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About PIVOT

Frankly speaking, our team is a group of hard-working, engaging, passionate people with the goal to guide our clients to success, however they define it. We are a close-knit company because we know that collaboration is key and together we hit the right balance of creativity, strategy, and grit.

Get to know us. Click on a photo.

Ben Shapiro

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Ben Shapiro launched PIVOT Agency after 12 years as an executive with the Golden State Warriors and upon discovering a preference for the dynamism of start-up culture over corporate employment. While with the Warriors, Ben was recognized with 12 NBA Awards for his production efforts and 100%+ revenue increases in the areas of group sales, suite sales, season ticket sales, and sponsorships. He also led point on brokering Gold Alliance sponsorship agreements with Visa, Clorox, Kaiser Permanente and Jawbone. And it’s this experience that has allowed Ben to strategically developed PIVOT into a reputable, full-service agency over the last 4 years. As leader of the company, Ben is an example of hustle and passion that inspires the whole team. He guides the company’s strategic direction and works closely with each department to ensure success at every turn.

While PIVOT services clients throughout the continental U.S., Ben has ensured PIVOT maintain a focused commitment to the Bay Area community since its inception. From partnering with Bay Area clients that service the community to recruiting at local colleges and universities, PIVOT proudly represents the Bay. Most recently, Ben led the charge in PIVOT raising over $150,000 in donations for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, naming Ben “Man of the Year” of the Monterey Bay Chapter. Suffice it to say, giving back to the community has always been a priority of Ben’s and one that is engrained in the fabric of PIVOT culture. With the recent move to Walnut Creek, Ben plans to continue this commitment and already has charitable fundraising plans in motion.

Coming from an entrepreneurial family, the ambition to start his own agency developed even in the nascent stages of Ben’s career. When time came to launch, he knew success was in the cards, but not without herculean effort and the support and patience of his family. Looking back at the start of his venture, armed with limited resources and a young, yet driven, staff, Ben considers the evolution of PIVOT into a thriving agency his greatest professional achievement.

Outside of the office Ben is a husband to Sarah Shapiro and father to daughter Abby and son Noah.

Favorite Sports Moment: The Warriors: We Believe – During the 2007 NBA Playoffs the Warriors became the first 8 seed team to ever beat a 1 seed team.

 

Patrick Cassidy

Executive Vice President, Properties

Patrick brings almost 20 years of professional sports experience to PIVOT. Having served in multiple capacities during his career, he leads PIVOT’s Sports Property division. Pat is a passionate teammate, creative advocate and true believer in the dynamic and powerful message that can be delivered to fans through sports.

Pat’s leads the further development of PIVOT’s Property Sales division including the representation of teams, properties, players and brands in the negotiation of sponsorship agreements. During his tenure in the NBA & MLB, he sold seven figure partnerships, founding partnerships in addition to naming rights agreements with companies including Visa, Esurance, Jawbone, Oracle, Travis Credit Union and Google. After spending more than 8 years with the Golden State Warriors overseeing sponsorships and premium seating, Pat most recently partnered in a new venture catering design focused and custom furniture to tech firms and sports venues. Clients include Airbnb, Levi’s Stadium, the Golden State Warriors, Publicis Groupe, Salesforce and the RealReal.

Pat has coined the hashtag #tallguyproblems as his 6’7 frame travels around the country. Pat resides in Alameda with his three kids and wife.

Brian Hastings

Vice President, Business Development

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Brian joined the PIVOT team with fifteen years of media, sports marketing and sponsorship experience. A graduate of San Jose State University, Brian also spent time studying global marketing at London’s Middlesex University. After college, Brian began his sales career selling radio and broadcast TV. After a very successful five year run at the Bay Area’s KTVU Fox 2, Brian was hired on to the San Francisco Giants as the senior manager of media sales. In that role, Brian was not only accountable for closing sponsorship and naming rights deals, but growing the teams media sales including digital, general market and Hispanic radio sales. After the Giants, Brian became the Director of Corporate Sponsorship for the Sacramento Kings as they transitioned into the Golden 1 Center.

Brian is a passionate believer in the power of sponsorships and sports marketing. His clients love working with him because of the honesty and transparency he brings to the negotiation process. His love of sports is second only to his love of family with his wife Kim and daughter Madison. In fact, his daughter was named in honor of Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.

Christi Manbeck

Director, Business Operations

Christi relocated to San Francisco in 2013 after 23 years in central Germany. There she spent the majority of her career applying her business acumen to various roles within the finance industry. Christi joined PIVOT in 2017 as the Business Operations Manager.  Though a competitive athlete and sports enthusiast throughout her life, this is Christi’s first foray into the world of sports and entertainment marketing. “Hella” excited about this recent career change, Christi views her new role as the perfect opportunity to combine her lifelong love of sports with her business development experience.

Favorite Sports Moment: Germany’s 2014 World Cup Final win over Argentina…obviously.

Tyler Wengert

Manager, Business Development

Tyler is a Brand Development & Intelligence Gathering Specialist with experience in delivering results for C-level Executives in Professional Sports, Fortune 500, Startup and Government Enterprises both Domestically and Internationally. Before Pivot, Tyler Co-Founded Gameplan Sports and Entertainment – a media, entertainment & sports merchant bank. In addition to being a General Partner of Gameplan, he lead the Esports Division where he maintained essential partnerships and relationship with key personnel in the Esports realm globally, lead research while consistently monitoring emerging markets of new technologies and served as a consultant and advisor to endemic and non-endemic corporate sponsorship opportunities as well as Professional Sports Franchise owners.

Favorite Sports Moment: 2007 NBA Western Conference Playoffs when Baron Davis introduced himself to Andrei Kirilenko with one of the most vicious dunks in NBA History.

Chris Mullin Jr.

Inside Sales Representative

Chris is a recent graduate of the University of St. John’s in New York where he earned a degree in Sports Management. While in New York, he worked alongside the Head Coach of the St. John’s Men’s Basketball Team as an Executive Assistant in charge of daily operations. Chris grew up in the world of professional basketball and knew at a young age he wanted to work in the sports industry.

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Chris spent most of his life playing basketball,  including at the college level, for Loyola Marymount University, before moving to the East Coast. He spends most of his free time either traveling or attending sporting events.

Favorite Sports Moment: St. John’s 2018 defeat of Duke University at Madison Square Garden, after an 11 game losing streak. Let’s hear it for the Red Storm!

Simon Nicholls

Chief Financial Officer

Simon is an experienced executive director, with over 25 years of experience in international business including 10 years as CFO of two UK public companies with significant operations in the US in the Aerospace & Defence industry. He is a UK Chartered Accountant. 

Simon has a global track record in both rapid growth and distressed situations. As well as being CFO of Pivot, he currently advises a portfolio of small and medium sized businesses on how to improve operational and financial performance to create value for all stakeholders over the long-term.

His approach is to review, agree and, if necessary, refocus strategy to drive improvements in the Five Pillars of Value creation (growth, profits, cash, return on capital and governance). He then utilizes his commercial and operational business skills to formulate and execute the actions necessary to create tangible additional value.  This drives the business improvement agenda increasing profit, freeing up cash, improving cash conversion, and optimising return on capital to enable Value Creation through sustained business recovery and/or optimal delivery of growth opportunities. He sees best in class governance (including effective Enterprise Risk Management) as one of the five key pillars of true value creation, a subject he is truly passionate about. Simon is bringing these skills to bear at Pivot, to support the sustainable long-term growth of the company and realization of the management team’s vision.

Simon is a big sports fan.  He played rugby competitively in the UK and Canada for over 20 years and is now a keen golfer and surfer.  He also skis and plays occasional tennis.  He is an avid sports spectator and a big fan of NFL and the Buffalo Bills, having lived and worked in Toronto in the early 1990’s. 

Elliot Bloom

Vice President, Tennis Hospitality & Experiences

Bloom comes to PIVOT with extensive sales and sales operations experience which include time with sports medicine manufacturer, Bauerfeind, and recently led a team to over $100,000,000 in sales in the highly competitive hospital operating room capital equipment arena. In addition, Bloom is a former Northern California junior tennis standout, a 2-time collegiate captain and 2-time MVP for University of the Pacific Men’s Tennis Team where he played both No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles.

Elliot graduated from the University of the Pacific, where he received his BA and Masters. He  resides in Alamo, California and is a member of Round Hill Country Club, where he continues to play tennis.  He is married to Lisa and has a daughter Jenna, who is a Junior at Cal Poly SLO, and son Griffin, who is a senior in high school.

Aaron Kulik

Vice President, Strategy

Aaron brings over a decade of business development and partnership experience in sports and entertainment. Having started his career with AEG and the LA Kings, Aaron quickly developed a passion for using the excitement of live events to help drive business opportunities for his partners. After establishing himself as a leader in corporate development and driving new revenue, Aaron helped lead sales efforts behind the LA Kings first ever Stanley Cup and the opening of LA Live. After 7 years at AEG, Aaron was able to transition to prominent business development roles with both the PGA Tour and the Pac-12 Networks, gaining additional expertise in event sponsorships as well both TV and digital media. Now with PIVOT, Aaron looks forward to driving new partnership and revenue opportunities for our existing properties, as well as growing our brand and sports property portfolio.

Favorite Sports Moment: Being part of the LA Kings first ever NHL Championship and getting to celebrate on the ice with the Stanley Cup.

Celeste Ahlbrandt

Travel, Team Manager
 

Celeste joins PIVOT with six years of experience in the hotel operations and event planning industry. She began her career with MGM Resorts International in hotel management, followed by convention services. She has extensive operations knowledge and a wealth of experience planning and executing successful events. In her previous roles, she was given the opportunity to work with a diverse clientele, including several NBA teams during Summer League. With keen attention to detail, she excels at logistics and is adept to responding quickly to the ever-changing circumstances of the industry.
Celeste looks forward to merging her passions of event planning and sports together in her new role.
Residing in Las Vegas, Celeste enjoys spending her time outdoors, in the gym, or cheering on The Vegas Golden Knights. (Go Knights Go!)

Brentley Weissman

Account Executive, Property 

Brentley joins PIVOT with 6 years of experience in Player Personnel & Operations for numerous NFL and College Football programs, including the Oregon Ducks, UCLA Bruins, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots. His most recent position was as a scout for the Los Angeles Chargers. Throughout his career in football, Brentley has become very familiar with the operations of player personnel and the importance of building long-lasting relationships in the industry. 

A lover of all sports, Brentley gets his passion for sports from his mom, a diehard sports fan, who took him to football games and many, many other sporting events throughout his childhood. 

Brentley is from Winters, a small town in Northern California, and is excited to join PIVOT’s Property Team, as he looks forward to a new challenge and opportunity.

Favorite Sports Moment: Oregon beating FSU in the 2014 Rose Bowl, giving “us” a chance to play in the National Championship against Ohio State. Go Ducks!

Emily Holland

Operations Coordinator

Emily joins PIVOT after three years of experience in D1 College Baseball Operations. Her most recent position was Director of Baseball Operations for University of California- Santa Barbara. During her time at UCSB, the team broke numerous school records and had the 4th largest draft class for the 2019 MLB Draft.

Born and raised in the Greater Seattle Area, she found her passion for sports in rowing. She was a rower for 4 years in high school, competing and recognized at multiple national level competitions and carried her rowing success to the college level at Loyola Marymount University.

Emily completed her master’s degree in Sports Management at the University of Washington- while also working for the Tacoma Rainiers and UW Baseball.

Favorite Sports Moment: UCSB Baseball winning the first Big West title in 33 years!

Andy Silver

Executive Vice President

Andy Silver is a sports and entertainment marketing and media expert who has worked for some of the world’s most dynamic brands, properties and agencies throughout his 20+ year career.

Career highlights include the negotiation and strategic brand planning for some of the largest global sports deals including;

  • Ten (10) USOC and IOC (TOP) Olympic sponsor and supplier agreements
  • Allstate Sugar Bowl and BCS and CFP sponsorships
  • T-Mobile Arena naming rights (representing T-Mobile)
  • Hard Rock Stadium naming rights (representing Hard Rock International and the Seminole Indian Tribe)
  • Allstate Arena naming rights (representing Allstate Insurance)
  • Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
  • Allstate Football Net Program featuring over eighty (80) Division I Universities
  • Hundreds of other athlete, NHL, MLB, NBA, SUM and NFL league, college, motorsports and team relationships

Andy started his career as a City of Chicago prosecuting attorney whose desire to work in sports led him to Frankel (Publicis) where he worked with Olympic clients including Kodak, Visa and McDonald’s. His Olympic work led to a position with the US Olympic Committee where Andy led sponsor servicing out of Colorado Springs.

Soon after the Olympics, Andy helped start a boutique Olympic sponsorship agency that was soon sold to industry behemoth IMG where he won new client business and devised sports and entertainment strategies for clients such as Allstate Insurance, Kimberly Clark, Chobani Yogurt, Brown Forman Wines, Campbell’s Soup and other brands in his fourteen (14) year role as Vice President of Corporate Consulting and Legal Affairs.

After the WME/IMG acquisition, Andy left WME/IMG to join Genesco Sports Enterprises as an SVP where he led the Hard Rock, T-Mobile and MillerCoors accounts and led business and personnel development for the Chicago office.

Most recently Andy has joined Pivot where he hopes to provide world class sports and entertainment marketing counsel to Pivot’s clients without the overhead and fees of larger agencies.

Travis Wade

Vice President, Travel
C: 210.218.3744 E. travis@pivot-agency.com

Travis comes to PIVOT with six years of experience in the NBA working for the San Antonio Spurs. With an extensive understanding of everything operations-related from a team side, he is now set to lead PIVOT’s Travel division. Travis is a creative and resourceful leader with proven success implementing effective processes in highly competitive environments while maintaining interpersonal relationships.

An enthusiast of all things outdoors, Travis is a gardening guru who also enjoys a wide range of sports including ping pong and shuffleboard. Travis graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio and still resides in the Alamo City with his wife Samantha and their Golden Doodle, Beau.

Josh Schwartz

Senior Director 

Josh Schwartz has enjoyed a 22-year career in the Sports Industry, working on high profile projects and with top tier global athletes on their marketing and promotional activities.

Josh started working for a boutique agency Integrated Sports International in the late ’90s where he helped steer the careers of Steve Young, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Isiah Thomas. 

Additionally, during that time Josh also worked with numerous teams on sponsorship sales and naming rights partnerships, brands for consulting and merchandising projects.

ISI was sold to the SFX Sports Group where Josh worked on marketing efforts for the likes of David Beckham, Kobe Bryant, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, as well as tennis events like the US Open, and the DC ATP Tournament.

After SFX, Josh went on to start his own company Evolution where the business grew to over 75 clients. During that time, Evolution represented several Olympic Gold Medalists and formed partnerships with a multitude of brands, TV networks, and agencies. In all, Josh has worked with over 30 Olympic athletes who have collected a total of 71 medals, 44 being Gold.

Josh graduated from Vanderbilt University and currently resides in Mill Valley with his wife Carolyn, two kids Gavin and Henry, and his Water Dog Monty.

Brandon Locke

Finance Operations Manager, Travel

Brandon joins PIVOT with four years of experience in the sports and hospitality industries, having served as an accountant for the San Antonio Spurs as well as Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio.  His experience includes compiling and analyzing financial statements, budgeting and forecasting, and process development and improvement. In his new role, Brandon will be combining his passion for sports with his expertise in the finance world to provide first class service to PIVOT clients.

Brandon, an avid golfer, graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a degree in Accounting.  He resides in San Antonio with his wife, Beverly, and their rescue animals Meme, Ari, and Bentley.

Daniel Wilson

Inside Sales Representative

Daniel is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon, where he studied Business Administration with an emphasis in Sports Marketing. He gained experience in the industry by interning at a sports radio station during his time in London, UK. Daniel plans on bringing the knowledge he gained from his time abroad and his collegiate courses to help contribute to PIVOT’s ongoing success.

Daniel is a Bay Area native, growing up right down the street from PIVOT’s headquarters in Walnut Creek. He played baseball for one of the local high schools, Monte Vista, helping lead them to a league championship. He is a diehard Oakland A’s and Raiders fan, struggling through rebuild after rebuild. On weekends, Daniel loves to read and he  continues to play sports recreationally with his friends, especially golf and basketball, and during the winter, he loves to drive up to Tahoe to snowboard with his friends and family.

Our Story

In 2013, PIVOT was founded by Ben Shapiro as a sports and entertainment agency. The idea behind PIVOT stemmed from the complex and fast-changing landscape of sports and entertainment sponsorship. Over the 25 years Shapiro spent in the sports sponsorship industry, the 12 with the Golden State Warriors, he continued to see recurring frustration, confusion and a wide range of price points for comparable assets. PIVOT was created as an aid to both properties and brands to simplify the overly complicated landscape, while creating a more even playing field for pricing and allowing a more transparent negotiation process. By transforming and streamlining the negotiating process, PIVOT lends its clients more time to focus on their marketing platforms, creative executions and advertising opportunities presented by the hyper-sensitive and acutely aware customers we call fans. During its inception, PIVOT also saw an opportunity to simplify team travel for professional teams and large events, creating a third business vertical within the company. By offering a free 360 degree travel service, PIVOT ensures teams receive money back from their many stays throughout the season. Today, PIVOT continues to serve on those three pillars for brands looking to capitalize on fan passion, properties interested in expanding their sponsorship relationships, and teams and events looking to have their travel operation streamlined.

Who We Are

 

 

To create a lineup that is effective at both the number one spot and the ninth spot you need depth, versatility and a wide range of super powers that are called upon at different times. The team here at PIVOT represents just that. From Maine to Wisconsin to Germany, the people that make up PIVOT extend from all over the world and have clocked a wide range of experience both in and out of sports and entertainment. What the team has in common is the want to deliver high-quality service to their clients as they act as an extension of them.

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