Fred Stein, KLN'72, a Northeast native, directed 22 staff members and 700 city workers to construct the firstever Super Bowl victory parade in Philadelphia's history in less than two days.
"It was a great experience for everyone," said Stein. "Because you're only as good as your last event."
Stein attended Temple originally wanting to become a biology major, but after a few experimental journalism courses decided his passion was in print. He enjoyed reporting for the Temple News, even with little writing experience. Inspired by his professors, he graduated with a bachelor's of science in journalism.
"I learned at Temple and as reporter that the story is the voice of the people," Stein said. "You write it and hope someone will read it."
He became a weekly reporter for the Roxborough Review, a local newspaper, writing articles on community relations and obituaries.
"You had to have the proper details and everything had to be correct," said Stein.
Curious about the community changes in the Manayunk neighborhood, he began to write increasingly on community issues and expansion. His investigative pieces won him recognition.
"I won an award for writing and then two years later best editorial," he said.
His interest in the Philadelphia community then led to him accepting a legislative assistant position at the office of a local councilman in 1976,as the 300th anniversary of the city approached.
After inquiring about the city's planning committee for the event, Stein discovered that they needed someone to run it. In 1981, he took up yet another position as an assistant managing director and was given the title of director of Century IV, celebrating Philadelphia's 300th anniversary. Over the course of the year, Stein and his supporters put together 120 events.
"I studied what other cities had done and I went to Temple Library," he said. "The internet didn't exist so you had to do the research, read through microfilms and newspapers."
After a successful celebration, he continued organizing other events. Just a little over a month later, he was featured on Time, having received national recognition for organizing The Philadelphia Restaurant Festival of about 400,000 attendees.
He established The Creative Group in 1984, as a special events and production firm. Stein, the executive producer, has successfully organized numerous events in the region, including the Pope's visit to Philadelphia, the 200th anniversary of the US constitution, the opening of the Liacouras Center and over 2,500 other events. The Eagles parade was another achievement on an already impressive résumé.
"Everyone was very superstitious, it was only the week before that [the planning] began in earnest but I couldn't tell anyone," he said. "It had to be done in secrecy."
So, in a very short period of time, telling almost no one, Stein managed to set up the entire parade, including 14 jumbotrons and several miles of metal barricades. In past celebrations, the parade route circled around City Hall before heading towards South Philly. This time, the Eagles decided to direct the route from the Lincoln Financial Field to the art museum.
"They wanted to have as many people be apart of this", said Stein.
From Monday to Wednesday Stein guided the operations of approximately 22 staff members, 700 city workers, hundreds of media outlets and advised for the patrol of some 2,000 police officers.