Results tagged ‘ Offseason ’

There’s No Offseason For…Caitlin Moyer

Earlier this month, John gave you a glimpse into his offseason life and now it’s my turn to give you one into mine.

First of all, I would argue that the offseason is actually a busier time than during the season in my world.

Yes, that’s right—offseason, schmoffseason!

In my role as Senior Manager of Advertising & Marketing, my job responsibilities include: leading and initiating all general market advertising and marketing projects; serving as the internal lead for social media strategy sessions; initiating brainstorming sessions to discuss concepts for upcoming and current Consumer Marketing projects; evaluating and researching new Club opportunities, promotions and marketing initiatives; preparing proposals, drafting contracts and writing sales, marketing and evaluation reports; and of, course, co-authoring this blog!

Our Consumer Marketing Department, headed up by Vice President of Consumer Marketing, Jim Bathey, is comprised of Ticket Sales (Season Tickets, Group Tickets, Suite Sales, and Ticket Operations) and Marketing/Advertising. Under that umbrella, we have an internal creative team, led by my boss, Kathy Schwab, Senior Director of Marketing, that works to produce all of the advertisements and collateral. In sum, the easiest way to tell you what we do is to say that basically anything that you, the consumer, sees has most likely passed our desks in some way, shape, or form.

While I don’t physically design the look (we’ve got Sr. Graphic Designer Jeff Harding and Graphic Designer Molly Arndt to thank for that!), I have a hand in most projects from a creative concepting and copywriting standpoint to scheduling the workflow and making sure our deadlines are met.

Here are just a few of the things that help keep us out of trouble from November through March:


DEPARTMENTAL MEETINGS: Our internal creative team operates like its own creative agency, serving our “clients,” or the other departments within our organization. At the end of the season, we like to sit down with each department individually to discuss their creative needs for the upcoming year so we can begin to think about new ideas, get their projects on a calendar and budget our time accordingly. We meet with everyone from Brewers Enterprises and Community Relations to Accounting and Stadium Operations to make sure that we are ready to help them produce any materials that they might need.

SEASON SEAT HOLDER RENEWAL PACKET: Our first big offseason project is always the Season Seat Holder Renewal Packet. After the season ends, our Season Seat Holders have the first priority to renew their seats for the following season. Putting this packet together means reflecting on the previous season, gathering the new schedule and pricing charts for the upcoming season and updating any new benefit information. Coming off of such a special 2011 Season, we wanted to do something extra special for our Season Seat Holders, so they each received this commemorative 8×10 collage as part of their packet this year:

HOLIDAY 4-PACKS: When the baseball season lasts until nearly Halloween, it’s easy for the rest of the holiday season to sneak up on you. That’s why we have to work ahead in order to be ready to launch our campaign for our ever-popular Holiday 4-Packs. Typically, these packages go on sale about two weeks before Thanksgiving. This year they are available until December 20. Our marketing team works hard to develop a fully-integrated campaign that includes direct mail and print, online, outdoor, radio and TV advertising.

CLUBHOUSE SALE:  We’re also charged with advertising our Brewers Clubhouse Sale, which, coincidentally, takes place this Friday and Saturday in the Visitors’ Clubhouse here at Miller Park.  You’ll definitely want to check back  on Thursday, as John and I are planning on posting our annual Clubhouse Sale Preview!


NEW SEASON TICKET PACKAGES: After renewals and the holiday season, we shift our focus to selling our new season ticket packages. Again, we create advertising campaigns and sales collateral to support these efforts.

BREWERS ON DECK: In January, we’ve got our annual winter fan fest, Brewers On Deck to look forward to. This year, Brewers On Deck takes place on Sunday, January 29 from 10am to 5pm at the Frontier Airlines Center in downtown Milwaukee. Typically, our department will work on the advertising for this event and our outside agency, 2-Story Creative, steps in to assist with all of the banners, signage and decor for the event itself.


SPRING TRAINING & TV COMMERCIALS: Just when the weather in Wisconsin is at its nastiest, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to hop on a plane to Arizona where we work with the players to gather most of what we’ll need for our 2012 in-season advertising efforts. We try to limit our asks of the players once the season begins so that they can focus their efforts on the field; that means that we capture a lot of images—and shoot our TV commercials (with the help of 2-Story Creative)—before our Spring Training games even begin.

INDIVIDUAL ON-SALE (ARCTIC TAILGATE): We return from sunny Arizona to the Arctic…Tailgate, that is. As you know, the Arctic Tailgate, the date our individual tickets go on sale to the public, usually takes place in February. What does that mean for marketing? We have to produce the advertising around the event and create collateral pieces—the most important being the much-anticipated pocket schedule. Usually by that time of year, we’ll have most of our promotions set in place and then we can print our pocket schedules and get them in the hands, wallets and purses of eagerly-awaiting Brewers fans. For the next six months, that pocket schedule will also inadvertently serve as my day planner.🙂


YOUR TICKETS, PARKING PASSES, ETC.: If you’re a Season Seat Holder, you know that the day your tickets arrive in the mail is a very special day. [I always think of this scene in the movie Fever Pitch and imagine many of our Brewers fans react the same way.] Well, did you ever think of the people behind those tickets? The ones who design them, print them, and make sure that your precise number of tickets with your exact seat location get delivered to you—along with your parking books and/or NYCE Club membership? All of those items in your packet have to be produced and that’s what we spend a lot of time on in February and March, making sure everyone is set for Opening Day.

Which brings us to… the start of the new season!

Eek! We’ve got a ton to accomplish in just 129 days! I better wrap this up.



There’s No Offseason For…John Steinmiller

Since the season ended, I get asked probably every other day, “So now what do you do?”

People ask me if I get the winter off, or do I work three hours a day, or if I come in four days a week—I have probably heard it all in seven years. Truth is, yes, things slow down a bit when compared to the regular season, but no, I do not get the entire winter off. I am able to take some more time off here and there, but by no means does that mean we have the winter off.

Cait started this series two before the 2010 season to give inside look at what goes on in the Brewers Front Office during the offseason. We realized that in interviewing others to see what their offseason is like; we never really talked about how we spend our offseason. Cait will tell you about her offseason later, I will fill you in on what goes on in Media Relations now. There is much truth to Cait’s title of “There’s No Offseason For…”

There are a number of important projects that the Media Relations Department works on during the offseason. The most important thing that the Media Relations Department does is make sure that the Brewers stay on the minds of fans throughout the year–no matter if we are on the field or off the field. There are obviously not games going on so baseball might not be on the minds of all of our fans, but our goal is to have people talking and thinking about Brewers baseball as much as possible.

So, after catching my breath following an enjoyable Postseason run, here are some of the main projects that I work on during the offseason:

“The” Media Guide – This is probably our biggest project and the one that takes the most time. At around 350 pages, the Brewers Media Guide is full with Brewers history, facts, news and other information. Myself, Mike Vassallo and Ken Spindler chip away at the project throughout the winter. I love the stats and especially the historical information contained in Media Guides, I grew up reading them and still love reading them.

We would like to have the completed books in hand by the first Spring Training game, so we work with a set of dates that allows us to reach that goal (proud to say that we are early every year, even with some snowstorm shipping delays!). It is a pretty big project as the media guide contains a lot of numbers and statistical information that must be 100% correct. It is quite the process, organizing, resizing and configuring photos; sorting, crunching and updating numbers and most importantly, designing the cover.

The Arizona Fall League – Last year I went down to the Arizona Fall League to write about some of our prospects for the blog. I will be going again this year next week to do the same. Stay tuned for some reports from the last week of the Arizona Fall League in Phoenix.

Brewers On Deck – Perhaps our biggest offseason event, Brewers On Deck—scheduled for Sunday, January 29 2012 at the Frontier Airlines Center in Downtown Milwaukee—is another huge offseason project that involves pretty much every department of the front office. The event requires a lot of planning and I work on a couple of different areas. I put together the Brewers Museum exhibit and work on promotion of the event through social media and traditional media. We also schedule press conferences and other media availability during the event. It is an event that fans look forward to every year and we are all excited to get going on the 2012 event.

The Winter Meetings – The Winter Meetings are an annual MLB event that encompasses a number of things. For one, it is where the Baseball Operations departments from all 30 MLB teams gather to strategize what they need for the upcoming season. Team representatives talk with other team representatives on trades and free agents meet with prospective teams.

As a PR staff, we are there to help the media with any player moves that might involve the Brewers. MLB also hosts a series of PR meetings that include sessions on what is going on in the industry. The Winter Meetings are held during the first week of December and this year will be in Dallas.

Spring Training – Spring Training signifies the end of the “offseason,” but is still part of the preparation process for the upcoming season. We bring our entire operation to Phoenix for about eight weeks where we prepare for the upcoming season with photo shoots, preview interviews, commercial shoots and, well yes, some baseball.

While there are other things that come up during the offseason, those are some of the main projects that I work on during the months without baseball. The games are one of my favorite things about my job, but the anticipation of the upcoming season is something I enjoy as well. Looking at this list, I think I have to get back to work. Until next time…


The Myth of the Offseason, Continued

Now that we’re well into November and John is back from his trip to Arizona, I thought I’d revisit the  “There is No Offseason For…” series that I started last year about this time.


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In case you’re new to the blog or you’ve forgotten, this series stems from what John and I called “The Myth of the Offseason” in our very first post last November. (It is hard to believe this blog is almost one year old!)


Links to last year’s stories can be found here:

Gary Vanden Berg, Director of Grounds

Aleta Mercer, Vice President Broadcasting & Entertainment

Billy Friess, Director of Season Ticket Sales

Miller Park Tours

Brewers Enterprises


And now, loyal readers, my next installment is in your hands!


Whose “offseason” do you want me to write about next?

Chris Barlow, Director-Group Sales

Cecelia Gore, Executive Director, Brewers Community Foundation

Jeff Harding, Senior Graphic Designer

Diny Hurwitz, Data Analyst

Karl Mueller, Director of Video Scouting and Baseball Research 

Other (Got someone else in mind? Let me know!)


Vote by posting your comments below. I’ll feature the member of the front office with the most votes in my next story later this month!





There is No Offseason for… Billy Friess

For my next installment of “There is No Offseason for…” I chose to interview Billy Friess, Director of Season Ticket Sales. In 2010, Billy will be entering his 12th Season with the Club and I don’t think he’s had an off day, much less an offseason. This guy has tremendous work ethic and a great dedication to his job.

And given his background, it’s no surprise that Billy has a strong passion for his work.

“I grew up with baseball as a huge part of my life and I’m so fortunate to call baseball my job,” Billy said yesterday, when we sat down to discuss what his calendar looks like from October through March.

Billy’s father, Jack Friess, has been coaching baseball at Cedarburg High School for over 30 years. Jack is a Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer and even once played in the White Sox organization.

Billy was coached by his own father at Cedarburg High School and went on to play shortstop at Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where, after some coaxing, he admitted that he’s still 10th all-time in hits.

Billy majored in Sport and Recreation Management at Marian and started his career in the minors with an internship with the Milwaukee Brewers’ now-Single-A affiliate, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. From there, he went on to start out with the Brewers as a Telephone Service Representative (TSR) in the fall of 1998.

“I started out as a TSR in the basement of County Stadium with a computer, keyboard and phone in a 24″ x 36″ cubicle. The first calls I made were to 1994 – the strike year – canceled accounts,” Billy recalls fondly.

Billy continued his climb through the ranks. Shortly after the 1999 Season, Billy was promoted to Account Executive and then, with the move to Miller Park in 2001, he became a Senior Account Executive. Then, in 2003, he became the Manager of Season Ticket Sales before being promoted to Director of Season Ticket Sales in 2007, the position he holds today.

Billy Friess.JPG

As Director, Billy oversees ten Account Executives and six TSRs.

“My job is to give our ten Account Executives and six TSR’s all the tools they need to be put in a position to succeed each and every sales campaign,” Billy explained.

In keeping with our “no offseason” theme, Billy said the busiest time for his staff is August through Opening Day.

Marketing, Ticket Operations and Ticket Sales all fall under the Consumer Marketing umbrella here at the Club. This means that I am fortunate to get to work with Billy on many of his offseason projects, such as Season Seat Holder renewal packets and the advertising campaigns for his small plans, like our Holiday 4-Packs and our 9-Packs.

“In June and July we start gearing up for our selling season, putting together as attractive a renewal package as possible for our customers from a benefits end. We always try to incorporate something special as an incentive to get people to renew early.”

This year, every Season Seat Holder (SSH) who paid in full by November 20 has the option to receive a commemorative 40th Anniversary poster-size Milwaukee Brewers print and for the Full SSH’s who renewed by the deadline, there will be a special meet-and-greet with Robin Yount next summer, where he’ll personally sign those prints.

Over the years, Billy has rewarded renewal customers with various renewal benefits such as the opportunity to take batting practice at Miller Park, the opportunity to throw out the First Pitch, private autograph sessions with current players including Ryan Braun, recognition as the “Season Seat Holder of the Game” and more.

After the renewal process is well underway, Billy works with the fine folks in the Marketing Department ( :) ) to launch our Holiday 4-Pack campaign. The Holiday 4-Packs start at just $60 and include a ticket to four great games, including an all-fan giveaway game.  Plus, for every pair of 4-Packs one buys within the same plan, he or she will score a free Klement’s Famous Racing Polish Sausage ornament. There are five exciting plans to choose from and for the past four years, 4-Packs have been popular holiday gifts for Brewers fans.


Holiday 4-Pack.gifDid you ever wonder who came up with your 4-Pack “Matinee Plan” or “Weekend Plus Plan”? That’s Billy Friess. Billy works with his department to carefully determine which games will be included in each different plan type.

“We try to create different types of packages to appeal to the masses,” Billy said.

The 4-Packs and the 9-Packs (which will go on sale in January 2010) are smaller introductory packages, so while there are some benefits, it’s not until you move up to the 20, 40 and Full Season plans that the benefits really increase.

Most 20, 40, and Full Season SSH’s enjoy benefits such as a significant savings off the standard gate rate, flexible ticket exchange options, the opportunity to purchase individual game tickets before they go on sale to the general public, priority seating for the Postseason, a complimentary Metavante Club Membership, savings on Preferred Parking and Suite rentals and more. There are also special events for Season Seat Holders throughout the year.

In addition to making sure that SSH’s are taken care of with these cushy benefits, Billy also tries to create new Season Ticket offerings.

“This is a very value-conscious market, so we try to create offerings like the Terrace Ticket Treat and the Loge Level Double Play,” Billy said, referring to two popular SSH deals.  The Terrace Ticket Treat is four seats in the Terrace Reserved section for every Brewers home game.  The price breaks down to just $6 per ticket, making it a winner with families. New for 2010, the Loge Level Double Play is also a great deal and sure to be just as popular. Essentially, it’s a buy-one-get-one free Loge Level Season ticket package that applies to Sections 210 and 227.

“We also aren’t afraid to try new things like offering Opening Day for Free with our 9-Packs. Anything with value is going to appeal. We try to think out of the box, stay fresh and not just give a carbon copy of what we did the previous year,” Billy said.

Starting at just $135, Brewers 9-Packs include nine great games, plus the home opener on April 5 vs. the Colorado Rockies-for FREE.  Other benefits of the 9-Packs include regular pricing on Marquee games, a guaranteed seat location and more, making them uber-popular among fans.

“The 9-Packs with Opening Day for Free are probably my favorite plan that we offer.  The packages that are the most marketable are the ones that I like the best. The Fan’s Choice Plan, where you pick the 20 games you want, is also an easier sell and meets the needs of a lot more people; plans with lots of value and flexibility, those things are what I like the best,” Billy said.

Billy’s such a good salesman, he’s even sold himself. 

“Billy, if you weren’t working here, would you buy Season Tickets?” I asked.

Without missing a beat, Billy answered, “Absolutely!”

He even had his seats picked out.  “I’d probably buy a Fan’s Choice 20-Game Plan in the Terrace Box.”

Besides selling tickets, Billy says he also likes to spend the offseason focusing on coaching his staff by listening to their phone calls and providing feedback and also, through providing an intense sales training program.

“At the end of October, we kick off our campaign with sales training. We bring in a local trainer who does a great job of customizing his training to fit our needs, identifying what our challenges are going to be and helping us to overcome any objections that we might get this upcoming season,” Billy said.

In addition to the week of training, Billy’s staff stays on top of their game with weekly learning tracks filled with ideas, sales techniques and the like. 

All of the training has certainly paid off as Billy led his staff to achieve a franchise-record season ticket base in 2009.

“I truly believe we have the best sales staff in all of baseball – a very dedicated staff that works well as a team and genuinely cares about our department and organization,” Billy said.

As we were wrapping up, Billy’s phone rang and his attention immediately turned to the person on the other line.


Billy Friess 2.JPG“What can I do for you?” Billy asked. After typing away at his keyboard, I heard him say, “Section 216? You got it.”

I backed slowly out of his office, leaving him to finish his call with another satisfied customer, no doubt.


For more information on Brewers Season Ticket Packages, please call (414) 902-4100, or click here.

Is there someone you’d like to see profiled in this feature?  E-mail us at

There is No Offseason for… Gary Vanden Berg

In our first post, John and I attempted to dispel the myth of baseball’s offseason for members of the Brewers Front Office. I got to thinking that I ought to expand on that and had the idea for a new series, the goal of which is to explain more about what’s going on right now at One Brewers Way.

I decided to start off with Gary Vanden Berg, Director of Grounds. Gary’s been working for the Brewers since 1981 and 2010 will mark his 30th season with the Club. That means he’s worked the field at both County Stadium and Miller Park and has seen the fields though various events/milestones such as the 1982 World Series, the great flood at County Stadium, a tractor pull, the 2002 All-Star Game, the 2008 NLDS, two strikes, various rock concerts, bowling tournaments and much, much more. Gary’s son, John Vanden Berg, was even drafted by and played for the Brewers for four years and got as high as Double-A Huntsville.

Marketing doesn’t have the opportunity to work with Grounds Crew very often, so first, I had to look up Gary’s extension.

“Hi Gary, it’s Caitlin Moyer from Marketing, how are you?”

“I’m good,” Gary answered, and before I could start in with the reason for my call, he continued.

“I’m coming to the party.  I know, I need to bring in my RSVP card.”

I’m on the Employee Events Committee. We’re in the midst of planning our holiday party, but…that wasn’t why I was calling.

“That’s great.  You’re not late. But hey, listen, that actually wasn’t why I was calling… I don’t know if you heard, but John Steinmiller and I have this new MLBlog? We’re writing about stuff that goes on in the Front Office.  Our first post was yesterday and we wrote about how you know how people always ask us what we do in the offseason and then we say ‘There is no offseason’?”

I paused as Gary chuckled knowingly.

“Well, so anyway, I thought it would be a neat idea to do a weekly series called ‘There is No Offseason for… {Insert Front Office Name Here}’ where I follow a different member of the Front Office and write about what they’re doing right now. I thought I’d start with you, so, like, ‘There is No Offseason for… Gary Vanden Berg’. What do you think? Could I interview you for the blog?”

“Sure! That sounds like a fun idea,” Gary said.

“Cool.  Thanks a bunch!  So, uh, Gary…what do you do in the offseason? I mean, I’m not really sure what Grounds is up to right now and all. Is there anything interesting that I could come observe and write about?”

“Well, we’re actually going to be covering and sandbagging the field on Tuesday, why don’t you meet me down there at 9am?”

“Sounds great! Thanks a bunch!”

So that’s how I ended up down on the field this morning, where I got my crash course in turf management.

The Grounds Crew staff was already hard at work when I met up with Gary for our “interview” and he filled me in on everything they’d been working on this offseason.

Thumbnail image for Gary.JPG
Gary Vanden Berg, Director-Grounds

“We spent a lot of time outside this fall. We are responsible for the entire grounds. There are 265 acres here.  A lot of our job is landscaping. Mike Boettcher is our Landscape Manager. We try to make it as close to a Disney-atmosphere as you can out there, but our staff is pretty small so we try to keep adding a few new things all the time.”

The Grounds Crew staff consists of just three full-time employees-Gary, Mike and Miranda Bintley, Grounds Manager– and several part-time and seasonal staff members. This fall, the Grounds Crew moved 15 trees and over 150 rose bushes in order to prepare for projects that will be done in the spring. They were also involved in removing the ivy from the batter’s eye.

The bulk of their time as of late, however, has been spent getting the field to be ready to be what Gary calls ‘put to bed’. 

“We’ve rebuilt the pitcher’s mound as well as both of the mounds in the bullpens. We’ve also made sure the field measurements were accurate. We did all of our resodding this fall as well, putting replacement grass in the area between the mound and home plate and some of the player spots in the outfield. Then, we top-dress the grass–that’s adding sand to the surface of the grass. It helps to smooth and level out the grass a little more and protects the crowns from the winter.”

“Next, every year, we try to make the infield dirt better. This is the same infield dirt that came from County Stadium. It’s been modified every year. It’s a unique blend. You couldn’t buy anything like this. It has an awful lot of calcined clay mixed in which helps to give the field body and when it’s really wet, it helps to make it play well.”

“About five weeks ago, we rolled and tilled it all up, added more clay to give it more body and then we had to laser-level it so she is completely flat again. There is a lot of work involved, trying to get all the edges done and get everything back to the way it is supposed to be.”

Thumbnail image for DSC04201.JPGToday signified the end of those preparations. It was time to tuck the field in and put it to bed. The Grounds Crew spent the morning covering the field with special turf covers (which help keep the grass from turning yellow, keeps the grass a little warmer and, in times of sunlight, can act a little bit like a greenhouse) and placing sandbags down to keep the covers from coming loose. They also placed 2″ insulation over the infield dirt to help make it more playable come spring; the insulation prevents the frost from going as deep.

Once the Crew tucks the field in for the winter, it won’t take them the covers off again until spring.

Thumbnail image for Grounds 2.JPGUntil then, Gary and staff will check the covers each day and keep a close eye on the weather.

Every winter, says Gary, is different. Last year, Gary was able to close the roof during the months of January and February because the grass was completely dormant. If the grass is completely dormant, then it doesn’t matter if it gets any light and keeping the roof closed and the snow out is actually a benefit to the grass.

If it isn’t completely frozen, even if the grass isn’t growing, the grass still needs to have light and thus, Gary has to keep the roof open until that happens.

The amount of snow that falls also plays a role in the care of the field–and also factors into how busy the Grounds Crew gets during the offseason because the Grounds Crew is also responsible for all snow removal around the grounds, including the concourses and parking lots for employees and year-round venues like Friday’s Front Row and the Brewers Team Store by Majestic.  

When they’re not braving the elements, the Grounds Crew has some administrative tasks to take care of, from hiring their next crop of interns to ordering and storing all of the products to be used during the 2010 season.

Gary is also looking forward to attending the Sports Turf Management Association Conference in January, where he’ll have the opportunity to get together with other Major League Baseball groundskeepers for three days and discuss things that are happening around the League. 

Before he knows it, it’s time for the season to start again.

“We have exhibition games this year, so it is always a little more difficult. The grass in Wisconsin doesn’t like to be played on too early. It’s just too cold. It’s hard to get the ground temperatures up to where the grass will start to grow again. Part of what these covers do is help me prepare for the spring,” Gary said.

Gary says that each year, he also meets with the Manager because every Manager wants to run the field a different way. Gary takes his cue on how to prepare the field based on what the Manager wants to do. 

“Some Managers want the grass a little longer and some a little shorter. Some want the area in front of home plate a little harder or a little softer. Those are all things that we have the ability to change and still stay within the rules. ”

As for current Brewers Manager Ken Macha?

“Ken is the one of the easiest I’ve had to work with. I don’t remember him saying much to me about the field last year at all. For him, he wants the players to be comfortable when they’re out here playing and as long as they’re happy, I think he’s okay with it,” Gary said.

After we finished up our interview, I stuck around to take some photographs and even tried my hand at helping the Grounds Crew by placing a few sandbags.

Thumbnail image for Caitlin.JPGI figured out rather quickly that I’m more cut out for Marketing–those bags are heavy!  I returned to my desk and my “real job,” feeling very glad that I don’t have to do heavy-lifting or be exposed to the elements on a daily basis, especially on a chilly November morning like today. I will definitely leave all of that to the pros!

At lunchtime, I went back out to check on their progress and the quick-working Grounds Crew was already finished.  

Thumbnail image for Put to Bed.JPGThe field has officially been put to bed for 2009. 

“This has been one of the busier offseasons we’ve had,” Gary said to me during our time together. I would have to agree. Not just for Grounds Crew, but for Marketing and the entire organization. And it’s only November.

Stay tuned for the next installment of “There is No Offseason for…” and have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Is there someone you’d like to see profiled in this feature?  E-mail us at

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