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IMG College Named to “Training Top 125”; Only Sports Company Honored in Exclusive Club

Feb 28, 2013

Winston-Salem, N.C. (February 28, 2013) - With new employees receiving on average more than 300 hours of training in their first year, a rich program of combines, surges and boot camps for sellers, and other cutting-edge development offered, IMG College has again been selected to the prestigious Training 125 – an exclusive club of organizations that truly excel at employee development.

For the fourth time in the past five years, Training magazine recognized IMG College in its annual ranking of the organizations with the most successful learning and development programs. IMG College was the sole sports organization included in the world’s premier learning industry awards.

“It’s a great honor for IMG College to be recognized for our commitment to development in the only report that ranks companies in harnessing human capital,” said Kelli Hilliard, Senior Vice President—Events, Entertainment & Development, IMG College. “It may sound cliché, but people truly are our greatest and most distinctive asset. Therefore, our emphasis on training and development continues to deepen.  We want to educate and empower our team members to continually learn, stay on top of industry trends and be the best-trained sales force in sports and entertainment.”

“Standing out as the only sports company on this prestigious list of global companies is a testament to Kelli Hilliard and her entire team, bringing world-class professional development to literally every single IMG College associate,” said Ben C. Sutton, Jr., President of IMG College. “IMG College has developed unprecedented experiential and conceptual assets at schools coast-to-coast. It’s essential that we continue to train our people to have an even better understanding and appreciation for our customers’ needs—and thereby develop creative marketing solutions using these assets to help our school and brand partners capitalize on the enormous opportunities in college sports. Our commitment to development will continue to distinguish IMG College as part of our strategy for serving our partners.”

Hilliard’s group addresses development through a “Total Team Member” prism. Three tenants drive all training: Personal Development, Character Development, and Professional Development.  It’s a philosophy that begins before an employee’s first day, during the initial recruiting process.

“We seek talented people eager to be a part of the best and most comprehensive national marketing platform in American sports,” Hilliard said. “Our recruiting aims to discover those who share in our core values – Passion, Service, Integrity, and Excellence, which are the foundation for communication, performance and development for the individual, team and our company.”

Retaining high performers by keeping them challenged, invigorated and eager to advance is a crucial developmental objective, especially in a company formed through recent consolidation.

“Combining corporate cultures in across such a fast-growing business across a broad geography means we need to focus on continuous targeted education, motivational programs for our sales and administrative team, public acknowledgement of excellent performance, and recognition of loyalty and encouragement of innovation within the organization,” said Shelby Wright, director of training and development at IMG College.

“Because relationships matter internally among our team and externally with our partners, we celebrate and encourage intellectual curiosity and innovation—which we’ve seen result in a team that works smarter, with a great sense of urgency and purpose,” Wright said. “If you lead well and genuinely inspire people, they internalize what matters…and that realization creates the kind of confidence which drives innovation and galvanizes development.”

The Training 125 award for IMG College, alongside organizations such as Verizon (ranked #1 this year), Microsoft, Farmers Insurance, the US Navy, UPS, and MetLife, is a culmination of an initiative first put into place in 2000, when the ISP Sports Academy was formed in dedication to professional development, on-going education and customer service.

About the Training 125
The Training Top 125 recognizes corporate training overall—not just single training programs. Companies are judged on: Training Program/Scope; Training Budget; Tuition Reimbursement; Training Infrastructure and Delivery; Evaluation/Metrics; and Human Resources.

Nominees and applicants are judged quantitatively by an outside research company and qualitatively by Training’s editor-in-chief and the Top 10 Hall of Famers (organizations appearing in the Top 10 of the Training Top 125 for four consecutive years). Each Top 125 company is measured on quantitative (70 percent of total score) and qualitative (30 percent of total score) data. Factors influencing the rankings include: Training tied to business objectives; Demonstrable results; Number of trainers; Employee turnover and retention; Leadership development; Tuition assistance; Training technology and infrastructure; Certification; Training budget and percentage of payroll. For more information visit