Since the inception of the Tarp Skunks in 2020 the Tarp Skunks organization has had almost 30 interns walk through the front office doors at Diethrick Park. With a summer jam packed with 25 home games in June and July, the role of an intern is vital to the overall success of the game-day operation. However, being an intern with the Tarp Skunks is just a stepping stone in the professional careers of many of the interns who are here for the summer.

Connor Gates, a summer 2022 Tarp Skunks Intern, is someone that might be a familiar face to some fans. His frequent appearances on post game interviews with players as well as on multiple pieces of creative social media content made him a popular intern for fans and players at Diethrick Park during the summer of 2022. Connor is now a Partnership and Activation Graduate Assistant with the Buffalo Bills and has his used the lessons he learned here in Jamestown to help catapult him into the most popular sporting league in America.


Can you share with us your journey from being an intern at the Tarp Skunks to where you are in your career now?

      After my summer with the Tarp Skunks I utilized the experience that I gained and my passion for partnership activation to land an internship with Learfield to help facilitate corporate partnerships with the University of Buffalo Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams. After the season the Bills were hiring a Partnership Activation Grad Assistant and with the knowledge and experience I have I thought I would be a good fit and ended up landing the role that I am in now!

What specific skills or experiences did you gain during your internship with the Tarp Skunks that you found valuable in your current role?

A few skills that I learned with the Tarp Skunks are translated to my current role with the biggest two being relationship management and overall professionalism with players. I was able to gain great practical experience in relationship management by working with many different sponsors on various buyouts and other sponsored activities. In partnership activation, building and maintaining relationships with your contacts and members of the team is essential to a successful partnership and being able to learn this early in my career has helped me with managing a few partnerships in my time with the Bills. Professionalism is one of the biggest skills you need in sports especially when dealing with players. Managing the Tarp Skunks social media I worked with players every day and was able to learn how to be professional in these interactions has directly assisted in how I approach working with players and alumni with various Bills events that I’ve been a part of.

Were there any particular projects or tasks during your internship that stood out to you as impactful or influential in shaping your career path?

        The biggest two that contributed to my overall career path was first just being able to run the Tarp Skunks social media accounts. I was able to learn about creating, editing and posting content, researching and executing trends and creating and following a content schedule. This has translated to my career as I now have a great understanding of what our social team works through when contractual social content needs to be created and posted. Lastly, working alongside the in game host has been crucial to my role with the Bills. During Bills home games I was responsible for choosing and executing various in game activations and was able to pull from my time with the Tarp Skunks where I did this exact same role. This role was one of my favorites and it gave me the framework for running successfully in game activations.

What advice would you give to current interns or recent graduates who aspire to follow a similar career path?

My biggest advice is to take as many internships as you can and raise your hand and get as much experience as you can. The more experience you get will not only help build your resume but will also help you figure out what areas of the industry you want to build a career in. I would have never been able to do any of the work I did with the Tarp Skunks social media had I not asked Christian one night to interview Pat Demarco after an excellent game he had on the mound. Lastly, I would say to use LinkedIn and get connected with professionals who are with teams and in roles you want to be in. Asking them to take 5-10 minutes out of their day to share with you some advice and answer any questions you have will not only help you learn, but also help get your name out there, allowing you to build a large network in the industry.


Stay tuned for our next edition for “Where Are They Now?” featuring another one of our amazing former interns. Contact us at (716) 705-5600 or email and get your start as a Summer 2024 Intern!