Strickland ready to serve through servant leadership
By Toni Stauffer
Van Bradford Strickland, who almost everyone calls Brad, took over as entertainment coordinator for the Phenix City Parks and Recreation department after Rebecca Harris retired, after going through an application and interview process. Before the promotion to his current position, he worked as an assistant in Parks & Recreation for entertainment, athletics and concessions since 2016.
Strickland, 50, was born in Columbus but grew up in Albany. In 1986, he escaped small town life and has since worn many hats. Some of his more interesting jobs have been as a courier for a law firm, a camera man for WTVM, an audio engineer for WRBL, a bar and restaurant manager in the Virgin Islands and a chef at Grayton Beach in Florida; however, it was the 15 years he spent working with the Loft Entertainment Group in uptown Columbus as a talent buyer and manager, his knowledge and appreciation of music, and friends like Harris, that helped to bring him into a job where he can deliver amazing talent to a larger audience—the citizens of Phenix City and the surrounding area.
He recounted when he first went in to ask for a job for the radio station KISS FM in the late ‘80s, a station he’d listened to as a kid in Albany. Strickland said, “I put on a tie, went in and said, ‘Hey, can I get a job?’” The manager of the station at that time told him, “Yeah, just don’t come back with that tie on.” That began Strickland’s foray into the entertainment business.
When he first began assisting at Parks & Recreation, one of Strickland’s jobs was collecting trash after shows and sweeping floors. “That trash is just as important as the tickets to the show,” said Strickland. He cares about his work and his position as entertainment coordinator is right where he wants to be. “I love it,” Strickland said. “This is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.”
“Speaking in regards to the Amphitheater series, here’s an opportunity to get a lot of different genres of music,” Strickland said. “I want us to understand that this is about celebrating the city and celebrating our resources within the city, which is your tax dollars, which is your amphitheater, which is the people that you employ and pay with your tax dollars. This is what we can do for you—this is us giving back. Everything we do is a service for the city—to the concession stands to cutting the grass, or even taking the trash out, repairing the buildings, and trimming limbs.” He added, “I honestly think you have to live in a servant leadership perspective. You have to believe that you are to give and not take away from this place. If you get up and know that you are to give every day, then it’s going to be alright, because somebody appreciates that. Every day that I live to give, is a better day than the days when I just live for myself.”