His long-range goal was to become a Boys Club director. He's been learning the ropes for two years as second in command at the Haverhill Boys Club, hoping it would help him land a top job elsewhere someday.
Then it happened - Shaun Menzie resigned as director of the club in August after being arrested in a police prostitution sting in Kingston, N.H. Theirrien took over as the club's acting director, and today the permanent job is his.
As the club works to keep its strong reputation in the community after Menzie's arrest, it has chosen Theirrien to lead. He has been named head of the club by its board of directors.
Theirrien takes over at a time of big change for the organization - after 108 years of being a place for boys only, the Haverhill Boys Club is making the transition to accepting female members. It is one of the last Boys Clubs in the nation to make the change.
Theirrien will have help from someone who the board believes understands what girls will need in the new Haverhill Boys and Girls Club. The board also named Sharon Silverman as women's activities director. Silverman has worked part time at the club for more than 25 years as its art director and as adviser to the Keystone Club. That group is open to boys ages 14 to 17 and focuses on community service projects.
The board of directors chose Theirrien and Silverman unanimously.
Frank Iuele, chairman of the club's Human Resources Committee, said Theirrien's efficiency and dedication to the club, as well as his willingness to help in its ongoing transformation from a Boys Club to a Boys and Girls Club, stood out as reasons to give him the job. He said the finest compliment was paid to him by board member Bob Wysocki, who said he had not seen this level of dedication to the club since it was led by his father, Walter "Budger" Wysocki, then by Budger's nephew, Dick Wysocki. The two Wysockis were in charge of the club for years prior to Menzie running it.
During his more than 20 years with the organization, Menzie worked his way up from athletic director to program director to executive director, a high-profile position in which he helped raise money for the club and its programs for boys. Many club members live in the inner city.
A native of Worcester, Theirrien, 30, now of Haverhill, has been with the club since November 2005, first as a program director and then acting director. He is a graduate of Anna Maria College in Paxton, Mass.
Within the last six months, he has overseen the replacement of aging pool and bumper pool tables, the installation of a fire and safety system, and the emptying of old storage rooms in preparation for converting them to activities rooms for future use by boys and girls.
Theirrien coordinated a community outreach project last fall that brought dozens of employees from Wal-Mart and The Home Depot in Plaistow, N.H., to the club's summer camp - Camp Tasker in Newton, N.H. Workers from the stores helped clean and renovate the camp in preparation for use by girls and boys this summer.
One of Theirrien's prior jobs was program director at a neighborhood center in Worcester called Friendly House. He said he liked the work so much he moved on to a better job at the Boys and Girls Club in Long Island, N.Y. He was director of sports and fitness.
Theirrien found out about a job at the Haverhill Boys Club and, after interviewing with club officials, he was hired as the program director.
"I wanted to move back to New England and dreamed of operating my own Boys Club," he said. "I was hoping it would eventually happen one day, but I never expected it would happen this soon."
Silverman, of Methuen, said she is looking forward to involving girls in the club.
"I'm thrilled that for the first time in 108 years we'll be inviting girls into the building," she said. "They'll be able to participate in art and photography, as well as games, sports, homework help and other activities."
Silverman said she hopes to introduce a cooking program at the club and invite guest chefs to demonstrate their skills.
"We are planning on a lot more field trips to art galleries throughout the region," she said, "both photography galleries as well as fine art galleries."
New Boys Club leaders
* Brian Theirrien, 30, club director. He has been with the club since 2005 - first as program director and then as acting club director.
* Sharon Silverman, 47, women's activities director. She has worked part time at the club for more than 25 years as its art director.