Richard Andersen insists that he was in the right place at the right time when he got his start working for the Atlanta Braves in the late 70s. He had dropped out of college and was working odd jobs, including a gig at IBM, in an office as a dispatcher, and selling insurance door-to-door.
“I hadn’t found that ‘do what you love, love what you do’ situation yet,” he told Amplify.
Even though he had grown up watching sports, he had never thought of having a career in it. That is, until a friend who worked for the Braves told him about a job opening there.
“I made up a resume, submitted it, and they didn’t get back to me,” Richard said. What he didn’t realize at the time is that in baseball, they hire new people at the end of the year to prepare for the next season. He was surprised with a call a few months later.
“I don’t think I was the best person for the job, but I was the only person that was interested,” he said. “I had no experience and there were no sports management programs back then.”
After being hired on in March 1977, Richard was even more surprised to find out that his boss was one of his favorite baseball players, all-time home run king and Hall-of-Famer, Hank Aaron.
“[Meeting Hank] was maybe the most scared I’ve ever been in my life,” Richard said. “He’s a super guy, just one of the best people I ever worked for.”
After just one week on the job, Richard was hooked on the energy of it.
“I just knew that it was meant for me,” he said. “[During the first year] I pretty much did it all. I drove the team bus, helped cook and serve the hot dogs, cut the grass, designed/sold the promotions, and even wrestled a bear.”
By the time he was 27, he had been promoted to a Triple-A Manager in the Braves Organization. Since then, Richard got his MBA and has worked with the Florida Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates and, most recently, the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. In October, he was appointed the President and CEO of Seafair, a community events organization in Seattle and couldn’t be more excited about it.
“I love it,” he said. “As they say, I’m drinking from the fire hose. I’m learning a lot everyday, and we got a cool organization. Our COO, David [Willis], who was a longtime Ticketmaster Executive, was on the Seafair board for awhile before and is super smart and has a great heart.”
While Richard’s new job is keeping him on his toes, we asked him to reminisce about five of his favorite shows of all time. Check them out below.
Paul Revere & the Raiders in Jacksonville, 1964
This was my first concert. I went with my best friend at the time, Bill Hurley. It was hard to hear the band because all the girls were screaming so loud.
Allman Brothers Band in Macon, Ga., 1970
I saw them multiple times with college buddies – I went to Mercer University in Macon which is where [the band] lived. It was simply amazing to hear a band that played a mix of what I would call Blues and Jazz, with two drummers and two lead guitarists (and one was Duane Allman). Sadly, I also attended Duane’s funeral. My love for the band and their music lasted a good bit longer than my college career.
The Rolling Stones in Miami, 1994
By this time, I had become President of Joe Robbie Stadium. We hosted a live version of the VooDoo Lounge Tour, which was also taped for an HBO Special. The band played an acoustic version of “Angie” which might be the best live track I have ever heard.
BB King and Tedeschi Trucks Band at Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, 2013
Thanks to industry friend and icon Paul Davis, Kim Bedier and I were able to see one of the greats live. The bonus was seeing Tedeschi Trucks Band, which in many ways is a younger version of BB and his band. And the double bonus was that Duane Trucks is the nephew of Duane Allman.
Jeremy Davenport in New Orleans, 2013
Maybe he’s not known by as many people, but Jeremy is masterful at playing trumpet and singing soulful jazz. A throwback to the best of the 1940s crooners, his music is filled with a great beat (even I loved dancing to it) and his lyrics are fun and deeply thoughtful.
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