Andrew Buelow, appointed Executive Director of West Michigan Symphony and its subsidiary The Block in January 2018, has dedicated his professional life to revitalizing orchestras and building strong connections between patrons, communities and orchestral organizations. Since his arrival, he has expanded Board membership, revamped the organization’s marketing programs, and launched new fund development initiatives. Attendance is up 30% at WMS and 60% at The Block, and the organization has posted a surplus for two seasons running.
As Executive Director of Symphony Tacoma from 2007-2017, Buelow grew both its roots and its branches, elevating the ensemble’s capacity to deliver great performances and to address critical community needs with strategic collaborations, impactful education and outreach programs.
To build a stronger organizational platform, Buelow instigated board team building and governance best practices, established a cycle of three-year strategic and annual operating planning, revised the business model to focus on growing patron revenue (the most sustainable source of support), rebranded the organization and revitalized its marketing and advertising, expanded the staff and retrained all employees to operate as a team of change leaders.
Over five years, individual contributions increased 50% and corporate support 49%. Over nine years (including those spanning the “Great Recession”), organizational net assets grew from $360,000 to more than $1 million. During his tenure the organization remained debt-free, doubled its Endowment and grew its operating reserves to more than $150,000.
Buelow came to Tacoma after six years as ED of the Traverse Symphony Orchestra in Michigan. Prior to that, he spent 16 years with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, first as Communications Manager and then Director of Public Relations. Buelow holds a BA in Music from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He is an avid sailor, Great Lakes historian and keyboardist. He is delighted to be living in downtown Muskegon on beautiful Jefferson Street; along with his wife Beth, a professional coach and published author of the book The Introvert Entrepreneur.