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Volume 21 No. 2
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Forty Under 40


The dot-com bubble may have been the best thing that happened to Adam Lippard personally and professionally.

Personally, it gave him an excuse to leave his job with the Orlando Magic and relocate to the Bay Area to work on the sports startup

Professionally, its burst in 2001 put him out of work at the same time GMR Marketing needed someone to manage Intel’s recent title sponsorship of a domestic concert tour.

“The dot-com boom and bust rewarded failure in an odd way,” Lippard said. “People saw the desire and attempt to do something new, so even though the business failed, it worked out well for me.”

Lippard now has been in San Francisco for more than a decade, working for GMR nearly just as long. As general manager of the agency’s Bay Area office, he has played a critical role in expanding its staff from three to 25 employees and its client base from Intel to Electronic Arts, Hewlett-Packard and Visa.

“He’s allowed us to make meaningful relationships with properties, clients and prospects,” said Mike Boykin, GMR’s executive vice president of sports. “He’s passionate about sports, but he’s more passionate about delivering for clients, and they pick that up when they talk to him.”

The San Francisco office Lippard manages has gradually expanded its work with Visa from handling Olympic rights approvals and hospitality to touching every piece of its work on the Olympics, from evaluating properties to developing activation to securing athletes. He was critical to developing a plan around the Vancouver Games that put Visa at point-of-sale at hundreds of retailers citywide.

“The Visa team was impressed with the thinking and equally impressed with the execution,” said Matt Kauffman, Visa’s senior business leader of global sponsorship. “It opened a new door to the agency that we had not been leveraging, and Adam was the point at pursuing these expanded opportunities.”

Age: 39
Titles: Vice president and general manager-San Francisco
COMPANY: GMR Marketing
Education: B.S., broadcast journalism, Syracuse University, 1993; master’s, sports administration, Ohio University, 1994
Family: Partner, Michael
Career: Orlando Magic, 1994-99;, 1999-2001; GMR Marketing, 2001-present
Last vacation: Sicily, Italy, over Christmas and New Year’s
What's on your iPod: Dust … I am hooked on Pandora and Sirius

Guilty pleasure: Ali G, Borat and Bruno
Best stress release: Going to the movies
Pet peeve: Poor grammar, especially the
question, “Where are you at?”
Greatest achievement: Finally finding
work/life balance
Greatest disappointment: The Houston Rockets’ 4-0 sweep of the Orlando Magic in the
1995 NBA Finals and Shaq’s eventual departure to
Los Angeles
Fantasy job: National Geographic helicopter pilot/photojournalist
Business advice: Seek out and work with
people you like and trust.