SBJ/March 10-16, 2014/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40: Ed Kiernan

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ENGINE SHOP

Ed
Kiernan

Company: Engine Shop
Title: President, founding partner
Age: 40 (turned 40 last Thursday)
Where born: Hackensack, N.J.
Education: University of Mount Union (B.A., sports business, and B.A., international business)
Career background: Before Engine Shop, Championship Management Co.: director, global operations; Canon Greater Hartford Open: executive tournament director; Pro Links Sports: VP, Southeast operations; Peter Jacobsen Sports: EVP, CMO/partner; GMR Marketing: SVP
Family: Wife, Michele; sons Eddie III (Tripp) (10) and Brady (2)

Favorite apps: WatchESPN, New York Post, HBO Go, PGA Tour, Delta Air Lines, Uber, RideLinQ.
Favorite way to unwind: Bottle of Oregon pinot by the fireplace with my family at our weekend home in Ohio.
Person in the industry I’d most like to meet: Kevin Plank.
I have a fear of … : Michigan beating Ohio State every November in The Game. OH-!.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Scuba diving with sharks in the Cayman Islands.
2014 will be a good year if … : The New York Jets make the playoffs.

Ed Kiernan was in a perfectly stable position at GMR Marketing, working on golf accounts and other agency business, when he took his biggest career-oriented leap of faith.

Kiernan, along with partners Brian Gordon, Ryan Schinman and Chris Handy, started an agency in 2012 called Engine Shop in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. The idea was to combine Kiernan’s contacts in the sports world with contacts Gordon and Schinman had made in music and entertainment.

“Any time you start something new, it’s a risky move, but I felt like it was a calculated risk,” said Kiernan, president of Engine Shop. “I believe in stacking the deck with a diverse group of the right people that complement both my strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes you have to trust your gut, and it ended up being the best thing I’ve ever done.”

By the end of the first year, he had attracted a client list that included Johnson & Johnson, Mercedes-Benz and Omega. In two years, Engine Shop has grown to 75 employees who work on a variety of initiatives, including ESPN’s Super Bowl party.

“You just get to a point in life where you want to work with people that you really enjoy and trust,” Kiernan said. “Over the years, I just figured out that I wanted to do my own thing.”

SBJ Podcast:
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.

In Kiernan’s earlier days, one of his positions was as tournament director for the PGA Tour event in Hartford, Conn. One of the tournament’s past champions was Peter Jacobsen, and they struck a relationship that led to a job for Kiernan at Peter Jacobsen Sports. He was 26 years old at the time, and he led the golf agency into consulting, ultimately working on accounts for CVS Pharmacy, Lexus, Red Bull and Ketel One, among others.

“Peter is such a great relationship person,” Kiernan said. “He entrusted me to take the agency and grow it, and it proved to be an invaluable experience. I mean it when I say that I wouldn’t be here now without him.”

— Michael Smith

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