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Pennsylvania

Centre County entrepreneur with 'new ideas' named to LCB board

| Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, 11:12 p.m.

Gov. Tom Corbett has nominated a Centre County businessman and theater consultant to a four-year term on the state Liquor Control Board.

Michael Negra, 60, would replace board member Robert Marcus of Indiana, whose term expired in May. Marcus announced at a board meeting that month that he was not seeking another term.

“This is going to be a wonderful new challenge,” said Negra, who lives in Centre Hall, a borough near State College. “I'm very appreciative of the governor's belief in me.”

If he is confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the 50-member state Senate, Negra's term would run through May 2018.

Negra said he's worked as a restaurant consultant and been a wine collector for about 20 years.

His varied business endeavors taught him how to construct budgets and develop business plans, among other skills, he said.

“There's obviously going to be a lot to learn” as a board member with the LCB, Negra said.

As a student at the University of Maryland, Negra produced shows and concerts on campus. After graduating in 1975, he worked as a tour manager for traveling artists and later started Mike's Video, a small chain of retail stores in State College and Blacksburg, Va., that offered video rentals and sold music, appliance and electronics.

In 1999, Negra revived the shuttered State Theater in State College, creating a 571-seat performing arts center, of which he served as president and then as executive director until 2010.

“Mike's diverse professional background and keen business insight will bring a wealth of private sector experience to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board,” Corbett said. “I look forward to the new ideas he will bring to this position.”

Negra now works as a partner at Negra-Graham Theater Advisers, which offers consulting services for emerging theaters on issues such as business plans, budgeting, programming, technical equipment and architectural plan reviews.

If confirmed, Negra will join LCB Chairman Joseph “Skip” Brion and board member Tim Holden in overseeing more than 600 retail wine and spirits stores, three distribution warehouses and thousands of employees statewide.

Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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