Executive Class:

Meet Adam Sperling: Golf charity czar

Adam Sperling, pictured here on Sept. 3, 2011, is tournament director for the 2011 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

From his first job as a Little League umpire to becoming tournament director for the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, Adam Sperling has a long history working in sports—just don’t ask him about his golf game. Sperling talked with VEGAS INC about his personal business beliefs and what he’s looking forward to at this year’s tournament.

What was your first job?

I was a Little League umpire when I was 13. That’s only a year older than most of the kids. I was also probably smaller than a lot of those kids, too. Moms and dads would always yell at me. They didn’t pay me enough!

What was your worst job?

I didn’t have a worst job. I’ve learned something from every job I’ve had.

What’s your golf handicap?

I have lots of them: My swing, my alignment, my emotions (laughing.) Fortunately for me my employer doesn’t mind. Let’s just say that if a round of 18 holes was part of the interview, I probably wouldn’t have this job.

What’s the best advice your mother ever gave you?

This too shall pass. Try to keep a level head. When things are down, they’ll always get better.

Do you have a motto you live by?

My grandfather used to say “every job is the self-portrait of the person who did it.” Autograph your work with quality. That’s also my business motto.

What’s your all-time favorite Justin Timberlake song?

I’m more of a Bruce Springsteen type. I don’t really have a favorite Justin song.

What two albums would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

Born to Run and Magic by Bruce Springsteen. They’re completely different messages. Those would keep me in touch with reality.

You’re a baseball fan. What’s your team?

New York Yankees.

What’s the one movie you could watch over and over and never get sick of?

The Godfather Part II. That’s an intense movie about a lot of different subjects.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

I’d have to go with upstate New York. I grew up there in Ogdensburg, a tiny town on the St. Lawrence River. I spent the first 18 years of my life trying to get out of that place. Now I see how great it is. It has unbelievable summers.

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Lou Gehrig. He was an amazing ballplayer who had a crippling disease at an age when he was at the top of his game, and he still described himself as the luckiest man of the face of the Earth. My grandfather died of ALS. I think any person who can consider himself lucky while facing hardship like that probably has a lot of interesting things to say.

What’s the best restaurant in town to close a business deal?

TPC Summerlin. Any time we can get a client out toward the golf course, that’s great for us.

What are you looking forward to most about the tournament?

This year we have lot of new things going on. It’s a true community event that brings everyone together.

What’s the one television program you have to DVR each week?

Right now, it’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. It makes me wish I had Larry David on speed dial just so I could talk with him about all the mishaps in my day. I can relate.