In the Arena with Brad Rieger: From superintendent to COO and podcaster

When you talk about the leaders in our area, you have to mention Dr. Brad Rieger. For twelve years he was the Superintendent of Sylvania Schools, from 2003 through 2015. Prior to that, Rieger worked in Springfield Schools as a Special Education teacher, Assistant Principal at Holland Elementary, Principal at Crissey Elementary, and as the Assistant Superintendent. After leaving education in 2015, Rieger became the Chief Operating Officer at Toledo marketing/advertising agency Cooper-Smith.

Last November, Rieger launched a podcast: In The Arena: Conversations of a Lifetime. Rieger’s aim is to interview leaders in and around our community to dive into the inner workings and personal dynamics of leadership from his subjects’ viewpoints, based on their experiences. Hear about the guests’ upbringing and the journey that got them to where they are today. 

Variety of subjects

Guests that Rieger has had on the podcast include Cooper-Smith President and CEO Jim Cooper, UT Women’s Basketball Head Coach Tricia Cullop, Bethany House Executive Director Deidra Lashley, CEO/Owner of Barry Bagels Jim Nusbaum, former WTOL anchor Chrys Peterson, and civil rights pioneer Jo Ann Boyce.

Rieger targets an audience for In The Arena of people in leadership positions looking to gain different insights and perspectives from the experiences of others to help them be better leaders. The audience includes young people who are aspiring to be entrepreneurs, business owners, business leaders, and/or anyone who is interested in good life stories.

Despite his own personal accomplishments, Rieger is genuinely curious about the accomplishments, experiences and lessons his guests relate on the podcasts. Reiger wants to know how people tick, and that is the perfect way for him to facilitate these insightful conversations. 

For more information on In The Arena: Conversations of a Lifetime, please visit

Name: Brad Rieger.

Occupation: Chief Operating Officer at Cooper-Smith.

Years Lived in Toledo: 40.

My story, in one sentence: The greatest gift we have is the power to elevate the worth and dignity of people around us.

Songs That Describe My Ideal Self: “Yellow” by Coldplay and “Alive” by Pearl Jam.

What I’m doing, and what I want to achieve: I started the In The Arena: Conversations of a Lifetime podcast to interview leaders in and around our community to dive into the inner workings and personal dynamics of leadership from their viewpoints and based on their experiences. To find out what makes them tick.

If I could change one thing about Toledo: Increased emphasis and appreciation for the quality of life aspects we enjoy across the Toledo region.

When I’m craving Mediterranean food, I go to The Beirut.

The artists and musicians I love: Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, U2, Coldplay, Aretha Franklin, The Tragically Hip.

Toledoan I’ve met in passing that I’d love to get coffee with: Former Toledo Mayor Mike Bell.

Tanner Wertz
Tanner Wertz

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