BJ Pickard brings a wealth of communications and branding experience to his role as Assistant Commissioner in supporting Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference membership and enhancing the MIAC student-athlete experience. After working in the sports information department as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Pickard looked to further his career in athletics by earning a Master’s degree in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership from the University of Washington.
Pickard became the fourth full-time Assistant Commissioner Director of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) in the summer of 2017. His main responsibilities include the Conference’s sports information, website maintenance, media relations, and officials’ payroll. He also works with scheduling, awards, strategic planning and other various administrative tasks.
Prior to his time with the MIAC, Pickard honed his craft in the world of professional sports, serving as a public relations intern for the Philadelphia 76ers while in graduate school before accepting a full-time position with the Arena Football League (AFL) office in 2011. During his tenure as the League’s Director of Communications, Pickard oversaw all media and public relations efforts, including press releases to local and national media outlets, providing daily written, visual, and audio web content, planning large- and small-scale events with city and arena officials, and serving as a primary media liaison for the League. He was also part of a team that secured national television contracts and worked extensively in corporate partner relations.
In addition to his experience in athletics, Pickard has also served as a brand strategist and content consultant for Capture Marketing in Chanhassen, Minn., where he specialized in the areas of project management, brand building, and partner relations, developing campaigns for such brands as General Mills, Professional Bull Riding, and Jared Allen's Homes for Wounded Warriors. His responsibilities included copywriting, proofing, developing design-driven ad creative, and managing social media platforms for clients. His work successfully leveraged connections with local and national organizations to build heightened brand awareness, increase visibility and funding, and facilitate communication channels.
An Eau Claire, Wis., native, Pickard graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a minor in Coaching from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2010 and earned his Master’s degree from the University of Washington in 2011. He currently resides in River Falls, Wis. with his wife, Holly, daughter, Isla, and chocolate lab, Stella.