On Thursday, March 2 at Nissan’s North American headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, CSM Production assisted Nissan with a high-profile, employee event showcasing the award-winning Nissan Vmotion 2.0. The new concept vehicle signals the company’s future sedan design direction and Intelligent Mobility technology.
At the exhibition, a member from Nissan’s San Diego design center was on-hand to walk through the creative and manufacturing process of developing the concept vehicle.
CSM lent its expertise by providing audio, lighting, video switching and playback, as well as staging and drape. Following the live event, specialty lighting and a video monitor remain in the lobby looping a presentation as part of an exhibit featuring the Vmotion.
Corporate meetings, employee, special events, Nissan, Vmotion, R&D, Nashville, CSM Production
With two years under his belt as video producer and editor for the Carolina Panthers, East Carolina University graduate Max Brooke creates exclusive content for the game-day experience.
A native of China Grove, North Carolina, Max previously worked for UCC: Youth Ministries and Raycom Sports/ACC Network.
The soon-to-be married gentleman started working in video production with his brother, Richard, by creating a project for the United Church of Christ called TwinMaps. “We didn’t make any money for a year, but it was an amazing experience working with non-profit groups,” said Max.
Q&A with Max
- What is the best career advice you ever received? You can’t be anyone else but yourself when you’re finding your own style for directing, shooting or editing.
- What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? My brother and I started working in video production by creating our own project with the United Church of Christ called TwinMaps. We didn’t make any money for a year, but it was an amazing experience working with non-profit groups.
- What is the best part of your job? The best part of working with the Carolina Panthers are the amazing people I get to work with. They are very professional and some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
- Why did you choose your career path? I love every part of video production. Seeing a project through from start to finish is fulfilling.
- What has most impressed you about JHE? The guys I worked with on our open video were very prepared and professional. They are always willing to go the extra mile to make the product better.
- What is your best tip for success? There is no substitute for hard work.
Things people may not know about Max
- I’m inspired by … my future wife.
- My runner-up career was … being a professional basketball player. I didn’t come close but that was the only other option when I was growing up!
- I start my day by … a good workout and breakfast!
- My ultimate stress reliever is … working out.
- My family is … amazing. I am getting married in May and I’m very excited about starting my own family soon.
- My favorite sport is … basketball. It’s a beautiful team sport that requires 5 guys that be on the same page at all times. The chemistry can be amazing to watch when it’s perfected.
- Compelling TV binge … Game of Thrones.
- If I could trade bodies with one person for 24 hours, I’d pick … Lebron James. That guy is the ultimate athlete.
Keep track of Max by following him on Twitter at @maxwellsbrooke.
Carolina Panthers, video, lighting, audio, events, corporate events, ECU
Over the course of 365 days, the special events and corporate events team produced hundreds of events. Some required a full-scale production effort while others needed a special audio, video or lighting touch from the team.
Despite the quantity of events in 2016, several left a special impression on the staff. In chronological order, here is our “Best of 2016” list for special events and corporate events.
- JHE Nashville was strumming a happy tune after the GEODIS Freight Forwarding Manager’s Meeting held in the Music City Center. From January 25 to 29, more than 200 top global leaders gathered for a combination of breakout sessions, a CEO address, keynote speakers discussing leadership and cultural awareness as well as vertical market breakouts.
- The fourth annual Pinehurst Concours d’Eleganceplayed host to approximately 12,000 guests and 300 collector cars on Saturday, April 30 including three of the event’s prior Best in Show winners - a 1919 Pierce-Arrow Model 66 A-4 Tourer (2015), a 1931 Cadillac 452A (2014) and a rare 1938 Steyr 220 Glaser Roadster (2013). The premier award of the day was given to a 1928 Isotta Fraschini 8ASS. To top off the spectacle of elite vehicles, the Commodores performed for guests on what was a picturesque day.
- In June, JHE orchestrated the quarterly NASCAR Fuel for Business meeting in Philadelphia. For the first time in the program’s history, the event was hosted in a NASCAR Official Partner’s hometown - Comcast. Executing in such a historical city allowed JHE the chance to produce an event at the National Constitution Center which not only had character but eccentric lighting. As is often the challenge, it was essential to adapt to the unique environment while managing overall production, set design and signage.
- As one can imagine, event planning is no simple task. While planning a program for Vineyard Outreach America (VOA) this summer in Cleveland, the venue was booked back to back which required the event following VOA – one for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation - to utilize JHE for event production as well. Due to the limited changeover time, JHE produced two consecutive programs on a tight timeline including a Roots concert.
- On Sept. 7, more than 1,800 guests gathered for the Hospital Corporation of America’s (HCA) “2016 IT&S All Hands” Convention. As coordinators of the corporate meeting, JHE developed the “Back to Basics” vision with a 80s theme and provided full production at Nashville’s Music City Center.
- On Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29, JHE coordinated a two-day affair to celebrate Wake Forest University’s homecoming. Between an invite-only, 2,000-person party on Manchester Plaza featuring a private concert by The Spinners to a young alumni late-night affair to a tailgate and concert on game day, the team of 14 plus additional labor successfully delivered three total events in approximately a 24-hour span.
- On Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, more than 2,000 fans gathered at The Palms’ Pearl Concert Theater to experience the unfiltered, tell-all question-and-answer session with the sport’s top athletes. Known as NASCAR After The Lap, JHE has been a longtime partner responsible for producing the event and giving fans a unique and engaging experience.
special events, corporate events, corporate meetings, GEODIS, Nashville, Charlotte, Concours, Pinehurst Concours, NASCAR, Fuel for Business, B2B, Wake Forest University, Health Care
On Sept. 7, more than 1,800 guests gathered for the Hospital Corporation of America’s (HCA) “2016 IT&S All Hands” Convention. HCA is one of the nation’s leading providers of health care services made up of locally-managed facilities including more than 250 hospitals and free-standing surgery centers located in 20 U.S. states and in the United Kingdom.
As coordinators of the corporate meeting, JHE developed the “Back to Basics” vision with a 80s theme and provided full production at Nashville’s Music City Center. An 80s-themed arcade welcomed guests at the venue with neon LED glow bars, high tops, a custom backdrop and vintage video games including Miss Pac Man and Space Invaders.
By The Numbers:
- Nine JHE staff including two video, one lighting and one audio technician.
- JHE Technical Director Ash Munro and Project Manager Natalie Epperly
- Assets provided by JHE included audio system; video package featuring two 12 by 16 video screens, video sourcing, video graphics playback and program recording, and full show lighting package.
- Services provided were stage design; full audio, video and lighting production; run of show support in conjunction with the client; and custom centerpieces for 182 tables that included round LED lighted bases with neon-colored water beads that lit up in multiple size vases to highlight the 80s theme.
HCA Healthcare, corporate event, special event, Nashville
Jim Ablard is a corporate event producer at JHE. He’s a good one, too. But the theater still pulls hard at his heart.
Since middle school the Maryland native has been involved with the performing arts and technical theater. In fact, his degree from Catawba College is in Technical Theater.
He and his wife Denise were married on the stage in the Hedrick Little Theatre at Catawba College. The wedding was laid out as a play in two acts and his bride actually had a costume change before the wedding vows.
And the honeymoon? “It was to London for one week. Since we both have a love for the performing arts we spent the week seeing everything from Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre to the original production of ‘Cats’,” said Ablard, a founding member of Actors of Tomorrow, a non-profit committed to providing quality children’s theatre in Cabarrus County.
Common threads run through Ablard’s JHE duties and his theatre background.
“I assist clients in determining the best way to get their message across to an audience by utilizing the technologies available to them from within JHE. These can include lighting, sound, video staging and scenic,” said Ablard.
He is one of the first points of contact for new clients at JHE and he says “understanding the client expectations when they cannot verbalize what they see in their heads can be challenging.”
Ablard and his wife Denise have two children, a boy and a girl. In addition to his involvement with Actors of Tomorrow, he is also active in the Boy Scouts and is a Webelos assistant den leader.
Q & A:
- What is the most important lesson you’ve learned at JHE? Being Flexible. Understanding that there will always be change in the industry that I work. Whether through corporate consolidation or merger, new technologies or even internal restructuring the end goal is to provide the best service to our customers that I can.
- What is the biggest myth about your job? I sit at a computer all day doing nothing.
- What is the insider secret to your job? The old sales mantra that the customer is always right applies to what I do. The only difference is that they do not know that is most of the time. It is our job to interpret the concept and convert it to an activation that meets or exceeds their expectations.
- What’s your secret to success? There are no strangers, just friends you have not met. I am always talking to people about what JHE can do. There isn’t a departmental division when talking to a perspective client. Sometimes pitching a NASCAR style activation will spark a corporate client’s interest for a trade show display. You never know what will draw a potential customer in.
- What is your personal definition of success? As I have gotten older the definition has changed. What used to be important had a monetary value and that value has changed to Time. Spending more time with family and friends.
Things People May Not Know About You
- My runner-up career (and why?) was… Working in theater. Still do as a volunteer for Actors of Tomorrow, a youth theater education program. (actorsoftomorrow.wix.com/aotnc)
- I start my day by… Drinking coffee and then I drink some coffee…..
- My ultimate stress reliever is… shut off the world and watch TV
- My biggest pet peeve is… “It cannot be done”
- I spend my weekends… with family and friends or camping with my son in Cub Scouts
- I don’t leave home without…my phone
- Compelling TV binge… DIY, HGTV, History Channel, Smithsonian Channel
- My most recent splurge was…A hammock
- My favorite vacation yet (and why?)… My honeymoon to London, England for one week. Since we both have a love for the performing arts we spent the week seeing everything from Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre to the original production of Cats.
- My favorite movie is… Blazing Saddles or any other Mel Brooks Movie
- My favorite quote is… The Dalai Lama — 'When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.'
- No one knows that I am… An open water certified diver
- Anything else interesting people should know about you?
My wife and I were married on stage in the Hedrick Little Theatre at Catawba College. Our wedding was laid out as a play in two acts. My wife even had a costume change before the formal wedding vows. We designed the entire event, Video projection, Stage Lighting, (3) camera video record. Everything was timed out in great detail until the reception. At which time we realized during our first dance that we had no clue what was to happen next.
Catawba University, Hedrick Little Theatre, acting, actors
In the big business of e-commerce, names like Google, Amazon, eBay and Wal-Mart often come to mind as the leading retailers in this space. But it is often the businesses behind those brands, like ChannelAdvisor, that fuel long-term success and growth.
For more than a decade, ChannelAdvisor has set the global standard for e-commerce optimization by providing best-in-class technology, strategic services and thought leadership to help retailers and branded manufacturers master the complexity of connecting with consumers online.
For eight years, JHE Production’s corporate event experts have had the privilege to produce ChannelAdvisor’s annual e-commerce conference. The three-day production is an e-commerce “state of the industry” with leading brands discussing sales, analytics and much more.
JHE’s efforts began six months in advance planning the technical direction of the show including audio, video, lighting, staging, breakout room support, and technical and show direction.
With four hundred attendees set to convene at the ARIA Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for “Catalyst Americas 2016,” the team of eight arrived on Saturday, April 9 for load in and setup. Rehearsals began Sunday with featured speakers and breakout sessions scheduled for Monday through Wednesday.
For the premier speakers, JHE introduced new edgeless 16 by 28.4 foot projection screens, which combined into a 16 foot tall by 85 foot wide canvas. Utilizing six total 20kHD lumen projectors, presentations were showcased in more than 6.2M pixels across the surface.
ChannelAdvisor’s opening session featured Billy Beane, executive vice president of baseball operations for the Oakland Athletics and subject of the 2003 book “Moneyball” and the subsequent Oscar-nominated film. Additional thought leaders included David Spitz, CEO of ChannelAdvisor; Scott Hilton, chief revenue officer at Jet; Hal Lawton, senior vice president of eBay North America; Vineet Buch, director of product management for Shopping Search at Google; Jason Goldberg, senior vice president of commerce and content practice at Razorfish; and Rob Green, director and general manager of Amazon Business.
As the curtain call fell on another successful corporate event production, client feedback was outstanding.
e-commerce, eBay, WalMart, Google, Moneyball, Amazon
Long before the highly-anticipated Daytona 500 began, JHE Production and Daytona International Speedway worked extensively to plan fan entertainment leading up to one of the world’s premier motorsports events.
With months of planning required, JHE had a tremendous amount of work to do before and during Speedweeks 2016 at DAYTONA.
Starting Saturday, Feb. 13, three opening ceremonies topped the list of responsibilities including live shows for the ARCA and Sprint Unlimited races as well as DAYTONA 500 Qualifying presented by Kroger.
The second week was full of activities from experiential activation to Freightliner hospitality to a live concert by Florida Georgia Line to four opening ceremonies.
For JHE’s experiential activation teams, two tours were the focus. The first, NASCAR Acceleration Nation, was a youth-oriented display designed to teach 8-12 year olds the fundamentals of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in a fun and relevant way.
JHE also was enlisted to build a 65 feet wide by 20 feet deep experiential activation for Florida Lottery. The Florida Lottery secured driver autograph and question-and-answer sessions including Chris Buescher, David Gilliland, Ty Dillon, Landon Cassill, Austin Dillon, John Wes Townley and Ben Kennedy.
The client services team participated in the race weekend fun by organizing a hospitality program for Freightliner with an estimated 280 guests over the course of four days. The guests were entertained by special visitors including the DAYTONA 500 pole sitter Chase Elliott and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson.
It was, however, the live shows department that had to juggle multiple high-profile events. Opening ceremonies for the Can-Am Duel, the NextEra Energy Resources 250 Camping World Truck Series race and the PowerShares QQQ 300 XFINITY race were tackled first.
In addition, JHE enhanced each drivers meeting including the Can-Am Duel, Camping World Truck Series, XFINITY and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with an 8-by-36 light box with artwork and adorned the meeting space outside with 10 DAYTONA Rising flags.
Throughout the week, JHE assisted long-time partner FOX Sports with a broadcast stage for its RaceDay shows featuring commentators Jeff Gordon, Michael Waltrip, Chris Myers and Darrell Waltrip.
For the DAYTONA 500, JHE had assets spanning 824 feet of pit road including, a VIP introduction stage that highlighted the DAYTONA Rising project and its founding partners, a driver introduction set that paid homage to past champions, a live 25-minute concert with a nationally-televised song, the 2015 DAYTONA 500 Champion’s car display, 35 large flags honoring every DAYTONA 500 champion and a custom-built national anthem stage that is created new each year to highlight the DAYTONA 500 logo.
The event services team ran point on the pre-race concert featuring award-winning, country music duo Florida Georgia Line. Entertaining fans for approximately 25 minutes prior to the start of the 58th annual event, JHE designed a multi-tier set. The center stage was home to Florida Georgia Line and enhanced with 600 additional square feet to allow the performers more space. The back of the stage was ornamented with three 12-by-15 screens featuring band-driven content. Flanking the center stage were two stages featuring 16-by-9 IMAG screens with live video feed. The 3,712-square-foot concert stage was comprised of four total stages and five hand-pushed risers, 15 percent more square feet than 2015.
Ten full-time JHE staff, 50 hired personnel and five Freightliner tractors were dedicated to the concert production. The team had 10 minutes to strike and depart the frontstretch at the conclusion of the concert. While tear down was underway, other members of the JHE team were in full swing with driver introductions.
Dating back to July 2015, Daytona International Speedway challenged JHE to develop new concepts for drivers’ introduction. Matt Davis, vice president of operations, created two internal teams and challenged each team to develop fresh concepts. With a blank slate, both teams went to work. Soon after, two completely different ideas surfaced and were presented to the client in early September. After numerous revisions and great feedback, the final design reflected components of multiple schematics featuring specific stage angles, video screens and more.
Finally, after months of creative ideation and planning, the big moment was here. The driver introduction set was 53 feet wide by 8 feet deep with a 172-foot catwalk. The driver corral backstage was 30 feet long by 10 feet wide. In total, drivers would cover more than 200 feet on JHE-constructed assets which is approximately the length of two NBA basketball courts.
The set backdrop featured past DAYTONA 500 Champions in the center with fabric façade overlays for the remainder of the set. Video boards appeared on the right and left side of the stage equipped with video playback capabilities. For the nationally-televised live production, two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers were introduced at a time, meeting for a quick photo next to the Harley J. Earl DAYTONA 500 Trophy proudly displayed in the center of the stage. Pyrotechnics also were incorporated for each introduction. Once the drivers made it to the end of the 172-foot catwalk, they boarded a Toyota Tundra for a parade lap around the speedway, a logistical challenge that JHE also manages. After driver introductions concluded, the team had 10 minutes to remove all evidence of the set.
Ready in the wings was the JHE national anthem and flyover staff. They were in place and ready to call in the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, averaging 450 to 500 miles per hour, to arrive overhead exactly as the last note of the national anthem was being sung by the 82nd Airborne Division All-American Chorus. In order to make that happen, it takes coordination between JHE, FOX Sports, NASCAR, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force.
After a stirring rendition of the national anthem and a breathtaking flyover, it was only seconds before the next part of the program was underway. Four JHE team members were standing by at a custom-designed and built 20 feet by 8 feet presentation set to allow track president Joie Chitwood to return the 2015 DAYTONA 500 Champion race car to car owner Roger Penske. Storyboards with interesting facts about the 2015 race and moments as a DAYTONA 500 Champion adorned the sides of the set. The car and set were on display all day for fans to enjoy.
Following the race command, JHE executed a ribbon cutting with a special Toyota Camry pace car. The Camry drove through an extra-large red ribbon in commemoration of the opening of DAYTONA Rising. While the task may seem simple, it required extensive coordination with the track, NASCAR and FOX Sports and impeccable timing.
Two weeks, seven driver introductions, 50 full-time JHE staff and 50 part-time staff pulled off one of the most difficult and multi-faceted opening ceremonies of the year.
Daytona 500, creative design, opening ceremonies, concert production, hospitality experiential activation, Florida Georgia Line, NASCAR, FOX Sports,
JHE Nashville is strumming a happy tune after its recent event at the Music City Center for GEODIS Freight Forwarding, one of the world’s largest freight management companies.
From January 25 to 29, more than 200 top global leaders gathered for the annual GEODIS Managers’ Meeting. A combination of breakout sessions, a CEO address, keynote speakers discussing leadership and cultural awareness as well as vertical market breakouts occupied guests’ time throughout the week.
To provide staging, custom décor, lighting, rigging, branded signage and audio visual for the vertical market breakout areas, Miami-based The Vibe Agency turned to JHE for solutions.
JHE custom built the six areas where vertical market breakouts were held by creating walls that spelled G-E-O-D-I-S at a size of 12 foot by 12 foot. Additionally, four by 12 foot return walls formed a U-shaped space.
A 16 foot deep by 32 foot wide stage was utilized for the main group presentations.
Overall, the event was a success and instrumental for the GEODIS management team to integrate the recently-acquired, Nashville-based OHL.
JHE Nashville, corporate meetings, special events, GEODIS, conference, Music City, producer
In September 2015, JHE Production Group announced its expansion to Nashville, Tennessee. Known as “Music City,” Nashville is now home to JHE’s 10,000-square-foot office located at 816 Airpark Center Drive.
Shortly after the announcement, JHE’s Nashville General Manager Bert Hensley orchestrated a red carpet production for the premiere of the Sony Classics Pictures’ film “I Saw The Light.” The film features Tom Hiddleston as the legendary country music star Hank Williams.
In collaboration with Los Angeles event and PR agency, The Branding Bee; Brett Ratner’s production company, Rat Pac Entertainment; Sony and SunTrust Bank Sports and Entertainment Group, JHE designed and delivered the step-and-repeat back drops, provided carpet and lighting, and managed the event logistics.
Led by Hensley, the team consisted of David Netta, Nathan Poirier, and an eight-man local crew. Efforts included production design and décor, permitting, security and logistics for the red carpet and after party.
“I Saw The Light” is scheduled to be released on March 25, 2016.
Nashville, I Saw The Light, Red Carpet, Event Production, Sony Classics, Tom Hiddleston, Hank Williams, Music City, production design
In June 1991 at the Consumer Electronics Show, Sony first announced its vision for the PlayStation, a gaming design that would compete with the popular Nintendo.
After more than a decade of battling the evolution and competition within the gaming industry, the PlayStation 4 was introduced on Nov. 15, 2013. Since then, Sony has sold more than 20.2 million units worldwide (as of March 1, 2015).
The 2014 and 2015 “My Road to Greatness” program could lay claim to some of the enthusiasm built among avid fans. My Road to Greatness is a United States tour where PlayStation enthusiasts gather to experience unreleased games, receive exclusive swag and more.
On Aug. 22, 2015, from noon to 6 p.m., the tour visited Valdese, North Carolina, a small town in Burke County with a population of less than 5,000. A local fire fighter entered a Sony contest and won which included a surprise visit by the My Road to Greatness tour.
How does this relate to JHE? Long-time agency partner, Octagon, was the lead on the Valdese event and had a last-minute need for a 16 feet wide by 9 feet tall 12 millimeter LED wall. Knowing JHE maintained those resources in house, the call was made.
Within four hours of the initial call, the JHE team had a proposal on the table and shortly after, a great opportunity in hand.
JHE provided an entire video switching system for Sony and presented a beautiful 16 feet tall by 9 feet wide 9 millimeter LED wall which was a significant resolution upgrade from Octagon’s prior options. The LED wall was positioned on the stage and utilized for all of the event’s programming which included displaying live games.
The event was a great success with attendance nearly double the anticipated turn out. Sony also provided glowing remarks about the LED wall “upgrade.”
As with many JHE opportunities, team work was critical. From start to finish, the team consisted of Ryan Williams, Ash Munro, Jim Ablard, Joe Dennis, Jacob Meadows, Brock Schwarz and Tim Kurek.
As an extra bonus, Director of Video Engineering Jacob Meadows was even allowed “to play a new unreleased Star Wars game!”
PlayStation 4, Sony, Octagon, LED Wall,, Valdese, Video engineering,
For several years, members of the JHE team have served Lowe’s in a variety of capacities including experiential activation and corporate meetings.
Last month, the corporate meetings team provided technical support for the Fortune 50 Company’s mid-year operations meeting with approximately 170 Lowe’s team members represented across multiple venues. This is the third year the corporate meetings team has assisted the home improvement business in repurposing several parts of its warehouse facility into business meeting spaces.
When recalling one of their first projects with Lowe’s, the team remembers re-opening the store in Sanford, North Carolina, five months after the destruction of a tornado. The 2011 tornado flattened the front of the store and fortunately did not injure the more than 100 people inside. Images are from that memorable day.
Lowe's, Sanford, store opening, Fortune 50 company, experiential activation,
JHE Production Group President and CEO Jay Howard announced Monday that the award-winning event production company is opening an office in Nashville, Tennessee.
The expansion will allow JHE to serve its growing client roster, specifically with special events and corporate meetings solutions.
“Over the course of 27 years, JHE has worked closely with businesses, agencies and musical acts from Nashville,” said Howard. “We are excited by the opportunity to capitalize on those relationships and provide event solutions in the Nashville market.”
Managing the Nashville location will be seasoned event producer Bert Hensley. Prior to JHE, Hensley was a producer for Gary Musick Productions for 11 years. Over the course of his 20-year career, the Oxford, Ohio, native has acquired extensive experience coordinating and executing corporate programs and celebrity-driven events for Fortune 500 companies, associations, marketing agencies, and entertainment industry organizations.
“Bert is well known throughout Nashville for his keen sense of creative production design and flawless live event direction,” said Howard. “He embodies our people-first culture and approaches events with the same passion for delivering best-in-class event experiences for every customer.”
Leveraging its expertise in event execution, depth in corporate meeting planning and extensive lineup of event rental equipment, Nashville operations will be located at 816 Airpark Center Drive.
special events, corporate meetings, small business, Nashville, Charlotte
Following the acquisition of Total Event Production a year ago, Ash Munro easily integrated into the JHE organization and brought with him event expertise and a calm demeanor. His secret to success says it all, “Be the duck. Calm on top and paddling like hell underneath.”
Armed with a Masters of Fine Art degree in Technical Production from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and also an Eagle Scout, the Maryland native is a force to be reckoned with as director of corporate meetings at JHE.
He is responsible for daily operations of the corporate meetings department and serves as a project lead for several long-standing clients such as Allen Tate Company, Lowe’s Companies and OrthoCarolina.
With two sons, Jackson and McKinley, a dog named Pelli, two fish and a snail named Crawly, working at JHE must be a breeze for the dad extraordinaire who also finds time to fundraise for First Descents, a group that provides young cancer survivors a week of outdoor adventure.
Get to Know Ash:
- What is the best lesson from college that still applies to your job? Being trusted with the keys to the building means you are always on call.
- What is the accomplishment at JHE you are most proud of? Integrating the people and inventory. We had to sort through 10 years of “stuff”, break some habits, share some habits and keep serving our clients. Years ago at a corporate meeting, the CEO likened a business change to fixing the airplane while it was flying. Pretty sure WE replaced both engines and a wing.
- What made you want to become a part of the JHE family? One of my first memories of working in Charlotte was heading to the track to deliver gear for pre-race rehearsals. I’ve worked in some fashion with or near JHE every year since, watched the company grow and offer more varied services. The entire group seems to relish a challenge, especially Jay.
- What is the insider secret to your job? Two things. 1) Find the one thing that is most important to your client, and deliver it. Learned this way back in my theater days figuring out how to make a scenic design fit the budget. 2) Plan, prepare and then deal with reality. Something WILL change, kicking and screaming about it doesn’t help, just ask my sons.
- What’s your secret to success? Be the duck. Calm on top, and paddling like hell underneath. And the ability to find the humor in just about anything. Laughter is indeed the best medicine.
Things You Might Not Know About Ash:
- I start my day by … drinking coffee and snuggling with the dog.
- My favorite apps are… various weather-related ones, flight trackers and TV Food Maps. I like to know what’s going on around me that might change my plans, helps me stay prepared. Finding a local joint adds to the fun of traveling, and there are only so many times you can eat a number 3 combo with a Coke.
- The one person I’ve always wanted to meet is … my dad’s mom. She passed away when he was a kid. So it’s as much for him, my uncle and PapPap as for me.
- My most recent splurge was … the pending purchase of our new RV.
- My favorite vacation yet … our honeymoon. Drove more than 8000 miles (in a rental with free mileage) down to Big Bend, over to Olympic, back through Badlands in just under two weeks. Car camped our way through nearly a dozen national and state parks, took several hundred photos and built a lifetime of memories.
- The best concert I’ve ever seen is … does it have to be just one? I’ve seen plenty. Just this summer, front row and meet-and-greet for Pat Green, Robert Earl Keen opening for himself with a solo deep-cut set and TWO nights of Eric Church - acoustic, outside, sixth row. All three of these guys are great singer-songwriters. We have some of their lyrics inside our wedding bands.
corporate meetings, culture, employee feature
Producing an average 35 concerts a year as well as hundreds of corporate meetings, live shows and special events, expertise in audio is a critical component of JHE’s success.
Approaching audio with an engineer’s perspective, the team must first identify the desired mood and effect of the production. After pinpointing this essential feeling, JHE then selects the correct audio tools to achieve its goal.
Director of Audio Engineering Brian Hancock notes that JHE is intentional in product selection, choosing proven products and technology that can adapt to any environment, speed, the ability to be flown and more. The audio gear is scalable for any project, size venue or any obstacle that arises.
For the audio visual experts at JHE who are involved in approximately 98 percent of the company’s projects, one of the most challenging aspects can be identifying how sound will carry in the unusual venues they often work in.
To counter this challenge, the experienced staff conducts advance trips to the venue to determine the right equipment to meet the needs of the facility and event. Figuring this out in advance is essential to the total operation of the event.
For nearly three decades, JHE has learned the art of perfecting sound projection whether it is a corporate meeting, indoor arena, NASCAR track, football field or city street. JHE has proven time and again how the company continues to exceed in these situations.
Making the right decisions, investing in the best products and relying on JHE’s team of experts builds confidence with its clients and showcases why our event production skills are unparalleled.
Audio Visual, Sound, Live Shows, Special Events, Corporate Meetings, Sound design, Concert Production, Sound Projection
The much-anticipated Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, took place May 11-17. For the past 11 years, Jim Ablard has worked with the tournament and was able to continue the relationship at JHE. The JHE corporate meetings team was on-site all week to help execute a variety of elements, including:
- Draft Parties: On Sunday and Tuesday, JHE provided video, audio, lighting and staging based on the design by Walton Event Design for the ProAm draft parties. Each night, corporate clients selected their PGA pro for the next day’s tournament.
- TV Monitors: JHE installed 153 TVs throughout the course and corporate hospitality to give guests a better view of the tournament.
- Audio/Video Support: JHE provided audio and video support to the media center, the First Tee youth program exhibition and corporate presentations in conjunction with TCG Events. In addition, the team provided a sound system on the first and tenth tees as well as for closing ceremonies on Sunday after the tournament’s conclusion.
- Succeeding Together Event: The event supported The First Tee which provides a unique experience for youth by providing life skills and character education through the game of golf. This event featured four PGA players who read to the kids and then provided them with golf technique tips. JHE provided the sound system as well as rental equipment.
event planning, Wells Fargo Championship, audio, lighting, staging, technology, hospitality, video
In our newest series, we will explore each of JHE’s 16 in-house capabilities and how JHE utilizes these skills to make its clients’ visions a reality.
Pre-event planning is an integral part of JHE’s event services. Whether it’s a special event or a live event production, much of the work is done behind the scenes months before the event’s date.
During this stage, the JHE team pulls from prior experience to devise the most comprehensive and strategic plan to quickly and efficiently execute an event. Pre-planning requires thinking through possible obstacles, developing a detailed run of show, extensive site visits and securing top vendors.
When event day arrives, the client knows its event will be exactly as imagined due to the work put forth by JHE.
Learn about one of JHE's other capabilities, fabrication, by clicking here.
Special Events, event planning
In our newest series, we will explore each of JHE’s 16 in-house capabilities and how JHE utilizes these skills to make its clients’ visions a reality.
Behind the scenes, JHE’s fabrication team makes the creative department’s renderings a reality. The position of fabricator is described by JHE’s Jake Lehn as “we can build anything, as long as there is a vision and funds; and we can repair anything, as long as we have the tools and resources.”
Fabricating designs from big to small is an art; one which JHE’s team continues to exceed at. With extensive experience in the field, JHE’s fabricators can create something with strict guidelines or something out of the box with very little guidance.
The skilled craftsmen are dedicated to JHE’s mission: “creating a memorable, best-in-class event experience for every customer.” So behind the scenes, they brainstorm, test and build nothing but the best, no matter the client’s end goal.
Want to learn more about JHE’s other capabilities? Click here to read about JHE’s lighting expertise that is used to create the ideal event atmosphere.
Fabrication, operations, scenic construction,
In our newest series, we will explore each of JHE’s 16 in-house capabilities and how JHE utilizes these skills to make its clients’ visions a reality.
The importance of lighting at an event is often underestimated. But as experts, we understand the power lighting has on every event’s ambiance, mood, depth, décor and visibility. From large productions to smaller corporate events, JHE’s in-house experts know how to design and implement a lighting package that will create the ideal atmosphere. We maintain a large inventory of conventional and intelligent lighting fixtures, along with controllers, dimming, and the truss, chain hoists and lifts to support each fixture.
Setting the atmosphere and creating a dramatic first impression is vital. Utilizing the right lighting can do just that: allow your event to shine. Colors, textures, movement, and the quality of light are just some of the tools our designers can alter to make your vision a reality with the push of a button.
For corporate clients, meetings today are so much more than PowerPoint presentations. Lighting allows clients to showcase their creativity to motivate employees or clients while maintaining the functional lighting to keep the focus on the presenters and message.
When it comes to live shows and special events, lighting is just as important. By creating the right lighting plan, it is possible to direct a large crowd’s attention to a specific area, making them a part of the show. An integral part of designing for these larger shows includes providing adequate power distribution while reducing consumption through the use of energy-efficient LED fixtures, when possible. JHE’s capabilities allow the team to satisfy the need of any corporate client as well as any rider for nationally recognized musical performers.
Want to learn more about JHE’s other capabilities? Click here to read about JHE’s transportation expertise that helps the team get every project to its final destination.
Lighting, corporate events, corporate meetings, intelligent lighting fixtures, lighting fixtures, live shows, special events
In our newest series, we will explore each of JHE’s 16 in-house capabilities and how JHE utilizes these skills to make its clients’ visions a reality.
One of JHE’s operational strengths lies in the roads it travels so frequently. The fleet drivers that make up the transportation department enable each and every one of JHE’s events to come to life. Traveling an estimated 500,000 miles each year, the job isn’t an easy one but it certainly provides a tremendous amount of pride for those who belong.
For most events and experiential activations, the drivers are often the first ones to a location and the last ones out. What may appear to be a simple task to an outsider, often takes an incredible amount of preparation and skill. With only one chance to get it right, hours of practice are always required.
The items being transported are often one-of-a-kind items created to execute a client’s vision and are invaluable to the event’s execution. Loading, transporting and unloading in a careful, calculated manner is critical to every event’s success.
While clients may not interact with JHE’s team of talented drivers on a day-to-day basis, they are certainly a vital part of every event JHE plans.
Transportation, fleet, truck drivers, logistics, Class A CDL Drivers
Recently, JHE was honored to be a part of Alevo’s grand unveiling in Concord, North Carolina in partnership with Gary Musick Productions. The battery storage manufacturer whose purpose is to “maximize the value, availability, usability and cleanliness of electricity to better serve mankind and the environment,” has found its home 26 miles outside of Charlotte.
A six-year venture, Alevo has created an innovative, game-changing battery that will solve some of the biggest energy problems. The world’s first utility-grade battery is inflammable so it doesn’t need a resting period and can run 24/7.
Big news for Concord, the company will utilize the 3.5 million-square-foot production facility that was previously occupied by Phillip Morris as its United States headquarters. The addition will create 2,500 new jobs in the area and also help to cement the Carolina’s status as the nation’s energy hub.
JHE was enlisted to provide staging, audio, video and lighting support for the unveiling Oct. 28 that was attended by North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory in addition to political and industry leaders from the United States, Europe and Asia.
Alevo, Concord, Pat McCrory, Phillip Morris
Steve Burrell is someone who likes to rebuild or create things which his career in operations has given him plenty of opportunities to do. Currently serving as director of operations and customer service at NASCAR Hall of Fame, Burrell oversees day-to-day, front-of-house logistics including customer service, ticketing, memberships, sales, staff training and interactive elements.
Prior to joining the NASCAR Hall of Fame five years ago, the South Carolina native worked for 15 years at Carowinds in the loss prevention and operations department. The Leadership Charlotte graduate lives in Charlotte with his wife, Wendi and three children, Sydney, Austin and Riley Mae.
Q&A with Steve:
What is the best lesson from college that still applies to your job? Perseverance pays off.
What is the best career advice you ever received? As you roll your sleeves up and go to work, do so with your head on a swivel. The beauty of life is appreciation of the journey. Keeping your head down while plowing forward will keep you from seeing and enjoying the opportunities.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Personally, my family and the role they are playing in the lives of others. Professionally, graduating from Leadership Charlotte (Class of 35) and the opportunities it has taught me and has me focused toward giving back.
What is the insider secret to your job? A great team of supporting staff who enjoy being around one another. The operations team’s “family” culture creates the smiles and attitude needed daily.
What is the best part of working at NASCAR Hall of Fame? Being around this much history and sharing it with fans (and soon-to-be fans) gives the opportunity to exceed customer expectations. It’s great to receive feedback from someone who says their visit well exceeded their expectations.
Why did you choose your career path? My professional “profile” says that I am an executor who likes to create, fix and/or rebuild. My path in the operations field has given me that opportunity numerous times which I can look back on and enjoy the successes. Doing this in the entertainment/hospitality arena gives me the opportunity to build and work with people.
What has been your best mistake? Leaving the University of South Carolina (USC) after one semester. I transferred to a smaller school, Erskine College, after a mediocre first semester feeling that I needed a smaller environment. After being there for three days, I realized the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Erskine is a great school but USC never looked so good the following week when I returned.
What is the best part of working with JHE? From planning to execution, the JHE team shows a professional standard worth touting.
What has most impressed you about JHE? The team’s organization and professionalism. Every aspect of their communication down to the last note is complete and thorough.
What is your best tip for success? Enjoy what you do and practice humility.
What is your personal definition of success? Helping and seeing others grow and develop. My intentions were to become a teacher so I have a passion to see people learn. I try and use my experience in teaching situations where the team around me can benefit and learn from each other. They in turn will indirectly help others.
Things you might not know about Steve…
I’m inspired by… my wife, Wendi. She is a fighter who faces adversity head-on while not letting things slow her down. She is an inspiration who helps others first.
My runner-up career was… teaching. Tomorrow is up to the youth so we need to do our part. I still volunteer coach/teach in various aspects.
I start my day by… reading the Bible.
My favorite apps are… the weather and South Carolina Gamecocks apps. I was “forced” to be a weather-watcher in my previous job so it has naturally stuck with me. The Gamecocks… what can I say!
My ultimate stress reliever is… my children. They inspire me and make me laugh. They each have distinctive personalities ranging from independence, sassiness and southern charm.
On my iPod playlist right now is… Coldplay and Darius Rucker.
My biggest pet peeve is… the American flag flown incorrectly. It drives the heck out of me to see OUR flag not flown properly or torn/weathered.
The one person I’ve always wanted to meet is… Jesus Christ (and I will). He sacrificed himself for me. Greatest teacher of all time.
My family is… awesome!! I confess they dominate most of my conversations.
I spend my weekends… normally on a ball field watching the children in either sports or band performances.
My favorite sport is… college football. Passion (on and off the field) fueled by rivalry. And if you’re a Gamecock, why wouldn’t it be??!!
My most recent splurge was… a guitar.
My favorite vacation yet was to… Tybee Island where my wife and I were married.
My favorite movie is… Saving Private Ryan.
The best concert I’ve ever seen is… it sounds cheesy, but Michael Buble. It’s where I proposed to my wife (afterward).
Steve Burrell, NASCAR Hall of Fame, Leadership Charlotte
JHE is excited to announce it has launched a corporate event production division following its acquisition of Charlotte-based Total Event Production.
The newly-created corporate event production team will provide specialized audio and video solutions; deliver expertise in corporate event execution; and manage an array of event rental equipment including lighting, rigging, staging, soft and hard scenic elements, and audio and video production components.
“Creating a new JHE division that integrates Total Event Production’s expertise and extensive equipment allows us the opportunity to offer existing and potential clients a more diverse skill set,” said Jay Howard. “JHE has the ability to fulfill even more of our clients’ needs.”
The acquisition is expected to close in August. The Total Event Production staff and equipment will transition to JHE’s office located in Harrisburg, North Carolina, over the next several months.
“Total has been honored to work with JHE on numerous high-profile events, and we are excited to have the opportunity to join the team,” said Brian Ferguson, Total Event Production vice president and general manager.
Howard added, “Total has been a valued partner for many years, and we are thrilled to now have them as a part of the JHE family.”
acquisition, total event production, corporate event production, audio, video, corporate events, lighting, rigging, staging, equipment rental, Jay Howard, Brian Ferguson
Winston Kelley is the executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Prior to joining the interactive, entertainment attraction in 2006, Kelley served in a wide variety of managerial and executive capacities at Duke Power and Duke Energy.
He has a lifelong background in NASCAR and an immense enthusiasm for the sport. Born into a racing family, Kelley’s passion for NASCAR began after he attended his first race in 1964, the Daytona 500. Kelley attained one of his dreams when he became a member of the Motor Racing Network (MRN) radio broadcasting team in 1988. To this day, he still reports and serves as MRN Radio's lead pit reporter.
The Charlotte resident gives back to his community through a number of civic organizations including the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina Motorsports Foundation, the 600 Festival Association’s executive committee, the North Carolina Motorsports and Automotive Research Center Advisory Board, and the Governor’s Motorsports Advisory Council.
Kelley graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina State University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in business management and economics.
Q&A with Winston:
What is the best lesson from college that still applies to your job? It is the people that you meet and go through life with that matter the most. And you can get good results and have a good time if you budget your time and prioritize wisely.
What is the best career advice you ever received? Do a good job at the job you currently have and future things will take care of themselves.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Anytime people I have worked with and/or hired are successful and enjoy what they are doing.
What is the best part of your job? The people – our members, guests, fans, staff, partners, NHOF inductees, the NASCAR industry, local community – ALL of them.
Why did you choose your current career path? I had a great job and career with Duke Power Company, now Duke Energy. To have the opportunity to showcase the incredible history of NASCAR and work with my childhood heroes was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
What has most impressed you about JHE? The JHE team has a unique ability to think and plan strategically and then provide exceptional execution at the tactical level. Most companies can do one or the other very well, but not both like JHE.
What is your best tip for success? Choose an occupation that you will enjoy and then apply yourself and put your best into it every day.
Six things you may not know about Winston:
I spend the majority of my weekends… at race tracks working for Motor Racing Network and the Hall of Fame.
I’m inspired by… people who have overcome significant adversity and see the positive things in life.
I start my day by… reading a daily devotional from Our Daily Bread and a prayer I found at my mom’s house after she passed away.
My favorite quotes are… “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” – Winston Churchill and “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
My runner-up career was… my first career at Duke Power Company, now Duke Energy. I spent 27 years there and literally had four different careers within one great company.
I relieve stress by… going to the mountains or riding my motorcycle. Enjoying the two together is a great combination.
Keep up with Winston on Twitter at @WinstonKelley.
Winston Kelley, NASCAR Hall of Fame, NASCAR, Duke Power, Motor Racing Network, MRN, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, 600 Festival Assocaition
Keeping your audience engaged during any type of live event is crucial. Natalie Epperly, senior director of client services who has produced events at JHE since 2005, shares three basic principles that will set your live event apart and make it one the audience remembers.
Set the tone early.
It only takes 30 seconds to make a lasting impression and research has shown that first impressions usually stick. When consumers first step into the event footprint, give them an introduction to what your event is about by appealing to all five senses. Utilize music, lights, sounds and smells. For example, JHE recently used the sound of race cars and NASCAR fans paired with bright lights at the NASCAR Garage Bar & Grill in Daytona to let attendees know they were entering something really cool and different.
Create “wow” moments throughout the event.
During an event, it’s important to maximize your assets. If you know you have access to drivers, celebrities, giveaways or other cool items, spread them out during the event. It’s important to create “wow” moments throughout the entire show so your audience doesn’t get bored or take anything for granted. During NASCAR After the Lap, we’ve had opportunities to showcase Jeff Gordon break dancing, given away VIP race experiences and a Ford vehicle giveaway. By spacing it out throughout the show, fans stayed interested and engaged.
Keep them wanting more.
At the end of every live event, the goal is for your audience to leave wanting more. Create this feeling with a spectacular grand finale. Like the impressive ending to a fireworks show, those final moments are the last chance you have to engage your audience. Make the most of it with something that will blow them away. As guests leave, offer a branded memento to constantly remind them of the great experience they had at your event. Each guest will leave counting down the days to your next one.
About the Expert: Natalie Epperly, senior director of client services, has been producing events at JHE since 2005. She currently oversees production of all NASCAR events, including NASCAR After the Lap for the past three years, in addition to various other special events at JHE. She graduated from Belmont Abbey College with a major in sports management.
Natalie Epperly, NASCAR, NASCAR Garage Bar & Grill, Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR After the Lap, Jeff Gordon, Ford,
It all began with a challenge from a paper company in 2004 to create a networking opportunity for NASCAR’s partners. Since then, the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council has evolved into a full-day award winning platform that’s been called “one of the best assets in professional sports” by The Wall Street Journal. And JHE is proud to have been a part of bringing this vision to life since 2009.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council continues to be devoted to its mission: “Foster B2B development among NASCAR Official Partners with a goal of greater ROI for all.” The quarterly meetings bring together the sport’s official partners to share best practices, discover insights and create connections in an exclusive, invite-only setting. In exchange, the participating members are committed to working with each other to identify potential business-to-business opportunities.
When the council first began, each meeting welcomed about half as many attendees as it does today. It also looked a lot different; the team was set up in a hotel conference room with a PowerPoint presentation that was manually flipped.
Today, the meetings are elaborate productions that draw about 100 executives from some of the most recognizable Fortune 500 companies nationwide, including Coca-Cola, Ford and Hewlett-Packard. The full-day meetings include guest speakers, best practice discussions and “speed meetings.” The “speed meetings,” one-on-one private discussions between brands to discuss potential business opportunities, are often the highlight of the day.
Since its founding, NASCAR Fuel for Business Council has facilitated millions of dollars in annual revenue and savings to Official NASCAR Partners.
“The NASCAR Fuel For Business Council helps our official partners grow their businesses by providing them a return on their investment in the sport,” said Norris Scott, NASCAR vice president of partnership marketing. “We facilitate these council meetings, so official partners can not only buy and sell each other’s products, but partner around activation also.”
For the 10th anniversary, NASCAR chose Las Vegas, San Francisco, Detroit and Miami as meeting locations. JHE was enlisted to create a new stage and signage to travel to all four meetings that matches the celebratory tone. The meeting in Detroit will be slightly different as its NASCAR’s first time meeting outside of a hotel and also its first time in the city. JHE will bring the vision to life organically in the Henry Ford Museum.
NASCAR relies on JHE because the team consists of collaborative, hard workers who make the impossible happen. The NASCAR team describes JHE as dedicated to their mission of “your vision, our passion.”
JHE is proud to have been a part of evolving this program and looks forward to continuing to bring one of NASCAR’s most important assets to life for its 10th anniversary and beyond.
NASCAR, NASCAR Fuel for Business Council, Wall Street Journal, Coca-Cola, Ford, Hewlett-Packard, Official NASCAR Partners, Norris Scott, Henry Ford Museum
Dana Lent may have fallen into her career at NASCAR, but she wouldn’t change it for the world. The California native currently serves as the director of marketing platforms at NASCAR overseeing a department that conceptualizes, develops, manages and executes assets for the official partners of NASCAR. Working with a creative, hardworking and determined team inspires and challenges her every day.
Before joining the NASCAR team she managed sponsorship programs at Toyota/Saatchi including helping to launch Toyota into the Truck Series. Prior to that, she worked at GMR managing Visa’s NASCAR sponsorship.
The University of Arizona grad values family more than anything and cherishes the time she gets to spend with mom and dad in California and sister in London. While she has always been a dog person, she really fell in love when she met Harley, her 8-year-old Shih Tzu.
Q&A with Dana:
- What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? As silly as this sounds, I am most proud (to date) that I survived eight years in New York City. I am proud of the woman I am and what I learned from living and working in NYC (but I knew it was time for something else).
- What is the best part of working for NASCAR? The imaginative and creative culture at NASCAR makes me enjoy coming to work every day.
- Why did you choose your career path? I really fell into this career with NASCAR. Before I started working in the industry, I was managing sponsorship programs for Lexus and Toyota and loved what I was doing (what 24-year-old wouldn’t?). I was asked by Toyota to be a part of a team to help them launch into the Truck Series. I had no idea what NASCAR was, and to be honest had no interest, but they took me to a truck race in Fontana and Las Vegas and I was committed. As a young marketer, I saw a ton of great opportunities in the sport that I wanted to be a part of. From the moment I started working in the sport, I loved it.
- What is the best part of working with JHE? The people! The JHE team consists of some of the most devoted individuals in the sport. They put so much into making their client’s vision come to life. We love challenging and pushing the JHE team to the limits and watching them create something spectacular!
- What is your best tip for success? A positive attitude or outlook. It’s harder than it seems but if you keep it positive, things tend to work themselves out.
Five Things You Might Not Know About Dana…
- My family is… everything to me! Not living near them makes the time that I have with them even more special and meaningful.
- My favorite sport is… college basketball, especially Pac-12 and the University of Arizona.
- My favorite vacation yet was to… Tahoe, Calif. There is something that is so peaceful yet adventurous, simple yet outrageous and all around comfortable about Tahoe. I love to visit any time of the year whether I’m skiing down the slopes or sitting on the Pier of Chambers Landing. Since I’ve made the move east I haven’t been back to Tahoe but I am going back for the first time in nine years this summer with my family. Should be a special couple of days.
- My favorite quote is… “Danceas though no one is watching you, love as though you have never been hurt before, sing as though no one can hear you, live as though heaven is on earth.”
- The best concert I’ve ever seen is… my first concert in 8th grade, AC/DC Money Talks Tour – amazing!
Keep up with Dana on Twitter at @drlent07
Dana Lent, NASCAR, Toyota
As managing director of corporate events at NASCAR, Cory Posocco develops, manages and produces premier NASCAR events, such as award shows, induction ceremonies, press conferences, summits, media days, at-track hospitality and more. For each event, “the details matter,” says Posocco. “They make good events great.” The event he is most proud of to-date is identifying, securing and producing the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards the inaugural year in Las Vegas.
Prior to joining NASCAR 12 years ago, the Connecticut-native served as director of marketing at Stafford Motor Speedway where he coordinated and implemented marketing and public relations efforts, produced and directed all pre- and post-race activities, and organized special events at track. Posocco received his associate degree in business administration at Dean College and graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in finance.
Q&A with Cory
- What is the best lesson from college that still applies to your job? Failing is not an option.
- What is the best career advice you ever received? “Don’t mess up my show.” – Jack Arute Sr.
- What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Identifying and securing a new host property for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Awards Ceremony when the show was moved from The Waldorf Astoria in New York City to Las Vegas and then producing the inaugural NSCS Ceremony Awards at Wynn Las Vegas later that year.
- What is the biggest myth about your job? That my job starts with February’s Daytona 500 and ends in November at the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Two of our busiest months of the year are December and January.
- What is the insider secret to your job? Details matter. They make good events great.
- What is the best part of working with JHE? Recalling the opportunity Jay Howard afforded me before my NASCAR days to travel to Charlotte to help out with JHE’s opening ceremonies events at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
- What has most impressed you about JHE? I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of the company. I respect small business success stories. It’s what makes our country great.
Eleven Things You May Not Know About Cory
- I spend my weekends… when I’m not traveling, dinner at Terra Mia on Friday, Winter Park Farmers Market on Saturday and watching NASCAR on Sunday.
- The one person I’ve always wanted to meet is… I’ve met a lot of talented and interesting people but I would still like to meet the lead singer of my favorite 80s/90s rock ‘n’ roll band, Jeff Keith from Tesla.
- Who or what inspires you? Since Sept. 20, 2011, I’m most proud of my daughter Sofia Rosemary. Love her.
- My family is… keeping me busy! Our daughter is almost two and gains more and more energy each day.
- My favorite sport is… hockey and the Carolina Hurricanes (besides NASCAR, of course).
- My favorite vacation yet was to… the Grand Canyon. It’s such an amazing place. Hiking the South Kaibab Trail, camping overnight at Phantom Ranch and hiking out on the Bright Angel Trail was exhausting, inspiring and unforgettable.
- The product that should be invented is… more of a service versus product, but Starbucks delivery.
- My favorite quote is… “Good luck is the result of good planning.”
- My runner-up career would have been… I still have a passion for short-track racing so something along those lines.
- I don’t leave home without… stopping at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.
- Anything else interesting people should know about you? I actually have racing experience. I raced Quarter Midgets from the age of 7 to 16.
To keep up with Posocco, follow him on Twitter at @cposocco.
Cory Posocco, NASCAR, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards, Stafford Motor Speedway, Florida Atlantic University, Carolina Hurricanes, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts
NASCAR recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of NASCAR Green in Chicago with help from JHE. Founded on NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France's vision, NASCAR Green has grown into one of the most powerful environmental awareness platforms in the country. The program aims to reduce the environmental impact of the sport by focusing on initiatives aimed at reducing waste and emissions along with working to create power.
The sport entity has created the largest recycling, tree planting and renewable energy programs of all other sports programs. Since launch, Coca-Cola and Coors Light have recycled more than 15 million beverage containers at NASCAR race tracks, Goodyear and Liberty Tire Recycling have recycled more than 120,000 Goodyear race tires, nearly 5 million competitive miles have been traveled using Sunoco Green E15, more than 200,000 gallons of race-used oil has been collected and re-refined by Safety-Kleen Systems and UPS and the Arbor Foundation have led the planting of more than 8,000 trees.
The 2013 NASCAR Green Summit Delivered by UPS highlighted the major factors that have contributed to NASCAR Green’s success and positive impact on the sport’s environmental footprint. Executives from some of the most recognizable nationwide brands, such as Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company, Eaton, General Motors, Liberty Tire, Safety-Kleen, Sprint, Sunoco, Toyota and presenting partner UPS, were on-site to support the program.
The four-hour conference included powerful speeches from influencers including: Former Vice President of the United States and Chairman of The Climate Reality Project Al Gore; Retired U.S. Army General Wesley K. Clark; U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Richter; Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Lead Scientist Allen Hershkowitz; Deputy Undersecretary for Science and Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy Dr. Michael Knotek; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Senior Policy Counsel in the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Matt Bogoshian; President of NASCAR Mike Helton; and CEO and Chairman of NASCAR Brian France.
NASCAR also announced a new partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE). The two entities plan to collaborate on advancing the adoption of clean energy technologies. Additionally, NASCAR honored several tracks for their dedication to making a positive impact on the environment: Auto Club Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Daytona International Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Richmond International Raceway, Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.
Prior to arrival in Chicago, JHE spent three months developing stage concepts, room layouts and overall event design. One of the biggest obstacles was learning a new venue, Six10, which was the event location.
On-site the JHE team, which included Natalie Epperly, Dan Mott, Brad Smith, Jacob Meadows, Mike Mehesan and Cassie Brickman, handled staging, setup, backdrop installation, audio/video, branding, signage and provided support to NASCAR.
JHE is proud to be a part of this important environmental conservation program with partner NASCAR.
NASCAR, NASCAR Green, Brian France, Coca-Cola, Coors Light, Goodyear, Liberty Tire Recycling, Sunoco, UPS, Safety-Kleen Systems, Arbor Foundation, NASCAR Green Summit, Al Gore, Mike Helton,
Working with JHE for the past five years, Matt Shulman has been most impressed by the people and company culture. Shulman, who serves as NASCAR’s managing director of marketing platforms, manages a department that provides strategic direction, content development and creative solutions to more than 40 official partners, licensees and automotive partners of the sanctioning body.
Based in NASCAR’s New York office, Shulman’s biggest achievements include launching a national marketing partnership with one of the country’s largest retailers, producing award-winning live events, conceptualizing the company’s first web-based sponsorship product and developing some of the first NASCAR social media campaigns.
Previous to joining the NASCAR team six years ago, Shulman worked in media and film at CBS Altitude Group, Studionext.com, Hypnotic and Hill Holiday Advertising.
Q&A with Matt Shulman:
- Describe your job: I work with talented and passionate people throughout NASCAR to create exclusive assets and marketing platforms for NASCAR partners.
- The best career advice you ever received: “It’s a process.”
- Accomplishment you are most proud of: NASCAR’s 2012 “American Hero Salutes” Facebook campaign. The campaign recognized, honored and enabled NASCAR fans to personally thank the men, women and families of those that serve our country.
- Best part of working with JHE: JHE’s can do, client first culture.
- What has most impressed you about JHE: The people. The entire team is passionate, generous, creative, fun and, above all, dedicated.
Five Things People Might Not Know About Matt:
- The product that should be invented is… Coffee that doesn’t stain a work shirt.
- My favorite quote is… “Those who can, build. Those who can’t criticize.” -Robert Moses
- My runner-up career would be… Producing live music festivals.
- I don’t leave home without… My Sprint iPhone, my Fly Delta app, Snapchat to stay connected with my kids and my house keys. My iPhone has everything I need, and I need my house keys to get into my house.
- Anything else people should know about you? I was in a popular college band. We were asked to play for a few top record companies in New York City, but we all decided together it wasn’t the right time for us. Writing music and playing in a band taught me many great lessons on how to work with talented and creative people in a group setting.
To learn more about Shulman, follow him on Twitter at @mshulmannyc.
Matt Shulman, NASCAR, NASCAR New York, CBS Altitude Group, Studionext.com, Hypnotic, Hill Holiday Advertising, Sprint, iPhone, Fly Delta, Snapchat
South Carolina-native Kristin Thompson has been a part of the JHE family for the past five years. A graduate from Coastal Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, the event coordinator in JHE’s special events department started her career as a marketing assistant with the USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series. Working on everything from series merchandise design and sales, hospitality coordination and pre- and post-race events for the short-track racing series, Kristin garnered an immense amount of experience that laid the groundwork for her current role.
Planning and executing special events at JHE is no easy task. Kristin has learned you can never be too prepared and always need to be able to roll with the punches. Being able to see the big picture is what enables her to succeed in planning events such as NASCAR Summit.
Q&A with Kristin:
- Biggest myth about your job: That event planning is easy.
- The best career advice you ever received: Not to second guess your gut instinct; it’s typically always right.
- Accomplishment at JHE you are most proud of: I can honestly say that I am proud of everything I have been able to be a part of in the past 5 years – we do some really cool stuff. I’d say the event I most enjoyed working on was the NASCAR Garage Bar & Grill. I was fortunate to be a part of the conceptualization process with NASCAR and was able to see it all the way through to execution. The event was a totally different spin on the previous year and the décor was just awesome. It was a really rewarding feeling to see their vision come to life so beautifully.
- What makes you good at your job: Being able to see the big picture amidst all of the little details without losing sight of how important the little details are to the overall event. I am also OCD about organization which is completely necessary to keep everything in order. I make a killer event notebook… with lots and lots of tabs.
- Best part of working at JHE: The people. I am amazed at how well everyone here gets along and genuinely cares about each other. I’ve never experienced a work culture quite like this.
- The best lesson from college that still applies to your job: Don’t drink too much the night before a big test. And don’t procrastinate.
- Tell us about overseeing NASCAR Summit: My role pre-event was to work closely with the AV and operations departments in addition to the client to create the final stage design. I also wrote the contracts and built and managed the event budget. On site, I served as the liaison between our technical staff and the client, transferring information and presentations as well as making sure the staff at the event had everything they needed to be successful.
NASCAR Garage Bar & Grill
Eight things about Kristin you may not know…
- My first job was… a summer job at Myrtle Waves Water Park when I was 16.
- My family is… awesomely different.
- I spend my Saturdays… Depends on the weekend. A lot of my Saturdays are spent working events so when I’m home I try to make the most of it. But most of the time, I end up sleeping in way longer than I intended J
- My favorite sport is… college football. Go Clemson Tigers!
- I don’t leave home without… besides the necessities (wallet, phone, etc.), chapstick. Can’t go anywhere without it. That and a spare rubber band.
- My favorite vacation yet was… While it wasn’t a long vacation, a few other co-workers and I (and one cardboard cutout of Tony Stewart) went to Key West after the November NASCAR Fuel for Business Council Meeting that was held in Miami. It was a great time! We met a lot of interesting people while we were carrying around Flat Tony; he was very popular on the island.
- My favorite quote is… anything that comes out of Terry Hodges’ or Ronnie Oehler’s mouth is typically pretty good but most can’t be repeated.
- Anything else interesting people should know about you? If you ever walk into our office there is a good chance you will find me standing on my desk talking to the rest of the first floor.
NASCAR Garage Bar & Grill, USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series, NASCAR Summit, Sonoma Raceway, Coastal Carolina University
Since 2009, JHE has implemented the NASCAR Fuel for Hospitality program, taking place in cities across the country with the Fortune 500 companies that are officially engaged in the sport.
To highlight one of the many amazing NASCAR Fuel for Hospitality events JHE has had the pleasure to work on, we started with the first …
At the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale, NASCAR and Aflac played host to 80 guests from a variety of Official Partner sponsors, agencies, business and industry guests. The NASCAR Fuel for Hospitality Business and Brunch was a forum for casual business-to-business interaction and business development among the organizations.
To assist with entertaining their premier Fortune 500 partners, NASCAR procured JHE to manage the at-track hospitality event during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Among the guests entertained were Coca Cola, Sprint, Mars Chocolate North America/M&M’s, Bank of America, GMR-Miller Coors, Ford Motor Company, Office Depot, United Parcel Service, Nationwide Insurance and Tissot. In addition, the cast of “The Deadliest Catch” were special guests at the event.
JHE immediately devised a plan that would provide a forum for casual business-to-business interaction and integrate the event’s sponsor - Aflac’s brand - with Miami-style décor, the primary goals for both NASCAR and Aflac.
The space available for this party was two garage bays at the race track. To provide a classy affair in a garage bay required JHE organizers to transform the entire space and create a sense of intimacy in an open area.
One of the biggest challenges organizers faced was load in and setup to make over the two garage bays. On Saturday, the day before the party, the garage was home to the NASCAR Nationwide Series and actively used by race teams.
To convert the space, JHE purchased, transported and installed black indoor/outdoor carpet in two 15 feet wide by 25 feet deep garage bays. The carpet had to be rolled out by hand and hand cut to best fit the space. Black pipe and drape were strategically positioned around the perimeter walls to make the hosting area more intimate and upscale.
Engaging a local vendor, JHE rented and managed placement of all of the tables, chairs, linens and table servings. In addition, the vendor also provided a white picket fence to section off the hospitality space and an outdoor patio for attendees to enjoy the Miami weather.
To spice up the garage bay with a Miami flavor, four modern furniture groupings were incorporated including eight tangerine-colored chairs accented with white pillows, eight tangerine-colored ottomans and eight black-end tables.
The biggest challenge was a detailed setup in such a short time with only a small team performing the tasks and coordinating logistics with a client located out of state. Organizers’ devised such a solid plan that it overcame those challenges and delivered a classy event that served key corporate partners.
NASCAR Fuel for Hospitality, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Aflac