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Brandon Pankey: From Logan to Luxury (and The Roots Picnic).

May 31, 2013

BRANDONPANKEY01smallText by Ashley Coleman. Image by Timothy Becker.

You would never know that the man in glasses sitting on the 19th floor of The Bellevue, overlooking Center City, has worked with some of biggest names in music — Drake, Jill Scott, Meek Mill, Keri Hilson and more.

Brandon Pankey is a star account manager at the Sports & Entertainment Financial Group.The company helps plan tours from inception, including figuring out routes, creating budgets, hiring crew and ensuring artists are properly paid.

Although working as an account manager can sound like nothing but long office days and number crunching, he’s had his brushes with the rock-star life, which he modestly discusses.

“2010,” he says with a laugh. “Miami. Drake’s birthday party. Fontainebleau. Porn stars. Free liquor all night. I won’t say I was there. I won’t say I wasn’t. I’m just saying.”

Pankey remains humble even after receiving many accolades, including being named one of Billboard’s “30 Under 30: The Young Execs You Need to Know” in 2011. But what really keeps him grounded is a strong family, including a grandmother who would “cuss his ass out” if he ever got out of line.

Pankey grew up in the Logan section of Philadelphia and credits luck and hard work as the two factors that got him where he is today. He studied communications with a minor in African-American studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He did several internships, including one at Mama’s Boys Music Group, the management company owned by Jerome Hipps and Michael McArthur here in Philadelphia.

“Their business manager at the time, Shawn Gee (owner of the Sports & Entertainment Financial Group), needed an assistant and they recommended me,” Pankey says.

He worked his way up the ladder with Gee and now helps manage large-scale tours for stars like Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne. He also finds himself working as a sponsor and a “keep-people-happy” liaison at The Roots Picnic every year.

BrandonPankeysmallThe unofficial kickoff to the summer festival season in Philly, The Roots Picnic continues to stay fresh and draws a larger crowd each year.

“It’s the opportunity to feel like a trendsetter, a tastemaker and all of those other buzz words marketing agencies like to use,” Pankey explains. “The Picnic has some of the best performances from artists on the cusp of greatness. And it’s fun. The backstage area is like a Philly music reunion. It’s the one day where everybody can be proud to be from Philly and enjoy great music.”

Because he is such an influencer, Pankey was named a 2013 creative ambassador for Philly 360º.

“He exemplifies the city’s next generation in the creative scene, not only for his work in entertainment but also for his dedication to giving back to youth,” says Sarah Janiszewski, program manager for Philly 360º, which is part of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.

The vast economic disparity for young African Americans in the city troubles him, so he works with several nonprofits that assist young people.

“Philly is next,” Pankey says. “The city is being cultivated to show the world that it’s just as incredible as the natives have known for years. I want to say that I went from Logan to luxury, and that I stayed in Philly to make that happen. I still have work to do before I ride off into the sunset.”

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