Big Sandy Superstore Arena
Brian Sipe found his passion early in life.
The Hershey, Pa. native worked part time as a box office ticket seller in high school and through college.
"That experience is what made me fall in love with the entertainment business," Sipe said.
He graduated from Elizabethtown College outside Harrisburg, Pa. in 2005 with a double major in business and communications.
He took work as the box office manager at the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, N.J., and then, in 2008, as both booking and box office manager at the SMG-managed Sovereign Center in Reading, Pa.
In 2010, SMG needed a general manager at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, and Sipe was among those considered for the position.
"I visited Huntingon and thought it was great," Sipe said.
"Trenton and Reading had not really built up their downtowns around the arenas and Huntington had, and I was really impressed," he said. "I drove by Marshall (University) first and then downtown and thought it was a great-looking city."
He's been managing the arena ever since.
"The thing I love about my job, despite the hours and despite working on weekends, is when I go out into the arena and there are thousands of people having a great time," he said.
"With all that's going on in the world, people forget their worries for two or three hours," he said. "I work at a place that people pay to come and have a good time."
Under Sipe's management, the Big Sandy was ranked among the top venues in the world in 2012 by the international trade magazine Venues Today. The arena boasted four sold-out shows in 2012 and, this year, Sipe has been named Venues Today's Generation Next Reader's Choice award winner. The award honors young professionals worldwide under the age of 35 who make a difference in sports, music, conventions, family shows, fairs and festivals.
Sipe gives time to the Huntington Rotary Club and the Huntington Downtown Lions Club, and he chairs the Community Development Committee for the Huntington Young Professionals Committee of the Chamber of Commerce.