If you’re in central Pennsylvania, you’ve probably heard the name Rock Lititz.
A true regional gem, it’s the production company tucked between the cornfields in Lancaster County where A-List entertainers go to develop and rehearse their acts before taking their show on the road. Recently, Pennsylvania’s newly-elected Governor Josh Shapiro held his inauguration celebration there, complete with performances by rappers Meek Mill and Wiz Khalifa, Smokey Robinson, and the band Mt. Joy.
But you may not have heard the name Andrea Shirk – the dynamic President and CEO who has been leading the company’s meteoric growth since day one.
Born in Buffalo, NY, Shirk obtained a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University. In fact, she was the first person in her family to graduate from college, which is something she does not take lightly.
After graduating from Syracuse, Shirk moved to Philadelphia and worked at the global technology and defense company, Lockheed Martin. Furthering her impressive collegiate trajectory, she then obtained a master’s degree in Engineering Management from Drexel University.
Following graduation, Shirk moved to Boston to work at Bose where she met her now-husband, Mike, who is Chief Executive Officer of the High companies. They have two kids – Tyler (14) and Haley (10) – and have built a strong family foundation.
Eventually, Shirk moved with her family to the quintessentially charming town of Lititz, PA where she signed on as the sole employee of a brand-new company – Rock Lititz.
“I joined Rock Lititz as the first and only employee in 2013, when the owners were first getting started with implementing their vision,” Shirk said. “I have been helping to build the team at Rock Lititz as we have expanded the campus and operations.”
Shirk has been one of the main driving forces at Rock Lititz and is a major reason why they have grown into the business they are today. She has seen the business grow from the ground up, and that helps her appreciate the success the company has earned.
So, what exactly is Rock Lititz?
Nestled on over 100 acres in Northern Lancaster, Rock Lititz is home to a unique production community, built to help shows move from design and manufacturing, through rehearsals in world class Studios, and onto creating spectacular, audience-focused experiences. Rock Lititz considers itself a one-stop-shop for all production needs.
“The Rock Lititz community brings folks from across the globe to PA and we love hearing about how much they love Lititz, the people and the places to go,” Shirk said.
People often wonder how such a niche industry hub, like Rock Lititz, ended up in Central Pennsylvania. Many don’t know live production got its start here, with Clair Global sending some of the first audio gear to ever go on tour. As TAIT and other companies began to grow in Lancaster County as well, leaders were committed to staying rooted in their small town, keeping their economic growth local.
And it has paid off! With the addition of Rock Lititz, Pennsylvania has solidified its reputation as the spot to build and create amazing events. With clients reported to include artists such as Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, U2, Arianna Grande and more, the campus was even able to add a second massive Studio to support even more growth in the coming years.
As company President and CEO, where does Andrea Shirk fit into this amazing success story?
First of all, Shirk mentioned that she absolutely loves working at Rock Lititz. She enjoys all the company has to offer, and her work in helping the company grow.
She also enjoys getting to meet new people (and famous people at that) on a daily basis.
“I love the variety of work and experiences I get at Rock Lititz,” Shirk said. “I started when it was a small start-up and got to experience an entrepreneurial environment and was able to help put the processes and tools in place to run the company as we grew.
“In my role, I get a balance of strategic and operational work, and every day looks different. The multiple types of businesses and projects have kept it so I am constantly learning new things and developing new skills, perspectives and being exposed to new experiences.”
Throughout her tenure at Rock Lititz, Shirk has accomplished many things. From helping create visions and strategies for Rock Lititz to developing a “culture of care and an incredible team focused on collaboration, support and exceptional customer experiences,” Shirk has a lot to be proud of.
She is the main reason why her team is full of dedicated and talented individuals who also enjoy work as well, and she says she is thankful for them.
“I work well with my team because they know I have their back, I work hard and I treat everyone as important team members,” Shirk said. “I value everyone’s role and impact and treat all with respect and kindness. I set high expectations for those I work with, but am adaptable to meeting people where they need to be met. I make thoughtful strategic decisions to build trust with my team and provide open communication on how those decisions were made.”
Plus, Shirk is a very hands-on boss, who is always willing to pitch in and help out where needed rather than sit on the sidelines. A leader with integrity, she wants what is best for her employees, hoping that her love for what she does can have an impact on her staff so that they love what they do as well.
She also relishes a work-life balance, always taking time to be with her family – another reason why people like working with and for her.
“I love watching my kids play sports, escaping the chaos and going to our family home on the Chesapeake Bay, and being outdoors jet skiing, hiking or hanging by a fire,” Shirk said.
People love attending concerts and preparing for amazing shows is the business Shirk is in. But capturing life’s little moments are critical too, and when you work as hard as Shirk does, you realize the importance of balancing both.
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