Young Professional 2019: Brandon Lange
Brandon Lange, Recreation, facility and marketing supervisor for the City of Kennewick
Age and hometown: 34, Moses Lake
How long have you worked for the City of Kennewick? 9 years
Describe your company: The largest of the Tri-Cities is Kennewick. It stretches 29 square miles and features a variety of sporting and recreational activities, entertainment, the region’s retail shopping hub and a casual, easy-living vibe. Nestled in the heart of Washington wine country, residents and visitors enjoy 28 parks, the nationally-recognized Southridge Sports and Events Complex, four fantastic golf courses and more than 160 wineries within a 50-mile radius.
Education: Bachelor’s in recreation management with a business minor
Family? Pets? Wife, Tawnie; kids, Piper, Brayden and Harper; dog, RayRay
How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 10 years
What word describes you? Resilient
Biggest flaw? I want everything to be done now. I hate to wait on other people.
Biggest pet peeve? People who don’t strive for greatness.
Dream vacation? VIP accommodations, Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.
Favorite book? “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Favorite movie? “Man on Fire”
Favorite musician? Avicii
Favorite sports team? Baltimore Ravens
Favorite website? Espn.com
Favorite Tri-City restaurant? El Fat Cat
Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities? Taking my kids to a park
What thing would people be most surprised to learn about you? I would rather stay home any night of the week than go out and do something. Home meal and movie in bed is the best.
Describe your job and how you got into it: I am currently the recreation, facility and marketing supervisor for the city of Kennewick. My office is located at the Southridge Sports and Events Complex, which is a great place to come to work every day. My main responsibilities are staff and facility management, marketing and customer service. I also oversee our events, tournaments and sponsorships. In 2011, I was working for the Tri-Cities Fever and my wife was looking for a new job and came across the sponsorship and sports marketing coordinator position and told me to apply. I applied and got the job. I have been with the city for nine years and some days it feels like I have been here for 30 years and others it feels like one month. I work with incredibly professional and intelligent people, which makes my job easier.
Who are your mentors? I have two mentors that taught me different things. Sean McGrath was my first manager and he taught me sales and marketing and the difference between the two. He also has shown me that nothing is as big of a deal as you or anyone thinks it is. Maxine Whattam was my first parks and recreation director and she taught me how to navigate through city government, red tape and how to be more detailed in my planning and thought process. People who know me know I hate the small details but they do matter, especially when working at a 52-acre facility.
Toughest career decision? I lost my daughter to a rare genetic disorder after she fought for 43 days, which forever shaped my outlook on life, so a career is just that. Nothing in my career will be as hard as what I went through, so I wouldn’t consider anything my toughest career decision.
What do you like most/least about your job? I love coming to work every day and working through business challenges and providing a higher quality of life for our community. We have programs that provide a positive environment for kids to grow and help fight obesity. The events we host or put on bring our community together.
I don’t enjoy all of the bureaucratic red tape employees and our customers have to jump through. A lot of the red tape is in place for a reason but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. It has made me more of a strategic planner knowing that the planning process can take several years until a project or item for purchase is approved.
What was your first job? I worked at the Moses Lake Country Club in the pro shop. I did everything from washing clubs, cleaning carts, picking the range to booking tee times and selling merchandise. I learned how to provide excellent customer service and how to speak to people older than you. Some people tipped and some didn’t, but you still provide the same level of service to everyone no matter their race, gender, financial status or even how they treated others.
How do you achieve work-life balance? I think the U.S. should be more like the European nations in their outlook on the work-life balance. I think people in our country are so tied to their jobs it consumes most Americans. As an employee you should come to work every day and strive for greatness but when the day is over, it’s OVER unless there is an emergency. I make sure I get my time back with my family if I work a weekend and also empower other staff members who are working when I am not to take ownership of their role and make decisions. If an incorrect decision is made, we learn and move on.
Community involvement and service: Most of my job is in some way tied to enriching the lives of our citizens, whether it’s training our high school youth basketball officials on Saturdays and seeing their confidence increase or planning our Sunset at Southridge food truck event.
Outside of my job I am a committee member for the Tri-Cities Public Service Workers BBQ, which is a night we recognize and thank all of the public service workers in the area.
My family, friends and I serve meals at the Ronald McDonald House in Spokane. My wife and I stayed at the Seattle Ronald McDonald House, which is a magical place for families dealing with some terrible situations. When the families don’t have to cook dinner, it takes away a lot of the nightly stress they are dealing with.
My family also sponsors a child through Compassion International. It feels great to know we have changed his life for only $39 a month and makes you appreciate how much you have. It’s really fun to send and receive letters from our child and how his life is much different than ours, especially when you hear what he spent his $25 birthday money on.