Alumni News - Spring 2014

Ed Kiernan Named to Sports Business Journal’s 40 Under 40

Mount Union graduate Ed Kiernan ’96, President and founding partner of Engine Shop, was honored as one of Sports Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 for 2014.

According to, the awards program was initiated in 1999 to identify and honor the most promising young executives in sports business under the age of 40. The program took place March 20 in Dana Point, CA.

Kiernan, who majored in sports management and international business at Mount Union, started Engine Shop in 2012 with partners Brian Gordon, Ryan Schinman and Chris Handy with the idea of combining contacts in sports, music and entertainment. Before Engine Shop, he held the position of Senior Vice President, Sports at GMR Marketing, working on global sports accounts and other agency sports, entertainment and music business.

The East Palestine, OH native credits his experience at Mount Union for keeping him from getting lost in the shuffle of larger institutions with its close-knit, small college feel. While at Mount Union, he interned with Championship Management Company and was a brother of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

While at Mount Union, Kiernan enjoyed learning from Dr. James Thoma, professor of Human Performance and Sports Business, and Dr. Mary Ellen Lloyd, professor emeritus of accounting. He also gained experience working part time for Championship Management Company.

“I have a lot of gratitude for both Dr. James Thoma and Dr. Mary Ellen Lloyd,” he said. “Both of them took a special interest in me and helped me to navigate Mount Union during my freshman and sophomore years.”

Kiernan worked his first job after Mount Union as the director of global operations for the PGA Tour’s Championship Management Company, where he met one of the tournament’s past champions, PGA Tour Professional and entrepreneur, Peter Jacobsen.

“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.”

The relationship led him to work for Peter Jacobsen Sports. At 26 years old, Kiernan led the golf agency into consulting, working on accounts for Nike, Bank of America, CVS/Pharmacy, Lexus, Red Bull and Ketel One Vodka, among others.

After many successes working for agencies, Kiernan decided to make a career change, founding Engine Shop.

“Any time you start something new, it’s a risky move, but I felt like it was a calculated risk,” said Kiernan. “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.

By the end of the first year, he had attracted a client list that included Johnson & Johnson, Mercedes-Benz, Tiffany & Company, Budweiser and Omega. In two years, Engine Shop has grown to 85 employees with eight offices nationwide who work on a variety of large scale initiatives, including ESPN’s annual 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.”

Kiernan is married to Michele and the couple has two children – Eddie III, 10; and Brady, 2.

Kiernan is the second Mount Union alum in two years to be named to Sport Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. In 2013, Brent Stehlik ’99, executive vice president-chief revenue officer for the Cleveland Browns, was named to the list.

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