MVP was established on the simple and humbling idea that life is short, time is scarce, the world is big, and connection is key

 

Life Is Short. Time Is Scarce. 

Yes, it's as corny as it gets, but it's true. We only have so much time to fit in as many experiences, relationships, and memories as possible. Anything can change at the drop of the hat and the tomorrow we're waiting for may never come. This is especially true when it comes to the amount of time families get to spend together. You only get 18 summers with your kids to make the memories that last you a lifetime - How Many Do You Have Left? 

The Time Is Now.


The World Is Big. 

It's not uncommon for us as Americans to get stuck in our own bubble. Yes, our country has a lot to offer, but don't forget that there is a whole world out there with different people, foods, celebrations, values, and ways of life. As Americans, we have an opportunity to demonstrate humility, to learn from others, and to share our ways of life with those we encounter on our travels. Not only does this attitude help us evolve into more respectful and tolerant individuals, it also gives us the contrast that is needed to appreciate all of the things that make our country amazing. 

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone. 

 


Connection is Key. 

There is a power in coming together to share a new experience. Meeting and interacting with others from around the world through a shared interest allows us to realize that they're not so different from us after all. Take the opportunity to connect through something you love and share it with those you care about. 

It's About The People Along The Way. 

 

Experiences > Things. 

Here are 2 great resources that share this mentality.

1) The Dash Poem

2) Your Life In Weeks
 


 

Meet The Team

 
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Mark 'Pudge' Gjormand
CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Coach Pudge is known by both the Virginia High School Baseball community as well as the national baseball community for bringing a high level of energy, charisma, and absolute passion to the field, every single day. With decades of accomplishments, 2 State Championships, coach Pudge is currently the 4th winningest baseball coach in Virginia High School Baseball history with nearly 400 wins.

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Coach Pudge’s story begins back in 2008, when Coach Pudge was given the opportunity to bring a local team abroad for a tournament. After much hesitation and some convincing by his supportive wife, Beth, Coach Pudge got his first taste of international baseball on a trip to Germany with some of the top players in the DMV area. After experiencing the eye-opening impact the game of baseball was having around the world, he was all-in.

Coach Pudge went on a few more trips before he started to brainstorm how he could share these experiences that were transforming not only his life, but also those of hundreds of athletes and families that were joining him on the trips, with more athletes. He had a vision to reach the lives of thousands across a variety of sports with these unforgettable escapades.

In 2012, Coach Pudge contacted now business partner, Matt Foley, to help turn his dream into a reality. While Coach Pudge handled the sports side of things, Foley handled the business side, and the partnership was formed. Since then, Coach Pudge has continued to share the vision with which he founded the company with hundreds of athletes from the DMV area and also directs all things related to baseball.

This thing is just getting started!

Coach Pudge also operates MVP Baseball School, the MVP Terps, and MVP Summer Camp. He currently resides in Reston, VA with his wife, Beth, and 3 kids Samantha (20), Josh (18), and Trevor (14).

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Matt Foley

President

Foley played for Coach Pudge, graduating in 2003 and racking up a laundry list of awards, both in the JMHS record books as well as at the state level. After 4 successful years, 2 regional championships and a state championship at Madison, Foley went on to catch at Virginia Tech for 4 years.

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Although Foley spent a few years in the corporate world, he was drawn back to the game as a coach, and he enjoyed staying connected to the baseball community. When he was approached by Coach Pudge in 2012 to form what is now MVP International Athletics, he saw it as an opportunity to further apply what he had learned in the corporate world in order to build something very special.

Since then, Foley has served as President of MVP International and oversees the business operations, which under his leadership runs smoothly.

Foley also has a focus in the real estate field and currently resides in Arlington, VA with his wife Meghan and 2 kids, Bryce (3) Blake (1).

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Eli Facenda
ChiEf Operating Officer

Eli’s background in international sports tours goes back to 2009. After going on back-to-back undefeated trips to the Dominican Republic and Italy under Coach Pudge, the travel bug had bit Eli and he was hooked.

Eli went on to play Division I baseball at Lehigh University.

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While there he majored in Finance with a minor in Spanish, and was also afforded the opportunity to do a semester abroad in Barcelona, Spain.

It was during that semester abroad that he re-connected with the MVP International team and slowly began to support the organization. Eli continued to work for MVP International part time as a senior at Lehigh University and became MVP International’s first full-time employee upon graduation in 2015. Since then Eli has taken over the role of running the day-to-day operation of the business. Eli also serves as the group leader for several MVP International tours.

Eli has developed a passion for traveling and the travel industry, which has led him to visit over 20 countries in the last 3 years. Eli currently resides in Arlington, VA

 
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BOB Gambarelli
Customer Relations & Operations

Originally from New York, Bob worked at James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia as a Counselor for 30 years. One of the things Bob enjoyed most was the sense of community that Vienna and Madison fostered, and the care that each individual had for those around them. This is the same sense of community that the MVP team creates for its travelers.  

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Bob first got the travel bug in his early 20’s when he visited Italy and fell in love with that country, having gone back a number of times since. He has have visited numerous countries since then, and gets excited when seeing how positively the experiences affect his traveling companions. Bob brings that same enthusiasm to MVP International and is an absolute fireplug on the team.

Bob supports customers with account needs amongst other things and provides an extremely level head on any trip, having dealt with many challenging circumstances in his 30 years as a counselor!

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O’Kelly McWilliams
General Counsel

Having joined MVP International as a traveler many times in the past, O’Kelly brings a perspective that is highly valued by the MVP International Athletics team and organization. 

O’Kelly advises US and international clients on a wide range of business and employment law matters. He has extensive experience handling employment aspects of M&A and other corporate transactions as well as employment disputes and compensation issues. O’Kelly has collaborated with some of the world’s leading companies and emerging businesses to mitigate their risks and advance their business plans.

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He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Virginia Retirement System — a nearly $80 billion pension plan — and participates on its Benefits & Actuarial, Audit and Compliance, Defined Contribution Plan, and Administration and Personnel committees.

To help organizations manage employee relationships and reduce their liability, O’Kelly works with them to establish industry-specific employment policies and to provide board members and managers with compliance and employment training. He also conducts compensation audits to mitigate risks related to pay disparity issues.


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Samantha gjormand
intern

Samantha began interning with the MVP International team in the Spring of 2018. Samantha is currently a junior at James Madison University where she is also the Manager of the Dukes Baseball team. Samantha brings a unique perspective to the team as she has gone on these trips as a player, sibling, and a staff member.  

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Samantha is passionate about sports media and enjoys creating exposure for players and teams. Her role with the MVP team is quite versatile as she helps with daily needs ranging anywhere from administrative support, to social media, or even helping out with the team apparel.

 
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Tonya Brogan
Travel Manager

Tonya attended travel school in VA and then worked in Virginia and Colorado, as a Leisure Travel Specialist, specializing in Disney, Caribbean and Hawaii. Tonya planned total vacation packages and enjoyed playing a major role in helping her clients turn their dreams into a reality,

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as well as help them create memories and friendships that would last a lifetime.

As a member of a military family, Tonya was afforded the opportunity of being stationed in several areas throughout the United States as well as overseas. She had the pleasure of being stationed in Italy for 3 years with her husband Bob and their two children, Makayla and Noah. They lived in Vicenza, which is about an hour west of Venice. While stationed in Italy, the family traveled throughout Europe and cruised the Mediterranean on several occasions. They did not return to the US until their three-year military assignment was complete because Europe has so much to offer and they wanted to take full advantage!

A few years later after returning to Virginia, Tonya and her family joined MVP International on the 2017 Germany Baseball Tour and had a blast! It was then that the MVP team realized she would be a great addition to the team.

Tonya absolutely loves to travel, meet new friends and to help others achieve their dreams...For all of these reasons and more, Tonya is an absolute perfect fit for MVP International!

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Simon Roberts
Hockey Director

Coach Simon Roberts brings decades of international hockey experience to the MVP International hockey program. As Director of Ice Hockey, Coach Roberts has brought international Ice Hockey opportunities to the DMV community. Along with being the bench boss of several Tier 1 hockey programs, including the Washington Little Capitals, he's also also been involved with USA Hockey Player Development Camps and was invited to be an Affiliate coach with the NTDP. With a background in Strength & Conditioning, coach Roberts also works with the Washington Capitals Player Development camps.

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Coach Roberts also grew up in various places around the world and brings a cultural tone to the program that is highly valued by the MVP team. Coach Roberts led his first tour with MVP International in 2018 to Central Europe with a group of 16u players and families. With the amazing experience gained, Coach Roberts has ambitiously contributed to bring new opportunities to the Ice Hockey community at large. Coach Roberts resides in Reston, VA with his wife Marie and his infant, Colin.

 
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Zach Smerdzinski
Recruiting Manager

Zach Smerdzinski is a James Madison HS alum who was one of a select few to ever earn a Varsity Letter in four sports. He lettered in football, baseball, basketball and lacrosse during his time. Zach is widely considered one of the top athletes to ever walk the Warhawk halls and earned himself a first ballot JMHS hall of fame vote.. He went onto to play football at Furman University on a full scholarship where he played slot WR and earned his business degree.

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Quite simply, Zach's passion is sports and he brings full energy to everything he does. Zach is currently coaching 13u AAU baseball when he is not helping to bring new international athletic opportunities to athletes.

Before joining the MVP International team, Zach had a successful career as a government contract recruiter; placing over 1,000 full time employees during his 15 years in that role. Zach currently resides in Ashburn, VA and has two beautiful daughters 6 and 4. The MVP International is beyond excited to have an exciting, ambitious, and energetic asset to help share life-changing opportunities with more athletes!

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Jason McMahon
Client Relations Manager

Jason is a native to Vienna, VA and is rooted in Youth and High School Baseball around the area.  He has coached multiple travel, little league and high school teams and is currently an assistant varsity coach at Marshall High School in Falls Church, VA.  He played for Coach Pudge in the mid 90’s and went on to George Mason University where he red shirted for one season with the Patriots.

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After college, Jason found himself working with a direct marketing company where he became an Account Manager handling day to day sales and reporting from multiple inbound and outbound call centers around the United States and Canada. He was in constant communication with high level clients ensuring their direct marketing campaigns were a success.

With a quick move to Roanoke, VA Jason became the Fly Fishing Technical Advisor for The Orvis Company. He spent his days on the phone giving customers product information and providing customer service and sales support. He learned the value of customer relations and the importance of building trust and confidence to ensure that each customer was treated with dignity and respect.

Eventually, Jason moved back to Northern Virginia accepting a retail position with Orvis. Within a few years he he became the Fishing Manage at the Arlington, VA locvation. He built lasting relationships with customers that continue today. Jason’s passion for fly fishing has taken him across the United States and he has competed in several fishing competitions that were featured on the Outdoor Channel.

Jason is excited to join the MVP International team and provide customers the support needed to make their arrangements as stress free as possible.

@MVPInternational

 
 
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Stu Vetter
Men’s Basketball Director

Coach Stu Vetter brings decades of experience coaching, inspiring, and mentoring high school men’s basketball players at the highest level in the country.
Coach Vetter has been coaching for over 40 years.  Few coaches have ever been able to bring such a passion for the game to so many.

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In addition to graduating over 100 players who have become Division 1 student/athletes, nine of Coach Vetter’s players have gone on to play in the NBA, and many have gone on to coach at the High School and College level. Coach Vetter attends and takes a very hands-on approach and will be ensuring that all men’s basketball players are ready for the task of representing the USA internationally.

Having coached internationally several times, Coach Vetter knows exactly what it takes to represent the USA on the international stage. He brings a passion for connecting the world through basketball and has seen this impact personally as he has had a number of international players on his team over the years.