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Brother Andrew Cripps ’81 Encourages Actives to Chase Their Dreams

IMAX, Paramount, Dreamworks, Marvel … His resumé reads like something out of a movie. That’s because movies and entertainment are his life. Meet Brother Andrew Cripps ’81, the President of IMAX Europe, Middle East and Africa. An executive whose experiences have taken him all over the world, Andrew looks back to the days when taking on responsibilities at ZBT was a turning point for him.

How did you end up in the entertainment industry after graduation? After graduation, I went to work at Johnson & Johnson, selling surgical instruments in Boston and then Kansas City. Having grown up in Japan and speaking fluent Japanese, I was contacted by a friend about a job in entertainment in Japan. I took a job with a small British film company and set up a distribution office for their films and (in those days) videocassettes. I did that for two years and was recruited in Japan to work for UIP — a joint venture of Paramount, Universal and MGM/UA. 

You spent 25 years with Paramount Pictures. What roles did you hold there? I started with UIP (Paramount) as the assistant to the general manager in Japan. I had a number of roles after that, including sales manager for SE Asia based in Hong Kong, VP of sales and distribution when I was moved to London and EVP of international sales. In 1999, I was made president and COO. When Paramount and Universal split the company up to set up their own companies, I ended up with Paramount as president of Paramount Pictures International based in London, responsible for the marketing and distribution of all Pararmount, Dreamworks, Dreamworks Animation and Marvel films outside of North America. During my five years running at Pararmount International, our films grossed over $10 billion.

Tell us more about your current role with IMAX. At IMAX, I am president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. My job is to expand the number of IMAX theaters in the region, as well as to ensure we have the right films to play in them. It has gone well, and we are adding 30-40 theaters in the region every year.

Any cool stories about or run-ins with celebrities you’d like to share? I have been very fortunate to work in the film industry and have encountered many interesting and talented people. The ones who have had the biggest impact on my life have probably been Jeffrey Katzenberg who founded Dreamworks with Steven Spielberg, and I have worked closely with filmmmakers such as JJ Abrams (presently shooting Star Wars), Michael Bay (Transformers) and the producers of the James Bond films. Just today, I met Michael Jordan at the Ryder Cup in the NBC hospitality suite which was very cool.

How did the skills you developed at ZBT help you in your career success? I think there were a number of skills that I learned at ZBT that have helped me in later life. Firstly, learning to live and work with a group of brothers who would become lifelong friends and confidants. Secondly, I was the treasurer at ZBT while I was there which instilled a great degree of responsibility in me, which arguably at that stage in my life I desperately needed. And, of course, learning responsibility for yourself and others is an important aspect of growing up.

What is your best memory from your ZBT days? My best memory of my fraternity days is the sports. We had a great group of talented individuals who excelled in softball, basketball, football and all other intramural sports. While ZBT was and still is a small frat, we overperformed when it came to sports … a great source of pride.

In what ways do you honor your lifelong commitment to ZBT in your alumni years? In my alumni years, I have tried to stay in contact with the fraternity. Living overseas for many years has meant that I have been unable to participate in regular alumni activities or homecomings, but I have tried to attend when I can and have always donated as generously as possible.

Why would you encourage other brothers to renew their connections in their alumni years, no matter where they are in the world? It is very easy to lose contact with the fraternity or your brothers. However, social media being what it is today means that with a little effort, one can stay connected and renew those lifelong bonds and relationships. There is so much that people with experience can give to ZBT, and I would encourage everyone to participate where possible. For the past two years, I have been on the board of the Scheller College of Business which gets me back to the Georgia Tech campus at least twice per year. This allows me to renew acquaintances and friendships.

If you could reunite with one brother this year, who would it be and why? I have been very lucky in that I have been able to keep in contact with many of my closest fraternity brothers. Social media means that most people have been tracked down and contacted. However, the one brother I would love to contact and get back in touch with is Mike Donahue ’82 who was from Atlanta and went to school from 1977-81.

What is your advice for the current brothers of ZBT as they prepare to launch their careers after graduation? The best advice  I can give to brothers preparing themselves for the real world is to work hard today to prepare themselves for tomorrow. College at Georgia Tech was a fantastic experience and one that I will always treasure.  However, upon graduating, I did not feel that I was fully prepared for the working world and environment. Get out there and get some experience that you can use to further your career. Figure out what you are interested in and don’t let anything stand in your way of achieving your goals. Rewards come to those who most actively chase them! 

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