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by Joe Minnich

Getting a foot in the door can be a hard thing to accomplish, especially when you are a recent college graduate with little work experience in the industry you want to get into. While searching for a job I was lucky enough to be given a chance to be an intern at the Upper Deck Company. Upper Deck is a company I have always wanted to be a part of since I was a child collecting baseball and football cards. Upper Deck currently focuses on NHL® cards now and Marvel® Comics cards/games, which is something I have a huge passion for.

It was so neat to walk around the halls of Upper Deck seeing all the cool things they do here. Sitting in the office and hear someone say “Hello Mr. Gretzky! How are you doing today?” is surreal and exciting. To get excited about what you are working on is something I hope I get the opportunity to do with my future work place. I worked in the Marketing Department where I did a variety of things from sorting signed items by players I was watching on TV last night, to making videos for their social media sites, to cutting signage for an upcoming event (although I never got the hang of that). I did a variety of things to help out around the office to make the employees jobs here just a little easier.

One of my favorite things I got to do was develop graphics for the website or a Facebook graphic. It was also extremely helpful for me because Upper Deck has a whole Graphic Design team. It was a great opportunity to learn from another designer what is good and what needs to be tweaked. It was a great learning experience for me to have a professional designer look at my work and give me valuable advice that I may not receive outside of here. The best part too is they really wanted to help in my growth as a professional.

Joe applied his experience in theater and “elfing” to help out Santa Cardman during the UD Holiday party!

The timing of my internship fell right around the holidays which was great because I got to experience all the fun holiday events they do here at Upper Deck. From the Holiday Party to end of the year company meetings it was great to see how Upper Deck really takes care of their staff and make them happy in a work environment.  It is working because the staff I got to work with (Bre, Brittany, Chris, Melanie, Scott and Drew) are happy, genuine great people to work with.

From day one I never felt uptight as the intern or treated like as if I was beneath anyone. They made me feel welcomed from day one and made me feel at ease. From giving me a nickname, “Joe the Show,” in my first week to joking around with me, and letting me joke with them (especially about Brittany’s Patriots), I truly felt that my time here at Upper Deck was not only an opportunity to gain real work experience but also develop friendships with the people here at Upper Deck. It was truly a great experience and I hope to come back one day as an employee if the opportunity presents itself.

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Joe and his Marketing Team members, Brittany & Bre- and of course Santa Cardman!

If you are currently enrolled in college and are interested in an internship opportunity with Upper Deck, please email your resume to UpperDeckMarketing@upperdeck.com along with information on your availability. We are always looking to bring on a few good interns to help with new products and programs!

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It’s Throwback Thursday so let’s go back through Upper Deck’s trading card history and come up with a fun giveaway. The Waste Management Phoenix Open begins today and Tiger Woods is back (no pun intended)! Tiger has not played the tournament since 2001, but we all remember his 1997 appearance when he managed to get a hole-in-one on the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, sending the crowd into an eruption of cheer. Reports say that Tiger’s back has been feeling better than ever and I know we are all anxiously awaiting his 1st tee! So let’s put up a throwback card and see if our fans can come up with some great captions for the card! Please share your comical caption to this card for a lucky fan’s opportunity to score an Upper Deck Authenticated Calendar and Upper Deck sweatshirt!

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Important Promotion Guidelines:

  1. You can only submit one comment per email address so think about it before you post.
  2. Comments are moderated so keep them clean and in good taste as we have a lot of youngsters on these pages. Comments deemed inappropriate will not be posted or eligible to score card set(s).
  3. Make sure to review other caption before you post. If you have the same comment as someone else or make slight improvements to it, the credit will go to the first person who posted the comment.
  4. You have until Friday morning, January 30th at 8:00 a.m. PT to post your caption before this promotion is closed.
  5. Upper Deck will review the captions posted and select one (1) fan who most skillfully shares a comical comment to coincide with this card.
  6. Only the customer selected to receive the calendar and sweatshirt will be contacted via email, so please make sure to provide an accurate email address when you leave your comment.
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UDA Calendar and Sweatshirt!

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Scott in our Athlete Relations department was adamant about all of us growing mustaches this month for Movember. He came to my desk at the end of October, changed my monthly UDA calendar for me and made it clear what was expected of me by changing the month personally. Scott is not really an intimidating force, but he sold a lot of us on the good it could do for men’s health and quite a few of us jumped on board.

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Keeping a mustache this month has been miserable for a variety of reasons. Being a blonde guy it just doesn’t look good. I’m no Larry Bird. It took awhile to come in and when it did, it was certainly not flattering. Next, my wife absolutely hates it. Then when I pick my kids up at day care, other parents are pretty creeped out by me, holding their kid’s hands a little tighter. Such mustache prejudice!

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My mustache leaves a lot to be desired…

The biggest problem in growing the “stache” this month was that I had a variety of events that I really wish I had been clean shaven for like the Fall Expo trade show, presenting at the Red Door Interactive Speaker Series, meetings with the NHLPA, and of course Thanksgiving coming up this week. The toughest though was rocking the mustache during a private meet & greet with Wayne Gretzky this month. Wayne’s agent joked with me about my semi-invisible mustache, “Chris, did you decide to start growing that after lunch today?”

The differences in facial growth with the team have encouraged a lot of witty banter as well. Two of our hockey team members have grown decisively different mustaches as Billy has a big burly stache while Matt prefers the pencil stache.

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We all feel awkward though. It’s been worth it however as it definitely has created dialogue about the Movember cause and the Upper Deck team has raised a good amount of funds for the cause.

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Here are just some of the Upper Deck team members who grew mustaches/facial hair to support the Movember cause this month.

We got together today to share stories about how terrible we look and to laugh at the odd facial growth as we posed for a group shot. Come Monday our faces will be cleanly shaven and we will be back to our old normal selves, but for the remainder of the month, we remain focused on helping the cause. Donate to UD’s team today!

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Drew from Athlete Relations may have one of the creepiest mustaches in the company, but he’s doing it for a good cause!

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Recently I was asked to share how Upper Deck had learned to think differently with regards to marketing at the iMedia Brand Summit. My presentation began with a short video talking about the Star Rookie card we created for our good friend Jack Hoffman.

After the video I was excited to share stories about other inspirational athletes we have worked with like Doc Jacobs, Mandi Schwartz, Jack Miller, Sam Tageson and John Makowiec.

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It was a thrill to be able to present in front of so many savvy marketers for major brands as iMedia always does a great job of bringing incredible personalities together at this event. It was also important to share that we were not helping these inspirational athletes and their charities for any other reason than it was the right thing to do.

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My favorite part of the day however was bringing the trading cards to life for attendees. You see we brought in Doc Jacobs to sign autographs and pose for photos with attendees during the lunch session. Doc made headlines when he earned a tryout with the Los Angeles Dodgers and most recently the Chicago White Sox as a double amputee and Purple Heart recipient. For me it was great to see Doc again as he is a major inspiration for me, but I think attendees got a lot out of visiting with him as well.

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Honoring these inspirational athletes is the right thing to do and we appreciate all the support our fans have given them. It is exciting as we continue to add more athletes to this stable of “Heroic Inspirations” like we did most recently with Josh Harding. Look for more great stories to come in the future!

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Serious collectors love hard-signed autograph cards that the athlete has actually touched and handled, but getting those completed and back in house in time for the product pack out is not always easy. This is especially true when the product is a hand-painted set that requires approvals from the athletes depicted. Therefore it is a major achievement for Upper Deck to release 2014 Goodwin Champions with zero autograph redemptions in the product and multiple versions of hard-signed autograph cards from some of the biggest names in sports. There will be many first time signers to the product as well to keep the autograph line-up fresh, take a look at some of those names:

Michael Jordan
Tiger Woods
Wayne Gretzky
Ken Griffey
Lebron James
Joe Montana
Lindsey Vonn
Peyton Manning
Sydney Leroux
Rory McIlroy
Mark McGwire
Canelo Alverez
Eric Dickerson
Graeme McDowell
LaDainian Tomlinson
Karl Malone
Jerry Rice

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Additionally we will be bringing a premium memorabilia series to 2014 Goodwin Champions as well which should have collectors pretty fired up. Take a look at some of these preview images!

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