Skip to main content
Scott Bergen talks to two students after a class talk he gave.
Scott Bergen talks to two students after a class talk he gave.

Scott Bergen meets with Elizabeth Bray (center), a junior, and Jessica Mulanix, a senior, following a career talk he gave for students enrolled in Sport Management classes. Both students are majoring in Sport Management.

  • April 11, 2023
  • Roger Coda

It didn’t take long for students – many majoring in Sport Management or Exercise Science – to pick up and run with career advice pitched by Scott Bergen, a successful Fredonia alumnus and former student athlete working for a leader in the medical fitness industry, in his class presentation “How to Build a Successful Career in Sport Management.”

For starters, Marquis Tubman, a junior from Brooklyn majoring in Sport Management, says he’ll modify his approach to employment opportunities by committing to stay in contact with prospective employers – even in the absence of a current job opening. And in an internship about to begin, Mr. Tubman will stay connected to the hiring manager “so that he knows I’m committed to the organization, and when the time is right, he knows I’m the best person for the job.”

"It’s very important to build your network, a network of resources, whether it’s your professors or your coaches – all of those. Start building that network now.” – Scott Bergen

Nicholas Nosbisch, a senior Accounting major from North Collins, reports he immediately updated his LinkedIn profile to ensure all information was up to date. “I also reached out and made 50-plus connections through LinkedIn, mostly students or alumni from Fredonia,” Mr. Nosbisch added.

“One important takeaway from Bergen's talk is the importance of networking,” said Kyle Ingraham, a junior Sport Management major from Hamburg. “He mentioned that he got his current job through networking and building relationships with people in his industry. This is a great reminder that networking can be a powerful tool in finding job opportunities and advancing your career,” Mr. Ingraham explained.

“This is a great reminder that networking can be a powerful tool in finding job opportunities and advancing your career,” Ingraham added.

Mr. Bergen described his career path as “kind of a windy road” that began after earning a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies: Sport Management/Exercise Science in 2008. Today, he works for Power Wellness, a premier management company in the medical fitness industry, as the center director of the Rudy A. Ciccotti Family Recreation Center in Albany. That first job was with the YWCA afterschool program in Schenectady, which he recalls as “a great experience” because he got to do everything there.

Though his next career step was directing the wellness program at the Fulton County YWCA, Bergen retained his connection with the Schenectady YMCA – a tactical move, as he asked to return there and direct its wellness program. “It’s very important to not burn your bridges,” he cautioned. From there, Bergen spent three years on the career fast track in the car rental field, ultimately rising up the ladder to manage a 300-car location.

“I gained valuable sales, customer service experience from there, so a lot that I took from there helped to get me where I am today,” Bergen said.

“It’s important to build a network, and you can start building that network now,” Bergen told students enrolled in either SPMG 428: Marketing and Public Relations in Sport or SPMG 210: Principles of Sport Management, in early March.

In 2016, Bergen joined Power Wellness as fitness manager at the Rudy A. Ciccotti Family Recreation Center. Within three years, he was promoted to center director, overseeing 75 employees and a 73,000 square-foot facility that includes an indoor water park.

Bergen outlined assorted duties of each position he’s held and noted that Power Wellness currently has 200 openings across its 28 locations. Power Wellness manages fitness and wellness centers located primarily in the Northeastern United States that are often attached to hospitals or universities.

He also disclosed that his Power Wellness location in Albany is looking to hire a recreation director this summer and that a new Power Wellness location is being considered in the Tonawanda area. Power Wellness also operates a wellness and fitness center at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, Pa.

Throughout his talk, Bergen emphasized how important it is for students to be successful in every step of their career, and shared lessons that he learned along the way. He also suggested steps for students to take graduation to put themselves in stronger positions to be hired, such as earning certifications.

“All those things, if you work on them now, you put yourself in a better spot than where I was at that time,” Bergen acknowledged. He also identified seven national certifications offered in the fitness industry and the respective associations that issue them.

“It’s very important to build your network, a network of resources, whether it’s your professors or your coaches – all of those. Start building that network now…. Without my network, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today and where I’m continuing to look to go,” he explained, such as becoming a senior director and overseeing multiple Power Wellness locations. He urged students to stay connected to professors, coaches and even friends, too.

“Who would you put down as your top three people…on your resume as a reference that would talk ‘lights out’ – better about you than your parents, anybody in the world?” he asked. “Those top three people, start thinking about them; if you don’t have them, start working on them.”

Bergen, who transferred to SUNY Fredonia, played on the men’s soccer team, so he’s reached out to Men’s Head Soccer Coach P.J. Gondek on several occasions. “He’s always been there, someone I can count on,” he said. A reference can be a coach or a professor.

Bergen rated today’s job market as being far better than the one he confronted in 2008, when he graduated and the nation was settling into a major recession.

“There are so many things that you can start working on yourself today, that I promise you will help you and set you up for even more success. Find your passion,” Bergen said. “Be yourself.”

Bergen also gave advice on preparing resumes, such as tailoring cover letters to a specific employer. He stressed the importance of researching a prospective employer and following up on initial job inquiries and subsequent interviews. “Start reaching out to companies early. Start looking now and reaching out; we love when people do that; if you’re in college and doing that, that’s a homerun.”

Bergen concluded his presentation by providing his contact information for him and Power Wellness.