In her 24th season with the Houston Astros Baseball Club, Pam Gardner currently serves as the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Board after serving the last eleven years as the President of Business Operations. She is recognized as the longest serving female chief executive in Major League Baseball. In her capacity as President, she oversaw business, sales and marketing aspects for the Astros, including all revenue areas, customer service, sponsorship and ticket sales, as well as community affairs, marketing, public relations and special events.
Under Pam’s leadership as team president, the club set a franchise attendance record during their National League Wild Card season in 2004, as 3,087,872 fans attended games at Minute Maid Park. In 2007, the club drew 3,000,000 fans for the second consecutive year as well as the fourth time in the first nine seasons of baseball in Houston’s downtown ballpark. In 2010, the Astros welcomed the 30 millionth fan to Minute Maid Park. The Astros business group organized the ballpark activities as the club hosted playoff games in three of the first six seasons at Minute Maid Park, including the first World Series game ever played in the State of Texas in 2005. Minute Maid Park also played host to the All-Star Game in 2004.
In ceremonies held in Houston in November of 2006, Pam became the first female executive inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame. In April 2005, Pam was recognized by Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal as one of the 20 Most Influential Women in Sports. She is also included in a special exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, saluting women in baseball. She received the prestigious Marguerite Ross Barnett leadership award from the Houston Area Urban League in 2008 and was also named one of the “Women on the Move” by Texas Executive Women and the Houston Chronicle. In 2011, she was named one of twenty women listed as a sports “Game Changer’ by Street and Smith’s.
Pam originally joined the Astros in 1989 as director of communications, developing advertising and marketing campaigns for the ball club. In 1994, she was named director of marketing, where her role expanded to include more strategic planning.
Pam became vice president of marketing in 1996, overseeing advertising, marketing and ticket sales areas for the Astros, with emphasis on growing general revenue areas. As the dream of a new ballpark began to become a reality for the team, her focus was shifted to include a leadership role in the design and development of Minute Maid Park. While working on the construction and marketing of the new facility, she continued overseeing club marketing.
Pam was named senior vice president of sales and marketing in 1999, and added sponsorship sales and marketing operations to her responsibilities. She spearheaded the advertising and marketing efforts for both the team and the new ballpark in its inaugural season and led the development of the new logo and uniform design that the team currently utilizes. The club also set franchise attendance records in two consecutive seasons (1998-1999) in the Astrodome, in addition to the current franchise standard set in 2004 at Minute Maid Park.
Pam also oversaw the development of programming to make Minute Maid Park a destination for a multitude of events other than baseball games, including wedding receptions, concerts, corporate events, dinners and more. The ballpark has played host to numerous charity events, including major fund-raising efforts for the Houston Area Women’s Center, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Methodist Hospital. In 2011, Pam led the effort to construct two new, state-of-the-art video boards, new ribbon boards, and a private club located behind homeplate, to help Minute Maid Park maintain its status as one of the finest venues in the country.
The Astros in Action Foundation, which works to enhance the quality of life in the Houston community, has also increased its efforts under Pam’s leadership in terms of both the volume of appearances the club makes in the community and the amount of money donated to charitable projects through the Foundation. The club’s annual Race for the Pennant, Tommy Bahama Cowboy Golf Classic and the Astros Alumni Golf Tournament are recent fundraising additions for the Foundation. Since 2009, the Astros have hosted the popular “Pink in the Park” luncheon featuring Astros players and their mothers and wives, to raise funds for breast cancer research through the Astros in Action Foundation.
In April of 2010, the Astros proudly opened the Urban Youth Academy in Northwest Houston, a collaborative effort between Sylvester Turner Park, the City of Houston, the State of Texas and Major League Baseball. The Academy provides instruction and fields for underserved youth to hone both baseball and life skills, and is only the second Academy developed with a Major League Baseball team.
Under Pam’s leadership, Comcast Sports Net Houston was formed in the fall of 2010, together with the NBA's Houston Rockets, and will televise Astros and Rockets games beginning in 2012-13, as well as ancillary team programming.
Pam currently serves on the board of the Astros in Action Foundation, the board and Executive Committee of Central Houston Inc., which she currently Chairs, the board of the Greater Houston Partnership, and is a member of Texas Executive Women. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Newfield Exploration Company.
A native of Green Bay, Wisconsin and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Pam joined the Astros after working for ten years with an advertising and public relations agency in Chicago, serving her last five years as the vice president of the entertainment division.