You Should Know … Luke Silverman

Luke Silverman
Luke Silverman (Courtesy of Luke Silverman)

Fresh out of university, Luke Silverman knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur.

After growing up in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Silverman studied business at Muhlenberg College. When he graduated in 2008, Silverman went on to the University of Michigan for his Master of Business Administration.

With a tough economic market of the Great Recession, Silverman wound up working in television, including becoming a production manager for “The Bachelor” franchise. Eventually, Silverman decided to return to business and work in the medical technology space.

Drawing on his passion for dogs, Silverman ultimately opened Bark Social, a social club for dogs with locations in Baltimore, Bethesda and Philadelphia. Bark Social is a private off-lease dog park that serves food and drinks. Bark Social also hosts “bark mitzvahs.”

Silverman, 37, and his wife Emily Peterson live in Baltimore City with their son Tucker.

Do you have dogs yourself?

My dog’s name is Frankie. He’s a Pitbull Black Lab mix, and he’s 6½ years old. Bark Social wasn’t open at the time when he was 13 [in dog years], but he’s a smaller dog and he still acts like a puppy, so I have all intents and purposes to give him an actual bark mitzvah when he is 13 in human years.

Why did you decide to start Bark Social?

I was living in Austin, and I saw this nice market opening up, which is traditionally called dog park bars or dog bars. I felt like, with my business background and understanding the mid-Atlantic region where I grew up, there was a huge opportunity to bring it to where I’m from. I felt like we could take the experience up a level.

You worked on “The Bachelor”?

Yes. I started my career with an entrepreneurial venture in 2008 that didn’t really work out because of the market. I fell into entertainment, and I was a production coordinator and production manager on a bunch of different reality TV shows. Most of my time was spent on “The Bachelor” franchise, which was “The Bachelorette,” “Bachelor” and “Bachelor in Paradise.” I also did one season of “American Idol” and some other smaller reality TV shows and commercials. I had a cousin who worked in entertainment at the time, and I had never met her before. I had never been to California. I got her number, and I just said, “Hey, I need to pay my college tuition. I need a job.” She told me that if I could get out to California in two weeks, I would have a job. I packed up my car and drove across the country and actually lived in a family friend’s spare bedroom for a couple months. The career was pretty fun and interesting. I traveled to every continental U.S. state and over 40 or 50 international countries in a matter of three or four years.

Why did you decide to move on?

I thought I wanted something more stable because it was 11 months out of the year. Hollywood and entertainment shut down between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. So, I was pretty much go, go, go for 11 months. I thought I wanted something more stable, and I came to find out that I was a bit wrong about that. It was a really fun lifestyle, but I didn’t know how sustainable it was in the long term. I wanted to try and use my business degree a little bit more.

What is something that people would be surprised to hear about you?

I’m obsessed with history. I don’t really spend any time on anything that’s not historical or actual reality. I don’t read anything outside of news or academic books. I literally soak up anything that is a documentary or about previous times in world history. I love learning about religions as well.

I love learning about other religions and the historical impacts on the Holy Land and the foundation of Israel.

How would you describe your personal relationship with Judaism?

I would definitely say it is cultural and food related. I think as I’ve grown, I have a deeper appreciation for the history and the cultural significance of being a Jew. My favorite Jewish holiday is Chanukah mainly because I have a son and he loves the menorah. I think that seeing the joy in my son’s face is really cool.

Shira Kramer is a freelance writer.

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