Garfinkel spent the last four years with the San Diego Padres serving as President and Chief Operating Officer from April of 2009 through April of 2012 before being named CEO. He replaces Mike Dee, who took over Garfinkel’s old post with the Padres last month.
Prior to meeting the Dolphins’ staff, Garfinkel took some time to answer a few questions from Dolphins.com:
Q: How excited are you to get this opportunity with the Dolphins?
A: I feel very fortunate and feel like it’s the job I’ve been preparing for my whole career. A few things became glaringly evident to me during the process, which made the position the right fit for me. First, Steve Ross is a rare combination of tenacity and heart/integrity. He cares a lot about people, about doing things the right way, and about winning. Matt Higgins is a brilliant thinker with big ideas who also treats people the right way and cares deeply about the success of the organization and the people in it. I think we share a lot of the same values and judgment, yet we have complementary skill sets in a lot of ways. I also had a chance to meet Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin in the process, and these are two committed leaders with a tireless work ethic and great character. Being the CEO of the Miami Dolphins is an incredible opportunity for any sports executive, but it’s especially exciting for me to be able to work with all of these individuals in the dynamic and stimulating environment they are creating.
Q: What is your vision for the Miami Dolphins?
A: The goal moving forward is clear – to build a truly great, first-class organization that earns the support of Dolphins fans and earns the respect of its peers and competitors on and off the field – not only because of what is accomplished, but because of how it is accomplished as well.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your background and what you consider your strengths?
A: I’ve been very fortunate to have great mentors in my career, many of whom were CEOs of successful organizations. I’ve learned a lot, including to never think you know everything and to never stop learning. I’m motivated by the idea of building something great together with people I trust and respect, and I think having a fan-centric and team-before-self mindset is a strength.
Q: What are the parallels between baseball and football that will assist your transition to your new role?
A: One thing they have in common for sure is fans. Focusing on fan needs and service and improving every aspect of how they interact with all things Dolphins will be a priority. I think the other main thing all sports teams have in common is that we compete to win. First and foremost, I believe the Dolphins need to be about winning football. Everyone in the organization, including me, is here to support Jeff and Joe, their staffs, and the players. We need to make sure they have the resources and freedom to do their jobs and go win football games. Fans don’t come out to see guys in suits and ties, they come out to see players competing to win.
Q: What do you see in this fan base? What can they expect to see from you?
A: I look forward to meeting Dolphins fans and hearing what they have to say. This is a team with a rich history and tradition and fans should expect to see us continue to celebrate that while linking it to a successful future. I think they can expect me to be open and accessible.