience in the past with Bulldog Hockey and the coaching staff has been first class and Perk Weisenburger has been incredible in this process since I first made contact about this position. I'm looking forward to expanding on the experiences I've already had and helping chart a positive direction for Ferris State Athletics."
During his tenure at Michigan, Wotta managed operations for one of the country's most historic venues in the 6,800-seat Yost Ice Arena. He also developed, administered and monitored an annual budget in excess of $700,000 while selecting, training and supervising a 25-person staff. His stint also included the direction of the building's profit centers such as merchandise, food service, marketing and the business office in addition to being the event manager for Michigan's home ice hockey contests.
While administering the arena's intern program, Wotta helped train over 120 students in facility/event management and placed 43 into full-time positions within the field. He also served on the executive committee and directed all event operations for NCAA regionals hosted by Yost Ice Arena in 1998, 2002 and 2003.
"We are thrilled to have Craig Wotta as a member of the athletics department," said FSU hockey head coach Bob Daniels. "Craig comes to us with a wealth of experience in facilities management that includes a highly-successful tenure at the University of Michigan. The combination of his vast experience in a wide variety of athletic facilities, coupled with his in depth knowledge of running a campus ice facility that houses a Division I hockey program, makes him an ideal choice for this position."
Wotta, who begin his tenure as the assistant manager at Yost in 1997-98, was the ice/operations manager for The Big Chill played outdoors between UM and Michigan State at Michigan Stadium in 2010. The 23-month preparation period culminated in an all-time hockey attendance record of 104,173 fans. He also helped create a week-long celebration of hockey in conjunction with the event which saw the ice booked over the span with high school games, youth and adult contests, sponsor skates, alumni and media events and more.
"I'm delighted Craig has been chosen for this position at Ferris State University," said Dr. Michael Stevenson, a retired former Executive Associate Athletic Director at the University of Michigan, who worked closely with Wotta during his tenure in Ann Arbor. "Craig was instrumental in our efforts and did an outstanding job leading our staff at Yost Ice Arena while working with a Division I hockey program.
"All of the teams from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and others who came thru Yost were always impressed with the quality of the ice and the way in which the events were ran, which is a tribute to his ability and work ethic. He's a top-notch individual who will do a wonderful job for Ferris State just like he did for us at Michigan," he added.
A 1991 graduate of the University of Michigan, Wotta worked as a football manager and served as an intern in the athletic department for Yost Ice Arena, media relations and development as an undergraduate student. He returned to Michigan and Yost Ice Arena in 1997 after working in various ice facilities in Mount Clemens, Bay City and in Washington, D.C.
"Craig is a thoughtful and thorough professional with a vast array of experience in recreational/entertainment facilities management," said Fred Pletsch, who served as commissioner of the CCHA. "The Ewigleben Ice Arena will certainly have its best game face on under Craig's leadership as the Bulldogs make their debut in the WCHA."
Along with working at Michigan, Wotta also received experience as a marketing intern with the Detroit Tigers, an administrative assistant/training camp intern with the NFL's Detroit Lions along with being a public relations manager for BJ Noyes Production, an event management company.
Wotta received training from the University of Michigan School of Ice Arena Management and the UM Foundations of Supervision. He's also attended Michigan Arena Managers Association seminars. Along with his work as a facility director, he's also been a registered Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) baseball and basketball official and chosen as an official for the 2009 MHSAA State Baseball finals.
Wotta has two sons, Drew and Zachary.