Melissa is literally part of the family business, and as such, her first stated job is “being Matthew’s #1 fan.” For her brother and the team at large, she is successful. Despite living in Florida, Melissa travels to almost every single game, including those in Canada.
Melissa hypes the crowd. She adds a flair in both presence and costume. In her own words, she provides “volume and endurance in the stands” and “dresses like a pickle," which I can personally attest to and agree that her spirit takes athleticism.
While Melissa doesn’t play ultimate, she’s part of it, as a fan, a promoter, and a member of what she hopes to become a Stevens family legacy in the Empire. And in many ways, Melissa does exactly what you’d want from any great teammate; she’s willing to do whatever it takes to help the team. She describes herself as a utility player, running errands, refilling water jugs, setting up tents, making cotton candy during homes games, and generally looking for ways to take initiative and help whenever and wherever it would be useful. She also contributes with her artistic sensibilities in collaborating, for example, with Victoria to develop ideas for uniforms, apparel, and retail.
|Alexander Leontios - Video Production|
Jennifer Voce-Nelson - Team Photographer
My name is Jennifer Voce-Nelson, but you can call me Jen. I have been snapping photos of family and friends as far back as I can recall. It wasn't until I finished my first year at college and a fateful trip to The Picture People that I began photographing professionally. Since then, I have been with a myriad of companies, like Lifetouch covering sports and events and Exploration Summer Program as a Web Photojournalist. Currently, I work with the New York Mets as a Fan and Event Photographer, as the Team Photographer for both the NBA’s G-League Team the Long Island Nets and the AUDL's New York Empire, and under my own banner as "aVocebehindtheLens".
Elly Ouellette - Director of Operations
Elly began as a statistician during the 2013 season, and since then her role has only grown. Two years later, she was the Director of Operations, and she has expanded the scope of that position, too.
The list of things Elly takes care of is impressive, but in a word, it is logistics. Travel logistics, gameday logistics, helping establish the East Division schedule, finding singers for the national anthem at home games, and more. Each task takes time and patience and excellent organization.
Take travel: over time, Elly has compiled a rolodex of hotels and restaurants to use when Empire’s on the road. She researches deals along every route and in every city Empire travels.
The schedule takes an enormous amount of coordination and cooperation across every team, which sounds like a logistical nightmare – every player should be sending thank you cards to Elly and the others who work so hard to arrange it. As soon as the schedule is set, Elly stays on the grind, locking in reservations and sending forms to the players to find out who’s gluten-free or has a work conflict and has to travel at odd hours. She coordinates with the bus company. She coordinates with the coaches (receives the active roster and sends it to the league before each game). She even coordinates with the refs, overseeing them at one point, which meant learning the rulebook.
Victoria Leontios - Director of Marketing
As Director of Marketing, Victoria handles print and social media. Follow Empire on the gram (@empireultimate), and the stories you tap through are Victoria’s handiwork. Community outreach can take many forms, and most recently Victoria has supported Dan Hilton on the new Empire podcast, which interviews individual players about their experience in the league and their history in ultimate. She gets to work alongside her older brother Alex (Al), who does video for Empire.
During games, she’s working the merch booth, monitoring the front gate, coordinating with the DJ and the video stream, and generally making sure the fan experience runs smoothly.
One of her favorite parts of working with Empire, though, is clinics. It’s a joy for her to watch kids fall in love with the game. Travel games are also a highlight, because she can watch the game without the same burdens of hosting at home. The travel on the road can be quite long, especially coming back at night from Toronto and Ottawa, but Victoria says it’s all worth it.
Victoria is an integral part of the team in many ways. While she spends around 20 hours a week in the off-season and 35-40 in season, she’s also part of Empire’s social fabric, part of the family-vibe that the Stevens create. From Victoria herself: “The entire Empire franchise is truly a family through and through. Some of the players have become some of my best friends.”
Lastly, Victoria designs and orders all the Empire merchandise. Merchandise can be a tough job. It’s the job of a fashion designer with the added constraints of pre-set logos, color schemes, and gear that must perform.
Barbara Stevens - Owner and President
Barbara is the engine that makes the Empire run. As an owner, Barb navigates the big picture: setting the philosophy and mission of the organization, promoting the sport of ultimate, and establishing the team’s management and finances. But she also handles the nitty gritty: hiring staff, negotiating player contracts, even making PB&Js so that players can have something to eat during games.
That she already has a full plate as president of an insurance agency shows how much she cares about the team. She estimated spending over 40 hours a week in-season and upwards of 20 hours in the off-season, on Empire-related activity, which is almost certainly more than most players can say they dedicate to training.
After becoming interested in ultimate when her son (o-line cutter Matt Stevens) started playing, Barb followed and learned about ultimate until she and her husband, Paul Stevens, took majority ownership of the Empire after the 2017 season.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, priorities for her are making the home game experience even more family-friendly, especially for kids, and also forging a fruitful new media partnership with Fox Sports 2. Most of all, Barbara seeks to keep running the team like a family.
Dr. Meghan Bishop - Team Physician
Dr. Bishop is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in sports related injuries of the knee, shoulder and elbow. After graduating top of her class at George Washington University Medical School, she completed her residency in Orthopaedic Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. She then completed a fellowship in Sports Medicine and Shoulder Surgery at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, NY. During her fellowship, Dr. Bishop served as one of the team physicians for the New York Knicks and Iona College. Her clinical interests include anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, multi-ligament knee injuries, knee meniscus tears, patellofemoral instability and pain, cartilage restoration procedures, shoulder instability and labral tears, as well as rotator cuff repair. Dr. Bishop has a special interest in sports-related injuries of the female athlete.
Dr. Bishop is a former Division I collegiate track and field athlete and continues to be an avid runner.
She is a 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier and has competed and placed in multiple other marathons throughout the country. Her athletic history has given her a personal understanding of the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.
Dr. Ewin Seguia - Team Physio, Strength and Conditioning
Erwin has participated in football (soccer) his whole life, which he wholeheartedly describes as one of his passions.
He also enjoys Olympic Weightlifting and CrossFit, as well as commuting into NYC on his bicycle.
He also has competition experience in Ultimate Frisbee, Golf, and Ballroom Dancing.
As a physio, he has experience working in Rugby, Endurance sports, Ultimate Frisbee, Soccer, Golf, CrossFit, Powerlifting, and Dance.
Erwin is the co-founder of Match Fit Performance
Dan Hilton - Voice of the Empire
Dan has been announcing, providing game day PA and has been the host of the Empire Podcast since it's inception