Profile: Suzanne Murchland

Director of community relations, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, St. Petersburg

Published September 18, 2006

Suzanne Murchland said she is glad to be back home in Tampa, even if it means a 25-minute commute each way to home plate at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Murchland is charged with exploring opportunities for the Rays to interact with communities throughout the west coast of Florida. This outreach includes sponsorships, in-kind donations by the Devil Rays to the community, a speakers bureau and the new Rays Baseball Foundation.

The speakers bureau provides front-office staffers who can address community groups and clubs, Murchland said.

"The Rays Baseball Foundation's focus will be on youth and education," she said - more specifically, providing services and support from the renovation of community baseball fields.

One of the foundation's most recent projects was the renovation of Oliver Field at Campbell Park, next to Tropicana Field.

"As part of the renovation program, when we finished the renovation, we do a clinic for youths in that community," Murchland said, adding that Devil Rays players come and coach the kids.

This is a year-round project, Murchland said.

"We're looking at continuing to identify fields in need of renovation," she said.

Murchland said she spends her week seeking out community organizations throughout the Tampa Bay area, and "look at what their needs are, what our needs are, and looking for those win-win partnerships in the community. Field renovation would be a good example.

"I have always been interested in matching resources of organizations ... with needs of community," she said. "I think there's a lot of power in these kinds of partnerships."

Murchland said she is particularly inspired by "seeing people in the community that have been impacted by programs and partnerships I have been involved in, a positive impact that has happened."

Born in Canada, Murchland grew up in Delaware, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in French. After a few years in marketing for a textbook publishing company in Columbus, Murchland moved to Tampa in 1991 to take a position with the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce's Committee of One Hundred.

In 1998, Murchland joined Capital One in Tampa. Six years later, still with Capital One, she moved to McLean, Va., as the company's community development manager and director of grant management.

Murchland said she was a baseball fan and a Devil Rays fan before taking the job.

"I was really energized by what I saw with the new ownership," she said.

Her sports interests are focused on running and snow skiing. Murchland said she has run several 5-kilometer and 10K races, locally and out of town, including the annual Gasparilla 5K, and she said she tries to go snow skiing at least once a year.

"I'm a good intermediate skier," said Murchland, 39, who is single and lives in Tampa, "not a risk-taking skier."

Career Highlights

1998-2006: Capital One, McLean, Va., and Tampa

1991-1998: Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce

PREVIOUS POSITION: Director of grant management, Capital One, McLean, Va.