President - Indy Eleven
Alma Mater: Indiana State University, graduated with honors in 1981. Majored in accounting and minored in computer science.
Company: Presidentcp of Indy Eleven. Formal company name is Indy Sports & Entertainment LLC.
Company Size: Forty-nine full time staff, including 24 professional soccer players, our coaching staff and front office staff. I work in the front office location in downtown Indianapolis. The front office is where the business activities happen. Our players and coaches operate out of our training facility at Grand Park in Westfield.
Job Description: Provide financial stewardship and fiscal management. As Chief Financial Officer, I am responsible for financial/accounting reporting, budgeting, overseeing endowments and investments, HR duties and monitoring the camper registration process.
Most Interesting Thing About What You Do: I get to attend professional soccer games. While I’m not a coach or soccer player and have very little involvement on the field during games, I feel a very strong sense of responsibility to deliver a high-quality product to our fans and paying customers. I also enjoy working with the professional soccer players and their agents on their contracts. These contracts cover items like salary, housing allowance, bonuses for on field performance and community relations obligations.
Previous Positions: Started my career in sports and entertainment as controller of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I was later president & CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I also served as president & CEO of Hulman & Company, based in Terre Haute, IN. I retired from Hulman and IMS in early 2015, after a 27-year career.
INCPAS Involvement: Member since 1986. I always take my continuing education through the Society.
WHEN I'M NOT AT WORK
Family: Wife Debra (“Debbie”). We have two adult children, John and Kristen, both of whom live and work in the Indianapolis area.
Pets: Havanese dog named Ellie. She weighs about 15 pounds.
Hobbies: Travel, music, golf and walking. We travel internationally a couple times a year. Most recently we went to Italy. We also attend concerts regularly. Chris Stapleton and Lady Antebellum were the last couple of concerts we have been to, but I do like other music besides country. I recently moved into a condo in downtown Indianapolis which is close to my office. My wife and I walk almost everywhere we go. We love the lifestyle downtown living brings, and I get to walk to work most days. We frequent restaurants on Mass Ave. and the surrounding area. Livery is one of our favorite places to dine out.
6 a.m.: Time to wake up. I like to read the newspaper (digitally) and have a cup of coffee first thing in the morning.
6:30 a.m.: Start checking email and thinking about the day ahead. I prepare for upcoming meetings and think about projects that need to be addressed.
8:30 a.m.: Arrive at work. I live in Lockerbie downtown, so I typically walk to and from work. The Indy Eleven office is in the Majestic Building at the corner of Pennsylvania and Maryland Streets in downtown Indianapolis. We’re on the sixth floor.
9 a.m.: I lead a directors meeting with my leadership team and direct reports. Most of the agenda is devoted to the status of current projects and events happening within our organization.
11 a.m.: I head to a ticket sales meeting with our ticket sales staff and marketing team. Attendance is our key metric and drives most of our revenue categories. We are in the top 10 percent for attendance within our league.
Noon: This is my typical lunch time. I often get carryout from Subito Soups on Virginia Avenue and eat at my desk.
2 p.m.: It’s time for an operations meeting. I meet with the game ops team to plan for our next game.
3 p.m.: Next, I go to a Ticketmaster ticket system meeting with my accounting team, including fellow CPA and Indiana CPA Society member Erin Weesner, who is Indy Eleven’s controller, and Ivy Toone, our ticket operations manager and staff accountant. Ivy is an aspiring CPA and plans to take the CPA Exam this fall. We are changing our ticketing system over to Ticketmaster so we talk about next steps for ensuring a smooth transition.
4 p.m.: Seat time—time to catch up on emails and return phone calls. I speak with our coach, Martin Rennie, to get an update on the team and the outlook on the rest of the season.
I feel a very strong sense of responsibility to deliver a high-quality product to our fans and paying customers.
Leave the office. Almost weekly, we have community partner events in the evenings. Often, they are fundraisers, with the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association or the United Way of Central Indiana, in which Indy Eleven is a partner. Sometimes the events are more informational or educational. Recently I attended the Lager and Leaders event co-hosted by Indy Eleven and the Indy Chamber at Indiana City Brewery. Depending on the structure or purpose of the event, our participation can be as simple as having players and staff attend, or as elaborate as hosting or co-hosting an event and staffing it with a booth. Tonight, I am off the hook and don’t have an event to attend. I walk home and give our dog Ellie some attention.
Start preparing dinner. My wife Debbie is the primary caregiver for her 97-year-old father and she often isn’t home before 6:30 p.m. herself, so I am always happy to make dinner.
Watch a variety of television shows. I am currently watching Ozark on Netflix and Better Call Saul on Apple TV. I also like to catch up on news shows and stock market activity in the evenings. I record CNBC’s Fast Money and the NBC National News on my DVR.
8:30 p.m.: Take an evening walk through the neighborhood. My wife and I love living in Lockerbie. It is the oldest neighborhood in Indianapolis and has many cool old homes and brick and tree lined streets. It is surprisingly quiet for being in the heart of Indianapolis.
10:30 p.m.: Now I’m relaxed and ready to go to sleep.
Over the last two-and-a-half years, Belskus has played a pivotal role in multiple accomplishments for Indy Eleven, including making a well-received transition to the United Soccer League, and making the playoffs in the first year in that league. In the team’s first season playing most of its home games at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, attendance increased 14 percent. Belskus announced his retirement from Indy Eleven on October 3 after CPA IN Perspective was at press.
BELSKUS' TIP FOR YOUNG PROS WANTING TO ADVANCE IN THE PROFESSION
Network, network, network: Establishing relationships will help you advance in many ways. Look for opportunities to meet people. Join industry and professional groups, like the Indiana CPA Society, and work at meeting other members. Meet as many people as you can who are business people and ask them about what they do and what they may suggest for someone wanting to advance. One final tip: don’t overlook other social events as a way to network. You can meet interesting people in some very casual settings.