Where Are They Now?
Written by Carly Schleider
Photography by Kirsten Beckerman
Jerry Gottlieb, Pikesville High class of 1988, throws one heck of a party. As the president of Charm City Hospitality, a wildly successful nationwide special events food and beverage company, he handles the concessionary logistics for large-scale sporting events and music festivals. He has worked such diverse events as the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Ga., NASCAR, and Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration. He also is the current operator of Merriweather Post Pavilion. On the home and family front, Gottlieb now lives in Baltimore County with his wife, Sarah, and two sons, Charlie, 7, and Oliver, 4.
iNSIDER: What does being president of Charm City Hospitality entail?
Jerry: My forte is raw space. I go onto a raw field and I have to build a city — all the infrastructure that accompanies [a festival]. From the fencing to the bathrooms to the food sales — you name it. It’s not just about flipping burgers, it’s about understanding every facet of festivals. The ultimate goal is to make sure that the patrons have the best experience possible.
What are some upcoming events you’re doing?
We were just awarded the food and beverage contract for the Baltimore Grand Prix, which is happening over Labor Day weekend.
How about upcoming music festivals?
We’re doing a festival in Atlantic City for The Dave Matthews Band called Dave Matthews Band Caravan. It’s a pretty large festival with 40-plus bands and four stages. I’ll probably be working around 40,000 people per day.
Did you always want to go into event management?
I didn’t. I had been in the food and beverage industry when I was younger — from bartending to bar backing to waiting tables — and I really just realized I had this ability to handle so many moving parts. I was able to take them and create something holistically and then be able to delegate while maintaining a really level-headed attitude. But I had no idea I would be a business owner. Luck played a role there.
So were you likely to get the party started in high school?
I was very social, yes, but it was always my friends’ parents who were stupid enough to give up their houses.
What is the craziest event you ever helped organize?
That’s tough. Preakness in the Infield ... a Mardi Gras [celebration] in San Diego, where the beads are flying. They’re all crazy! It’s controlled anarchy.