This year OED is recognizing and celebrating Frederick County’s young professionals who are leaders in their industry, give back to the community and add significant value to their company and its culture. Join us as we get to know our Top 50 Under 40.
Chris Sparks, 30
Surelocked In Escape Games
5 N. Market St., Frederick
Chris Sparks - the “Game Overlord” – started the new age of entertainment in Frederick! A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Sparks served as a Catholic youth minister before opening Surelocked In Escape Games in 2016. Since, Sparks’ award-winning games have delighted tens of thousands of players nationwide, helped redefine academic curriculums, brought tourism to town, and supported a myriad of charitable causes.
What has been your greatest professional accomplishment?
One Vast Adventure (city-wide escape room 2019), an immersive event that put 440 players on an epic quest to save Frederick. Unlike anything seen in any other cities anywhere, One Vast Adventure not only entertained, but educated, allowing players to learn history by living it.
Name one award you are most proud to have received.
Frederick’s 5 “People To Watch” (2021 Frederick Magazine). Nominated for One Vast Adventure (collaboration with the National Museum of Civil War Medicine) and recognized for bringing noteworthy entertainment to the city
What is your experience with volunteering and civic engagement? What is your experience with volunteering and civic engagement?
Adult Public Guardianship Review Board of Frederick County 2014 – 2016; Chairman 2016 – 2018 Leadership Frederick County 2018; LFC Alumni & Generation Connect Committees at Chamber of Commerce Rotary Club of Frederick Golden Mile Alliance Alderman Candidate
Carnegie Mellon University’s Washington Semester Program FCPS Lynx Program at Frederick High School I Believe In Me, Inc (bread guy) Santa Claus - Rocky Point Creamery/Generation Connect December Toy Drive
What was your first job?
Sacristan (2007 - 2009)
What book do you recommend and why?
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow because sometimes it takes the words of a dying man to remind us of how to live.
What do you like to do for fun in Frederick County?
When I'm not planning the fun for Frederick County, I like to catch a movie at Warehouse Cinemas!
Who has a great influence on your professional life?
My Catholic faith inspires me to work my hardest to make the world a better place, and my heart is in the work.
What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute to your success and why?
Authentic kindness because (as the saying goes) "people will forget what you said, forget what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel". Close second: the ability to improvise.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
It's mid-August 2026. Mayor Chris Sparks heads home after another day of fighting for Frederick. On the way, he recalls how simple life was in 2021 when Surelocked In only had 1 location and their gamified scavenger hunt line was only just beginning. He returns home to a happy family, chuckling that it has been 5 years to the day that he filled out that survey for "Top 50 Under 40". His robot butler brings him a drink as he walks in the door. His kids are playing with their Xbox 1000000. Life is good.