Mike Healy moved around a lot as a kid. So when it came time to go to college, he landed at MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences and picked a path that led to a center of hometown pride: a Major League ballpark.
As the Vice President of Park Operations for the Detroit Tigers, Healy oversees all the functional areas and processes within Comerica Park. Throughout the seasons, he is responsible for maintaining the facility, keeping up the playing field, supervising event personnel, coordinating special events, and integrating marketing and sales within the ballpark.
While his post involves year-long multitasking and being a force behind such defining events as an All-Star Game and Super Bowl, Healy's day-to-day mission is beautifully simple: to create a memorable experience and exciting environment for everyone.
"We instill in our staff that every day is Opening Day for someone coming to the ballpark," said Healy, who earned his bachelor's degree in Communication with an emphasis in business from MSU. "You want to create that experience whether the Tigers win or lose. You want the person coming here to have a great time."
Healy grew up a self-defined "Air Force brat." His dad was in the U.S. Air Force for 33 years and was stationed in England and Scotland before relocating to Omaha, Neb., when Healy was in high school.
Raised in a military household, Healy envisioned his destiny in the Air Force. While his parents weren't averse to the idea, they both wanted him to be the first generation in their family to go to college.
"My dad immigrated from Ireland, and my mom from Scotland," Healy said. "Education was something they instilled in me at an early age. They were adamant that I go to college to be successful in life."
Healy started MSU and was in the Air Force ROTC his first year. His end goal was to be a pilot with a specialty in communications. Settling into his studies, he got a job working for the MSU Department of Public Safety to help cover living expenses.
That experience, Healy said, opened his eyes to opportunities he never thought of. As a student supervisor, he scheduled and managed security at events, and managed the operation of parking lots for sporting events like football and hockey.
"MSU gave me the chance to diversify and try new things," he said. "Getting involved and working in public safety was the start of me getting in the events management side of things."
Healy stayed on and worked for MSU DPS after earning his bachelor's degree. Growing increasingly interested in leadership, he seized an opportunity to work for Arizona State University as a parking manager. He returned to Detroit in the late 1990s to work in logistics and event management for Olympia Entertainment and Ilitch Holdings. In 2005, he began in operations for the Detroit Tigers, spanning a decade that includes hosting the MLB 76th All-Star Game, as well as serving as a liaison to Super Bowl XL at Detroit's Ford Field.
Healy serves as a VP on the Board of Directors for Ilitch Charities, and on the Board of Advisers for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. He assists the MLB each year in coordinating special events during the All-Star Red Carpet Show – an event originated in Detroit during Healy's tenure. Other professional affiliations include membership in the International Association of Auditorium Managers and the Stadium Managers Association.
Healy makes his home in greater Detroit with his wife Debbie and teenage son Preston. He says he has lived in the Detroit area longer than he has any other place, and enjoys each and every day he spends in the city.
"It's just great to be part of Detroit's revitalization," Healy said. "I was here in 1997 when we started building Comerica. There's so much now going on right outside our front door."