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Community : Top Stories Last Updated: Apr 8, 2013 - 2:08:53 PM

Familiar Faces: FCTC's Bryan Richard is a true team player
By Elizabeth Bush
Apr 5, 2013 - 11:01:33 AM

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Bryan Richard receives some bunny love on Easter at the Family Circle Cup.

Spend just a few minutes with Bryan Richard and it’s easy to see he’s a crucial part of the Family Circle Tennis Center team.  Last week, with the start of the Family Circle Cup just days away, a chorus of voices buzzed over a fleet of two-way radios on his desk, each asking for his help with various tasks on the grounds. A gentleman popped his head in to chat about the Cooper River Bridge Run shuttles that will transport runners to the Cup on Saturday, April 6.
“I’d love to catch up with you,” Bryan told him. “Can you wait 10 minutes?”
Moments later, someone stepped into his office looking for a screw driver to borrow. After that, an FCC volunteer visited to ask where he could get his photo taken for a credentials badge. It’s all in a day’s work for this busy yet efficient FCTC staffer. As operations manager, Richard oversees maintenance of the tennis courts and grounds, as well as all signage for events.  
“All of the signage, every bit of signage you see on site here, I either made myself through this machine here or I outsource,” said Richard, pointing to a large piece of equipment sitting just in front of his desk. “I do a lot of graphics design as well.”
For the 2013 Cup, Richard prepared over 1250 signs that will help direct thousands of fans, players and support personnel throughout the week.
“It’s astonishing even to me!” he exclaimed, while holding a stack of newly inked placards.
In addition to his signage duties, Richard manages part-time staff members and interns. He also works with the City of Charleston on all necessary permitting requirements and handles all parking and transportation plans for the facility. He expects to help move about 30,000 cars on and off the island for this week’s FCC activities.
“We don’t have any real parking lots,” he said. “We’re on grass fields. You’re at the will of the weather and it’s tricky, especially with the concerts when everybody comes at once and leaves at once. At least with Family Circle, they’re coming and going throughout the day, and there are peaks and valleys.”
Despite a host of duties, and having to “change things on the fly” at times, Richard wouldn’t have it any other way.
“For me personally, I love the inside-outside aspect. I have enough office work. I love the graphics design…and I also have a lot of outside (work) with managing the tennis courts and working with other projects…Variety is what I do!”
Richard graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 2005 with a degree in sports, event and entertainment management. He did two internships for his degree, both at Family Circle Tennis Center, where he worked under Operations Director Jeff Church. When a spot later opened up managing courts, Richard was hired for the job. Since then he has steadily worked his way up in the ranks, taking on added responsibilities along the way.
“As I’ve moved on, I just took on more,” said Richard, who taught himself graphics design by reading manuals. “I’ve always had that willingness to take on new things.”
But that trait, Richard added, is one exhibited by everyone on the FCTC team.
“We have a lot of people who are willing to go the extra mile,” he said, noting that even FCTC General Manager Bob Moran helps make and install signs. “We don’t leave at five every day. It’s not nine to five here. It’s what you have to do to get the job done. Sometimes that means staying later. We’ve all got our crunch times, and this is one of them.”
Detailed organizational lists and schedules help keep team members on track all year long. For example, Richard uses a “massive spreadsheet” for the FCC to trigger a sign’s design, production, and installation. Is there ever a moment during the nine-day event when he can sit back and savor the results of his hard work?  For Richard, it’s not necessarily when the radios stop buzzing, grounds tasks are done, or when the trophy is handed to the tournament winner.  
“It’s the site build,” he said. “It’s making all the signs. It’s preparing the courts and getting it all ready for the fans to enjoy. That’s the gratification. Knowing where we started in January, when we really started loading in for the event, and what it is at the end.”
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