Pete Zifchak knows all about collaborative efforts in his role as the Senior Vice President/Corporate Sports Marketing and Event Planning Manager for BB&T.
After all, BB&T is involved with numerous projects that range from sponsoring the NASCAR Sprint Cup race team of Clint Bowyer to putting its name on both BB&T Field and BB&T Ballpark in Winston-Salem.
As a member of the board of directors of Winston-Salem Professional Tennis, Zifchak is particularly excited about the inaugural Winston-Salem Open.
"Working on this board of directors has proven to me once again that the Triad is one of the most collaborative areas in the country," Zifchak said. "I think we’re unified as a board to field a first-class tennis tournament that’s going to elevate the profile of the Triad, so that current residents remain in the community and businesses put the Triad at the top of their list to relocate.
"To conduct a top-flight tennis tournament, it takes a collaborative group of people with strong leadership skills and connections. We have that, and we all hope that this becomes a favorite stop for many of the players."
BB&T is one of three presenting sponsors for the tournament, which is now less than a month away scheduled for Aug. 20-27. The other presenting sponsors are the Flow Companies and Champion.
It is important to the company, Zifchak said, to take a prominent role in community events such as the Winston-Salem Open, for several reasons.
One, BB&T prides itself in supporting area sporting events because of the entertainment value that sports bring. Besides the NASCAR sponsorship and its naming rights deals with Wake Forest’s football stadium and the Winston-Salem Dash’s baseball stadium, BB&T is a proud sponsor of the Twin City Youth Soccer Association, a presenting sponsor of the Wyndham Championship PGA golf tournament, a title sponsor for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s football championships, and sponsor of Bowman Gray Stadium racing and Winston-Salem State University athletics.
Two, BB&T believes that events such as the Winston-Salem Open help promote community pride and spirit, and therefore it is being a good corporate citizen by supporting them.
And three, as a financial institution BB&T believes that these events help the local economy, and by doing so help everyone in the community.
"It is important for BB&T to make communities where we’re located better places to live and work," he said. "The Winston-Salem Open is going to provide tennis fans in the Triad with an opportunity to watch top-flight tennis at a first-class facility in a family setting. BB&T firmly believes that family entertainment is important to have in a flourishing economy.
"We hope our sponsorship proves to our clients that BB&T is committed to communities where they live and work, and that dedication is part of our desire to help them achieve economic success and security. And that we’re elevating the profile of the Triad. It’s difficult for individuals to achieve personal economic security if the local economy isn’t flourishing. We take it upon ourselves to support good projects like the Winston-Salem Open that are bringing quality entertainment to the community, because we think that is important to keeping the community vibrant."
Working with Winston-Salem Professional Tennis chairman Don Flow and tournament director Bill Oakes, Zifchak said, has been a pleasure. Zifchak sees the commitment that Flow has to the community, and he knows that the WSO is blessed to have the kind of dynamic tournament director that Oakes is.
"You can see the commitment Don Flow has to the community," Zifchak said. "It’s reflected in his desire to keep the name for the first couple of years as the Winston-Salem Open. He could have easily approached us or Hanes Brands and said ‘Are you interested in calling it the Champion Open? Or the BB&T Open? Or even the Flow Motors Invitational again. But he really wanted, as we all do, to raise the profile of Winston-Salem.
"And I know for sure that Bill Oakes is the right guy to pull this off. So we are so thrilled to have these major professional tournaments in our backyard. For the size of the Triad to have these great things happening with the Winston-Salem Open and the Wyndham Championship, and providing quality entertainment, it’s just a tremendously exciting time for the Triad. We’re proud to be part of it."