As Christopher Quetant (’11) packed up his things and made his rounds of goodbyes at the United States Olympic Committee Training Center in Lake Placid, N.Y. in 2010, he figured his internship would be a good clip to put on his resume when applying for future jobs. He never thought that just a year later he would be returning to work for the USOC full-time.
“I remember when I was leaving Lake Placid, I was saying goodbye and I was like, ‘I will probably never come back here,’” Quetant said.
Quetant, now the Operations Dorm Supervisor for the USOC in Lake Placid, returned a lot sooner than he thought, in essence turning his internship while at Springfield College into a career starter.
“Networking is key,” Quetant said. “Whenever you have an opportunity to meet someone and make an impression, you do it. Don’t wait, because you never know when that opportunity is going to arise again.”
Quetant used his knowledge of the importance of networking, among other lessons he accumulated while at SC, to land a job before he even finished his collegiate career. The former Sport Management major credits his professors and the program for setting him up for the chance to jump right into the field.
“I wouldn’t be where I’m at without my major or without my professors,” Quetant said. “They set me up for what I’m doing now and really presented this opportunity for me.”
Quetant, who graduated in 2011, formed a connection to SC while still in high school because of his older brother, Oswald.
“My older brother is a Springfield alum, and he was in Springfield three years before I graduated high school, so I guess Springfield was the only college I actually ever visited and I actually knew the campus,” the younger Quetant said. “Springfield kind of felt like home before I even got there.”
Springfield’s homeliness may have been one of the biggest factors for Quetant, but he still needed to choose a major that interested him. For the Jonathan Law High School soccer and track and field athlete, the Sport Management major was enticing.
“I was big in athletics, so I obviously wanted to do something sport-related, so when I heard [at] Springfield the Sport Management major was so prominent, I decided to go with that route,” Quetant said.
Quetant continued his athletics while at SC, participating in track and field in the 200 meter and 400 meter races all four years while at SC. Quetant was a major contributor his senior year, nearly qualifying for the NCAA Division III National Championships after making it to the ECAC Championships. Quetant earned All-ECAC honors by finishing in fifth in the 200m dash in 22.15, and ran a leg in the 4×400 relay that ran an NCAA Provisional Qualifying time of 3:15.39.
“It wasn’t just about who won each race. It was more about getting points as a team and trying to win meets,” Quetant said. “We had a very team aspect even though track and field is a very individualized sport.”
Even as he furthered his athletic career at SC, Quetant focused a lot of his attention on forging relationships and gaining valuable on-site experience. He took the initiative and used his winter break during his freshman year to get started in the field.
“Freshman year on winter break, I went back to my high school and did a mini-internship,” Quetant said. “I went to our athletic department and helped out with games and things like that.”
Quetant’s experiences multiplied from there. He used his practicum in his sophomore year to work for the Springfield Falcons in downtown Springfield, running game day promotions, going into the crowd and choosing participants to do different contests, throwing out T-shirts and blogging about the team. He then jumped at the opportunity to participate in a leadership program that one of his professors, Robert Accorsi, promoted, called F.L.A.M.E.
F.L.A.M.E. stands for “Finding Leaders Amongst Minorities Everywhere,” and was hosted by the USOC in Colorado Springs, Colo. It is a four-day program in which, among other things, Quetant got to meet a lot of people involved in the organization and across the country.
He might not have realized it at the time, but the connections he made during the program would prove crucial to his future success. He kept in contact with the coordinator of the program and ended up landing an internship in his junior year with the USOC in Lake Placid, N.Y. He worked under the supervision of Peter Toohey in sports medicine to expand upon his experiences. After leaving his internship, he again made it a point to keep in contact with people he had met, especially Toohey.
Quetant emailed Toohey one day during his senior year asking Toohey if he would mind throwing out his name if he heard of any job openings since he was graduating at the end of the school year, and received news that shocked him.
“That day he actually emailed me back saying, ‘We have an open position here in Lake Placid, and I actually just threw your name out there two days ago,’” Quetant said.
Quetant interviewed for the position, but since he had served as an intern, it was basically just a formality. The job was his. As the Operations Dorm Supervisor, Quetant works the front desk five days a week and runs a lot of the operations for the sports programs that they offer at their facility. They specialize in winter Olympic sports, such as biathlon, bobsled, skeleton and luge. In addition to that responsibility, Quetant serves the athletes on a personal level.
“We kind of work like a hotel where we have all our rooms here and our facility here. So we make sure we put them in the right rooms according to the number of participants they have,” Quetant said. “I live here on campus. I’m kind of like the RA for the athletes.”
Quetant, who was never a Resident Assistant at SC, joked about now finding himself in the business of being in their shoes.
“I definitely did have RA’s that I disliked,” Quetant admitted. “[Now I’m] seeing what they went through, and I’m like, ‘Oh wow, I should have never hated that guy,’ because now I know what they’re going through.”
Quetant is thriving, despite being far away from the place that gave him the means to succeed in the professional field. Although he has left SC, his time in the Sport Management major still guides him in his daily endeavors.
“It really gave me the foundation to build upon what I had learned in class and to apply it to the real world,” Quetant said.
That SC-born foundation is built on a bed of connections, networking and experiences, and has led to the beginning of an Olympics-infused career.