If you think Phil Castellini is the Reds' "other" Castellini, think again. The son of Reds owner and business magnate Bob Castellini has carved his own niche within the organization, and his influence is growing.

He joined the front office when his dad bought the franchise in 2006, was promoted to chief operations officer in January 2008 and is now responsible for all business and ballpark operations. Castellini has been instrumental in the expansion of Redsfest, the popular annual fan festival, and the Reds Community Fund, the team's charitable arm. His focus is making sure the team remains fiscally strong in a tough economy.

What's the difference between Phil Castellini "businessman" in 2006, when you joined the front office, and now?

I think the biggest change has been operating an organization that has such a public face. I never had anyone call me for an interview when I was running a warehouse company. We have to recognize that every fan, citizen and taxpayer feels engaged in one way or another. So I feel a bigger sense of responsibility with that.

What is your biggest challenge as COO of a Major League Baseball team?

The biggest challenge right now is to increase the season-ticket base and total attendance. That's where the biggest growth opportunity is.

Cincinnati has a love affair with its team, as you know. As a kid, were you a Reds fan?

I was a huge Reds fan. I grew up in the '70s. The Big Red Machine was my first team, so I was spoiled at an early age. I played first base and right field and was a lefty. I grew up playing pickle in the backyard, and Dad would hit fly balls to me as a kid. The ballfields were right by my house.

What has it been like working for your father through the years?

I don't know if I could have had a better opportunity of on-the-job training than under him and (Reds secretary) Chris Fister. It has never been a cakewalk, for sure. I never got a chewing out that I didn't deserve or learn from.

Is it fair to say you've had a unique, lifelong business education as his son?

Absolutely. I really did. Kind of a "school of hard knocks," so to speak.

At Babson College, did you ever think you would end up working in baseball or even working in Cincinnati?

Cincinnati, yes. Baseball wasn't necessarily on the radar.

Do you see yourself staying in baseball?

We have no plans to sell the team, so I plan on being engaged with the Reds for a very long time. Hopefully we can bring back the winning tradition and make it sustainable, so God willing, I plan on doing it a very long time.

After record attendance at Redsfest, what are your thoughts on its success and future?

It has got to a level where it's crowded, so we've talked about moving some of it to upstairs rooms (at the Duke Energy Center). We have been asked a lot about adding a third day, but I don't see it. It would tax the staff, and going up against Bengals games would be tough, so the plan is to continue to sustain it at this level.