Turnkey Intelligence director’s journey from academia to an industry professional

November 6, 2017


In order to offer students insight into the different career paths available, the Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management is active in bringing in guests from the industry to offer their advice and prospective career paths with young professionals.

Dr. Simon Brandon-Lai was in and out of classrooms and conference rooms telling his story on how he utilized his background in academia and turned it into a successful career in the industry. With three Master’s degrees and a Doctorate degree from Florida State University, Dr. Brandon-Lai is well seasoned in research and data analytics and was eager to find a position where he could utilize these skill.

“When looking for a job, you really have to find the right fit,” Dr. Brandon- Lai said. "You really have to show the company what you can do."

He found this opportunity within a company called Turnkey Sports & Entertainment. As the Director of Research, Dr. Brandon-Lai collaborates with numerous clients in the sports and entertainment industry with the interest of asset valuation, partnership measurement, and consumer research. His most recent project involves the asset valuation of the St. Louis Blues arena to create a new naming rights opportunity.

Throughout his presentations in the undergraduate and graduate level Research Methods classes, the one key fact that he stressed was that data literacy is crucial. The ability to understand and synthesize data is going to be crucial in the future of the sports industry.

“Taking statistics courses aren't fun," Dr. Brandon-Lai stated, "But it's crucial. You need to eat your vegetables, you're not going to want to do it, but it is good for you."