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Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Faces of lockout: Raiders chief executive

By Bill Williamson

The NFL lockout has put players and owners in limbo. The ripple effects are also felt by people whose lives or businesses touch their teams. Here are their stories:

Raiders' Amy Trask
Raiders CEO Amy Trask is keeping employees busy during the lockout.
The truth of the lockout for NFL teams is that their non-player employees are not locked out. They report to work every day, business as usual in this most unusual of times.

Finding a way to keep business flowing and productivity high is a challenging goal for every executive. It seems Oakland Raiders chief executive Amy Trask has scored a touchdown during the lockout.

Faced with the challenge, Trask came up with a creative way to both avoid giving employees pay cuts during the lockout (several teams have forced employees to take pay reductions or furloughs) and boost season-ticket sales. The team has asked every employee, coaches included, to make up 10 percent of their salary by selling season tickets during the lockout. Employees are hitting the streets of the Bay Area, trying to drum up business for the team that had the lowest average home attendance in the NFL last season.

For Trask, it’s a case of making lemonade out of lemons.

“The lockout poses business challenges for teams,” Trask said. “I wanted to find a solution for the Raiders that was constructive and productive for everyone in the organization and to make the Raiders bigger and stronger. We think we have accomplished it in the terms of people from different departments in the building are all working together.”

Trask said the program has worked and built solid camaraderie in the organization. She said she hopes to use the program, perhaps as an incentive-based program, in future offseasons.

Trask also has said the team has taken advantage of the unexpected down time to allow coaches, trainers, equipment managers, groundskeepers and public relations staff, among others, to get involved with the team’s community programs. The Raiders have a community-based program, “Raider Nation on Location.” The team goes to several community events in the Bay Area.

Thus, Trask is ensuring her employees are not standing by idly, waiting for the lockout to end. The Raiders are being aggressive as they can be during the lockout.

“Don’t get me wrong, we’d much, much rather be having OTAs and minicamps and getting ready for the season,” Trask said. “But we’re doing what we can now to get ready for the season when it does return.”