Meet the 2017 Young Professional of Year Award Nominees: Brian Sipe
Brian Russell Sipe was raised in Hershey, PA. At the young age of 8, Brian realized his love for many different facets of entertainment. Brian credits his parents, Terry and Debra Sipe, for instilling his love of live music by taking him to his first concert, George Jones, at the HersheyPark Arena. His first job was at HersheyPark working as a costume character. He eventually became an intern and, at the age of 15, began his career assisting in the production of concerts at the Amphitheater including such acts as Captain & Tennille, Rascal Flatts, Neil Sedaka and David Cassidy. He is a lifelong fan of WWE and has had the privilege of attending over 100 Broadway shows. Brian’s first license plate read “tina fan” referencing his love for the greatest Rock & Roller of all time, Ms. Tina Turner. He has always been a fan of music, sports and live entertainment. Brian is married to Kaitlyn (Bush) Sipe who is a first grade teacher. He also is the proud dad of Kooshball, his 11 year old Bichon/Shih Tzu mix. Brian and Kaitlyn are avid Disney fans and enjoy traveling to Disneyworld as often as possible. They appreciate concerts of all genres from Garth Brooks to The Rolling Stones to Donny and Marie Osmond.
Brian’s early days in the Chocolate City took him to his first Full-Time position as a Box Office Manager at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, NJ. For two years he assisted with the ticketing for all Trenton Devils hockey games as well as concerts and family shows. Knowing he wanted to learn more about the booking process of entertainment, Brian accepted a job as the Booking and Box Office Manager at the SMG-managed Sovereign Center in Reading, PA. Learning from his professional mentor Zane Collings, Brian, at the age of 27, was offered and accepted the role of General Manager of the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, WV. During his four years in Huntington, The Big Sandy was nominated twice for the Academy of Country Music Venue of the Year award competing against the Grand Ole Opry and the Red Rocks Amphitheatre among others. Brian was also recognized by his peers with the Generation Next Award from Venues Today Magazine in 2013.
Returning to his home state of Pennsylvania in October 2014, Brian was ecstatic to be in Wilkes-Barre, hoping to continue to the success of the 18 year old Mohegan Sun Arena. Under the leadership of the Luzerne Country Convention Center Authority, Brian has been able to oversee $4.5 million of construction including the long awaited paving of the Arena parking lot, the installation of acoustical panels, the installation of a brand new ice-rink, and the construction of a private club bar. In his tenure as General Manager, the Arena has recorded its fastest sell-out with a Blake Shelton concert, gone world-wide on television with two back-to-back sold out WWE events, and hosted one of the final Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus events. Brian has created a working relationship with local and state organizations such as the Convention and Visitors Bureau, PIAA Basketball and the PA Jr Wrestling Tournament Committee. He is also proud to have partnered, for the first time in the venue’s history, with the F.M. Kirby Center to co-promote rock legend Bryan Adams this past June. During Sipe’s time as General Manager, the Arena has always been among the Top 200 Arenas World-Wide list from Pollstar Magazine. Among Pennsylvania venues, Mohegan Sun Arena trailed only behind Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and State College last year.
Brian is a member of Mountain Top Rotary and Harvest Bible Chapel in Conyngham. He also has a professional voting membership in the Country Music Association, International Association of Venue Managers, Academy of Country Music, and International Entertainment Buyers Association. One of Brian’s favorite things to do is make his annual trip to his alma mater, Elizabethtown College, to speak to current students interested in the sports or entertainment business. Brian credits any success he has to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Q: What does being a business or community leader mean to you?
A: I believe in leading by example. I strive to promote continuous growth, not solely for myself but in the ability to strengthen and support my team. I would like to think that my management style is similar to Jack Welch’s (former CEO of General Electric) 5 Traits of Leadership:
a. positive energy - the capacity to go-go-go with healthy vigor and an upbeat attitude through good times and bad
b. the ability to energize others - releasing their positive energy, to take any hill
c. have edge - the ability to make tough calls, to say yes or no, not maybe
d. the talent to execute - very simply, get things done
e. leaders have passion - they care deeply. They sweat; they believe
Q: What advice would you give to young professionals in Greater Wilkes-Barre who want to have a positive impact on the community?
A: I would encourage young professionals to enroll in Leadership Wilkes-Barre courses. The course has allowed me the opportunity to network and learn about the great area in which we live and work. As a new resident it has provided me, through my abilities and passion, the confidence and knowledge on how I can play a part in the continued success of our region.