With Goal of Expansion, JAC Management Promotes 2 Executives

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As part of its effort to expand its footprint well beyond its Youngstown base, JAC Management Group has promoted two of the company’s longtime executives.

Ken Bigley has been named chief operations officer, and Jordan Ryan has been named vice president of JAC Management Group and JAC Live.

Bigley was formerly the vice president of the companies, and Jordan Ryan was formerly the executive director of JAC Management’s Youngstown properties.

Eric Ryan remains president and CEO of the Youngstown-based company, which is best known as the day-to-day manager of Covelli Centre, Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre and Wean Park in Youngstown and Packard Music Hall in Warren. The company’s promotions arm, JAC Live, books concerts and other events at those and other venues, including the Canfield Fair’s grandstand shows.

The companies’ expansion into other markets has been underway for several years. It will be further propelled by Bigley and Jordan Ryan, who is the son of Eric Ryan.

“Last year, we did 40 out-of-market shows in 13 states,” Bigley said.

JAC Live has been booking shows in out-of-town markets for years and will increase its efforts now.

Its strategy is to target secondary and tertiary markets that are similar to Youngstown. It regularly promotes shows in Toledo; Reading, Pa.; Huntington, West Virginia; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Pikeville, Kentucky; Savannah, Georgia; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Peoria and Rockwood, Illinois.

The company has no plans to open a second office in another state.

“We can do everything remotely from here and continue to focus on our local properties,” Bigley said. JAC’s corporate headquarters are in the City Centre One building, downtown.

Bigley’s new role as COO “is indicative of the companies’ ever-expanding footprint across the country within both the theater/arena event promoting sector and the unique space/event format,” according to a press release from JAC.

Ken Bigley

Under his leadership, JAC has become a well-known industry player in the northeastern and Midwestern United States in the 2,000- to 10,000-seat venue range.

JAC will also grow its effort at promoting shows by the same act in multiple venues.

“For example, if we have a solid act for the Midwest, we can [book and promote] their shows in Reading, Youngstown, Toledo, Kalamazoo and Peoria,” Bigley said, provided the act’s tour route and logistics would enable such a run.

Bigley got his start in the events business when he was 20 years old and managed the Varsity Club in the city’s Uptown.

He joined forces with Eric Ryan in 2003, and the two began booking concerts at The Cellar in Struthers.

In his two decades in the event industry, Bigley has built a network of talent agencies, venues and vendors across 15 states, according to the release.

In his new role as vice president, Jordan Ryan will likewise transfer his years of building and event management into his new position with the company. He has been working in the concert industry at Covelli Centre for JAC since he was a teenager. He will now turn his experience to transforming other buildings into full-fledged concert venues, according to the release. The targeted arenas and the cities they are in were not revealed by the company.

The promotions of Bigley and Ryan come amid a banner year for JAC Management and JAC Live.

The companies used the pandemic-related downtime to create a foundational framework to facilitate rapid growth, according to the release.

The company staged more than 100 events in 2022 and 2023.

JAC Management’s rise began in 2007, when it took over management of Covelli Centre. The arena, which opened in 2005, had been losing roughly a million dollars per year at the time. JAC orchestrated a turnaround, booking acts that saw the arena becoming profitable starting in 2009.

Pictured at top: Image via Facebook | JAC Live.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.