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Farewell, CatchMark: Thanks to everybody for your support and for the memories

Can’t possibly thank everybody, but I’m going to try.

In this file photo, CatchMark SportsNet lead Scott DeCamp is shown shooting video and photos during a wrestling meet at Whitehall. (Courtesy of Leo Valdez)

Having written hundreds of stories for CatchMark SportsNet in my nearly three years with the company, this one has proven the most difficult.

Most of you know this already, but I am leaving the company and pursuing other opportunities. I’ll still be in the Muskegon area and I’m sure you’ll see me around, but it does not make this any easier.

When posting on social media that I was leaving CatchMark – much like when I posted that I was leaving MLive in 2021 after nearly 21 years there – the responses were so very heartfelt and quite frankly overwhelming. It’s like you’re reading your own living obituary.

We’ve achieved so many great things at CatchMark Technologies and CatchMark SportsNet. The overarching goal has been to “solve problems and help people.” At the same time, CatchMark strives to be a “disruptor” in the industry — to shake up things in new, exciting, efficient, and creative ways.

No matter the industry or the cause, it always comes down to the people behind it. Boy, was I blessed to work with some of the best you’re going to meet.

This farewell column is about thanking those people, be it present or past teammates, as well as others in my life. I certainly don’t want to leave anybody out, but these are the folks with whom I’ve worked the most directly in my time at CatchMark or who have formed my support system outside of work.

I want to thank them for making me a better person. They’re my friends and family, people I’ll always appreciate.

I could say so many great things about each of the people below, but I’ll keep it to a line or two so that it doesn’t take you an hour to read this column.

Brent Raeth: Thanks for giving me an amazing opportunity with the company and for pushing me to grow. Thanks for rolling up your sleeves and helping when it was needed. Thanks for teaching me how to become a better leader. At the end of the day, thanks for understanding my strengths and where I needed to be to flourish.

Jeff Burel: Thanks for teaching me about accountability. Although you were not my direct boss, I’ve tried to follow Jeff’s examples. I’ve also enjoyed our many conversations about sports and our trip to Detroit for the Lions game.

Kara Raeth: Thanks for holding everything together in the office. As a project manager, thanks for holding me accountable. Thanks for our chats about West Michigan Conference soccer and other sports. Thanks for being a “CatchMark SportsNut,” even though you didn’t formally carry that title.

Amy Yonkman: Thank you for pushing us every single day to be better and to be accountable to our team. Thanks for growing with me in our varying roles. Thanks for all you have sacrificed for the betterment of the team. You are a phenomenal teammate, who is growing into a great leader.

Courtney Jimison: Thanks for giving us all the push or nudge that we’ve needed at times. Thanks for your ideas. Thanks for your mechanical skills and for being a problem-solver. Thanks for getting stuff done and doing it right now. You have a very bright future ahead.

Conner Raeth: Thanks for always being a good sport when it comes to bearing the brunt of our jokes and ribbing. Thanks for always keeping me entertained. Thanks for sharing your brain with us as a tech support specialist and for teaching me more than you’ll ever realize. Thanks for being my successor as CatchMark SportsNet lead, taking the torch, and making CSN shine even brighter than it already does.

Brian Sibary: Thanks for being my shadow. Anytime I’d see “Sibes,” it felt like I was looking in the mirror. Not so much that we look alike – the folks at Subway did confuse us from time to time – but more so in our mannerisms. Thanks for being my brother from another mother, Sibes.

Billy Mann: Thanks for all of your efforts and the countless hours we spent together producing great content for CatchMark SportsNet. Thanks for believing in me as a colleague and a leader. Thanks for teaching me about video creation. Thanks for our many chats about the Dolphins and Lions, among other sports, movies, and entertainment talks.

Zach Zweigle and Cody Ottinger: Thanks to the original winners of the “Bert and Ernie” award for accepting me right away into their team. Thanks for being patient with me when I started at CatchMark and was learning the ropes. Thanks for letting this old man feel cool around the young bucks. Thanks for being all-around great guys.

Kat Hyder: Thanks for being so full of energy and positivity. Thanks for instilling that vibe into our office at CatchMark. Thanks for our many softball chats. Sorry that I didn’t stay longer so we could work together and accomplish more great things, but I’m sure you’ll do that with the CatchMark team that remains.

Those on the tech team: Thank to Jonah Kelley for being a talented tech but also a cool dude, who was fun to talk sports with. Thanks to Chance Valdez for kindness and willingness to always help. Thanks to both Jonah and Chance, as well as Conner, for making me laugh or smile when it came to your ping-pong battles and trash talk.

There are many more people to thank and I fear that I’m leaving some out.

Thanks to SportsNuts-turned-interns Myles Welch and CJ Bennett. You are both immensely talented and can become whatever you wish professionally and in life. Thanks for your enthusiasm, passion, and willingness to help.

Thanks to intern Owen Raeth for juggling a busy schedule but showing up to support our Digital Marketing and Media/CatchMark SportsNet efforts. Thanks for being a chill dude.

Thanks to the SportsNuts, who have volunteered their time and efforts in helping to make CatchMark SportsNet what it is. You have certainly enriched my time at CatchMark.

Many thanks to the communities, schools, administrators, staff, coaches and, most of all, the student-athletes who have been so supportive of CatchMark SportsNet and what we’ve been trying to build. You’re the reason CatchMark SportsNet exists in the first place.

Thanks to so many friends, lifelong or those made during my time at CatchMark, for supporting me and what we’ve been doing with CatchMark SportsNet.

Thanks to dad Gary DeCamp and brother Tom DeCamp for being my biggest fans. You offer unwavering support and remind me about what’s important in life. You’re always there when I need you and you inspire me.

Thanks to my late mother, Cathie DeCamp, for always encouraging me to chase my dreams and teaching me how important it is to be kind. You passed away during my time at CatchMark and I miss you more each day, but your memory pushes me to keep going strong. Love you, Mom.

Finally, and most importantly, thanks to my wife Pam and daughters Sydney, Josie, and Emily for always supporting me in everything. Thanks for lifting me up when things have been tough. Thanks for inspiring me to be a better husband, father, and person. Thanks for your patience and encouragement as I navigate various checkpoints in my career and in life.

CatchMark has created something special and I’m grateful to have helped play a part in that. Thanks for the memories, the opportunities, the lessons, and the friendships.

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Brent Raeth

    June 24, 2024 at 4:12 pm

    You never really leave a place that you love. You take a part of it with you and you leave a part of it there.

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