The 11th annual ACM HONORS™, an evening dedicated to celebrating the special award honorees and off-camera category winners from the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards, took place Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. CSM Production’s Bert Hensley has worked for many years with the Academy of Country Music on the red carpet for the ACM HONORS™, and our team once again managed the design and production for this very special event.
As the stars came out to honor some of the biggest names in country music, the 90-foot carpet along with a truss structure with custom-designed and printed backdrops and branding elements welcomed guests.
Held at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium, the show was taped to air Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. Special award recipients included Kelsea Ballerini, Toby Keith, Bob Kingsley, Reba McEntire, the television series Nashville, Dolly Parton, Shel Silverstein (posthumously) and George Strait.
Show day starts with an alarm and quick glance at the weather forecast. Live event production, especially outdoor shows, are so impacted by the weather, and this event was no exception. As producers, much of our work is in the preparation and anticipation of different scenarios, including weather contingency plans. We have a tent on standby should mother nature choose not to cooperate with our plans, but fortunately, the forecast trend of dry weather that started the day before has continued, and today is going to be a glorious late summer day. Perhaps we can attribute it to the Total Solar Eclipse that Nashville experienced less than 48 hours prior to the show?
After a quick consultation with our client, I contact the tent company to let them know that we will not be utilizing the tent we had on standby.
I arrive at the show site to make sure everything is in order in advance of our 8:00am start, only to find a beer delivery truck parked right on the spot of our red carpet. With the event happening just off Nashville’s Lower Broadway, which houses the famous Honky Tonk bars, the seemingly round-the-clock party needs to replenish the beer for the day, so early morning deliveries are a regular occurrence. After 15-20 minutes, the driver emerges from the alley and indicates he only has a couple more handcart loads left, and will be out of the way in no time.
With the beer truck gone, and our security on-site to officially shut down 5th Avenue, we are cleared to begin our load-in. It is going to be a hectic 7-hour set-up.
CSM Production’s Jimmy Wenz and Ashley Tobin Rutherford instruct the crew on the plan to unload the box truck of gear and event assets.
Not only do we arrive early to begin set-up, but a few eager fans usually arrive the night before the show to claim a front row spot to see the stars arrive. This year, these folks spent the night on the sidewalk. Our crew begins placing the more than 600ft of bike rack barricades used to contain the crowd.
With the first sections of truss built and in place, we are starting to see some progress on the build-out of our structure. This location is challenging because of the severe grade change from one end of the set-up to the other. Nothing like producing a red carpet event on a hill.
The first of this year’s branding is going into place, with 75 feet of step & repeat banners and graphic signage to follow.
We are in the home-stretch now, with the Blue Carpet rolled out and ready for the publicists to do their thing to prep for the media arrival.
We are show ready. The past two hours we made an incredible push to get this thing in place.
Media arrives to set-up their gear in advance of the carpet officially opening.
The ACM Honors Red (Blue) Carpet is open and honorees, presenters and performers mark their arrival with a walk down the media gauntlet.
Thomas Rhett takes a selfie with the lady who camped out overnight on the sidewalk!
Reba’s in the house.
Chip Esten, who plays “Deacon” on the CMT television show Nashville, was on-hand to accept the 2017 Tex Ritter Film Award, which recognizes an outstanding television movie or series, or feature film which prominently features country music.
As the carpet winds down and the artists make their way inside the Ryman for the start of the taping of the show, our crew begins the load-out. I’ve coordinated with the security officers to allow Jimmy and Ashley to back our trucks into place. With the full crew back after a short break from the set-up, it all starts to come down. Banners and carpet are rolled up, and the truss structure is dismantled piece by piece over the next three hours. Jimmy and Ashley lead the crew, with the goal of being finished as close to 10pm as possible, when the street is supposed to re-open.
With the strike well under way, I go in to check on some drape that we supplied as part of a People Magazine photo shoot in the upper lobby of the auditorium. En route, I catch the end of the Toby Keith performance, and the start of the Kelsea Ballerini segment. That young lady is off to a great start and has the potential for a very long, successful career.
On another pass through the building, I hear clever Brad Paisley say that when he sees Dolly Parton he always thinks of the Smoky Mountains… followed by an acoustic cover of Dolly’s “My Tennessee Mountain Home.”
Ashley and Jimmy have both trucks loaded and there are just a few signage assets still being used in various areas surrounding and inside the Ryman. After a sweep of the block and building to collect those items, the truck doors are closed and they pull away.
I arrive home after a long day. The Fitbit reads 21,703 steps, 10.18 miles and 8,021 calories burned, and my body is feeling the results of those numbers. But I don’t want to go to bed just yet. My wife has been in Spain for 16 days and arrived home today, so we spend some time talking about her travel adventures and the show. As the clock rolls over into Thursday, I finally force myself to sleep for a few hours before boarding a flight to Raleigh-Durham at 5:30am, and on to another project.
Who doesn’t like a good celebration? In case you missed it May 18, the NASCAR Silver Bullet Bash presented by Coors Light was the place to be.
Held at The Fillmore, more than 1,000 Coors Light-invited guests enjoyed a concert featuring country music artist Maren Morris. The Texas-born singer-songwriter is the reigning 2016 CMA New Artist of the Year including nominations for Best New Artists at the 59th annual Grammy Awards. Her debut single, “My Church,” is the lead single from her debut full-length, HERO, which earned her a Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance.
From 8 – 9 p.m., industry and consumer guests mingled for a pre-party in an outdoor beer garden while the Steven Metz Band performed. Known for its high-energy music, Steven Metz and band travel the Southeast with an array of cover songs featuring country, rock and popular tunes.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Ryan Blaney served as party hosts with special appearances by Brad Keselowski, Corey LaJoie and Brennan Poole.
And of course, CSM Production was on hand to ensure a successful party. The team provided overall event management, production and branding.
In addition, CSM created a red-carpet experience complete with five-foot-tall, 40-feet long NASCAR bar mark for guest photos. Lighting effects created an exciting atmosphere leading into a party inside the Fillmore.
Inside, CSM branded five areas with a mix of Coors Light and NASCAR brands as well as the imagery of the Coors Light iconic mountains and various track shots. Each bar also had a custom look incorporating the NASCAR Silver Bullet Bash event brand.
As one of the official partners of Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium, SunTrust Bank called on CSM to activate its sponsorship with a dinner for 110 VIP clients and guests.
The exclusive dinner on April 26, 2017, featured some of Nashville’s most successful songwriters performing hits they wrote for country music’s biggest artists. This year’s event brought songwriters from SMACK Songs to the stage of the Mother Church of Country Music, including Shane McAnally, multiple Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter and record producer. The Academy of Country Music named him Songwriter of the Year in 2014, and in 2015, he was the Billboard Hot Country Songwriter of the Year.
Other performers at the special affair included Josh Osborne, one of Nashville’s go-to hit makers with number one songs by Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, and Keith Urban, accompanied by Jo Smith, an up-and-comer on the Music Row scene.
CSM Production oversaw production of this special event for SunTrust, including the décor, catering and custom printed graphics.
“Bert and his team at CSM have helped make the “Dinner on the Ryman Stage” our most successful event in Nashville,” said Missy Williams, vice president of marketing activation and engagement at SunTrust. “From the idea phase to execution, they offer creativity, professionalism and enthusiasm for creating the perfect, one-of-a-kind experience for our guests.”
On Saturday, May 6, 2017, at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina, more than 300 of the most breathtaking automobiles will converge on the fairways of the iconic golf course for the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance.
The fifth annual event has been produced and promoted by CSM Production since inception. A team of more than 25 plan and execute this growing affair “soup to nuts” which includes sponsorship sales, marketing and public relations, event planning, community engagement, event logistics, ticketing, audio and video, concert production and much more.
In addition, CSM manages the team of elite judges and entrant process.
The collector car showcase features 14 classes of automobiles ranging from American Classics Pre-War to American Sports/Muscle Cars Pre-1975. New for 2017 is the inclusion of Japanese Classics and Modern Super Cars.
While entrants are competing for the top prize of the day, Best of Show, the 2013 and 2016 Best of Show winners – 1938 Steyr 220 Glaser Roadster and 1928 Isotta Fraschini both owned by Peter Boyle - will be on display, defining what a winning automobile looks like.
A master at event entertainment, the Pinehurst Concours also will provide guests with a live performance by award-winning country artist, Sara Evans.
In 1996, Jay Howard, founder and president of CSM Production, received a phone call from the 600 Festival about two months prior to the second “Speed Street”. That phone call would change the course of CSM Production.
Days prior, the former executive producer had resigned and naturally with an event pending, the organization was desperate to get a solution in place. That solution, CSM Production, would gather up the pieces and produce its first of 22 Speed Street events, now known as Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola.
Fast forward two decades and CSM Production is in the midst of planning five 600 Festival events in the Charlotte region that commemorate the May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
This year’s lineup includes Movies on the Campus in conjunction with Jiggy with the Piggy in Kannapolis on May 5; Haulers on Union presented by Freightliner in Concord on May 18; Little 600 at GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville on May 23; the PNC Speed Street 5K on May 25; and Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola in uptown Charlotte May 25-27.
Most notably, CSM Production records its 22nd year producing Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola. The team held nothing back in securing a stellar lineup of live entertainment including country music stars Jake Owen and Billy Currington; hip hop and R&B disc jockey DJ Jazzy Jeff; and funk band, Lakeside.
The three-day festival takes place May 25-27 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and features a variety of sponsor displays, musical entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars, a variety of food and beverage, a kids’ zone presented by Morris Jenkins and much more. An estimated 250,000 people attend the three-day event that features an average of 15 musical acts, 25 hours of live music and more than 20 driver and guest appearances.
CSM Production manages all aspects of the event such as sponsorship sales, marketing and public relations, event planning, permitting, collaborating with city officials, street closures, event logistics, ticketing, audio and video, concert production and much more.
With CSM Production’s commitment to innovation and the science of event production, it was only befitting that the organization lent its expertise to Google for its event presence at the March 25 Atlanta Science Festival.
The Atlanta Science Festival is the metropolitan’s largest interactive science event. Held in Centennial Olympic Park, the mission of the festival is to encourage science exploration, discovery and innovation. With more than 100 exhibits, adults and children alike had their passions sparked by the opportunities for hands-on experimentation.
Naturally, Google, a game-changing innovator, wanted to be at the heart of that effort.
With two weeks to plan and produce “Google Village,” CSM Production worked collaboratively with Google’s agency, Jackson Spalding, and the Atlanta Science Festival to coordinate logistics. The trio assumed responsibility for corralling ideas, opinions and bringing the vision to life. With multiple hands on deck, it took an extra amount of coordination to manage vendors and communicate clearly with all parties involved.
The nearly 30-year-old event production company captured the pre-event management role, coordinated details for the 40 by 60 science tent, provided a stage deck and skirt, delivered four TVs as well as supplemental furniture in partnership with AFR Furniture.
Within the science tent, various activation zones were created to allow guests to interact with Google products. From the Google Gravity Games soap box derby car to a lounge for resting to product touchpoints, Google had thousands of guests travel through Google Village.
CSM’s client at Google shared that the “event was lovely, and they are looking ahead to their next event with CSM.” Similarly, Jackson Spalding noted that our “CSM on-site leaders (Nate Poirer and John Hawley) were awesome to work with.”
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.
As one of the nation’s premier event producers, the CSM Production team spends countless hours creating memorable, best-in-class event experiences for its clients. Our goal is to take you behind the scenes to see what goes in to the production of an event. While this is just a snapshot of a day or several days, it’s a sense of who we are and why CSM prides itself not only on its people but the quality of work we deliver.
Showcasing the two-day execution of the annual Belk Bowl FanFest and concert, Brad Smith takes us through his experience as the lead producer for the highly-anticipated fan festival in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Wednesday, Dec. 28
Get out of bed and get ready to head towards Bank of America Stadium.
On my way towards uptown, I get a call from the portable restroom rental company asking where to drop the restroom units. I let him know that he might want to wait on putting out any restrooms since the streets aren’t closed yet. That could be a pretty nasty mess.
Arrive uptown and park in anticipation of the street closures for the festival footprint.
The “production cavalry” arrives to BB&T Ballpark to begin load in of all production needs for the Tim McGraw stage that was built the night prior in center field.
The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) officially closes the streets for the festival footprint. Belk Bowl FanFest load in can begin.
Early vendor load in begins along Mint Street near Bank of America Stadium as does the side stage at Mint St. and the two 16’x9’ video structures at Mint Street and the other at Romare Bearden Park.
Generators for the FanFest get dropped off at Mint Street.
Walk back to the site to see how much progress has been made with vendor load in. Everything seems to be clipping along.
The LED screen structures are starting to take shape and the LED video tiles are beginning to be flown.
A few of us break off to begin running the fiber optic cable from BB&T Ballpark to the two video screens. One is at Romare Bearden Park and the other is all the way over at Bank of America Stadium. Approximately 3000 feet of cable needs to be run.
We wonder why we decide to run the fiber across the streets during rush hour! We carry on despite our added degree of difficulty.
Fiber has been connected to both remote locations and of course, traffic has died down now.
I walk from the FanFest location on Mint Street over to Romare Bearden Park to check in and then head over to the Tim McGraw stage in the BB&T Ballpark. The guys have made some headway but still have a few things to finish up and tech out. Looks like maybe two more hours of plugging, programing and testing to go.
After a few minor snags and delays, it looks like we will be done in about two more hours.
Everything is ready for the Tim McGraw load in tomorrow morning. Some extra prep had to be made to prevent any water damage to the gear as we have showers expected overnight. Time to head home and get some sleep.
Thursday, Dec 29
My dog is petrified of rain. It is raining. My dog makes sure that I am aware of the changing weather conditions. I try to go back to sleep.
My wake-up alarm rings. Time to get back at it.
Arrive on site just as the rain stops. Lucky for us, it only rained while we weren’t on site.
Finish up a quick meeting with the crew before we all go our separate ways.
I walk FanFest to make sure there are no issues with any of the vendors loading in.
I notice that one of our Eazy-Up tents that is above the tech equipment is full of water. I painstakingly dump the water off the tent so that I do not get doused. And of course, I step in a puddle.
I have a wet right shoe and sock. Load in of vendors and displays continue.
Tim McGraw’s crew begins load in with our production staff at the main stage at BB&T Ballpark.
With things underway at the ballpark, I make my way back to FanFest after a quick check in at Romare Bearden Park.
FanFest is starting to fill in with all the assorted vendors, displays and food trucks.
I walk back to BB&T Ballpark from FanFest for a quick meeting with Tim McGraw’s security lead, CMPD, FBI, Show Pros and Charlotte Fire Department (CFD).
During the meeting, I get an e-mail request to add some gear to the tent order of one of our displays. The Belk Bowl FanFest is open in 47 minutes; better hurry.
The tent rental company is unable to get the needed gear from their shop to the event in time. So, we send a couple of our guys there to pick it up.
Belk Bowl FanFest opens and the added gear is about to arrive on site.
I meet with radio personality and emcee for the side stage at FanFest, Captain Jim. We go over his duties and key talking points.
Get the Carolina Panthers’ Pep Squad ready to go on stage, and then cue Capt. Jim to start doing his thing.
I get a call that CFD is concerned that there are no trash receptacles out yet at FanFest. Thousands of people with food and beverage and no place to dispose of the trash is big problem. After a quick chat with the fire chief in mobile command, I walk the footprint while calling my contact for the city to relay the news. He immediately got things rectified and a potentially big mess was avoided.
The FanFest is in full swing. People are starting to fill in and walk thru all the displays while the band Blue Honey is performing on the FanFest stage.
While I am at FanFest, I get a call from our crew at BB&T Ballpark that the 40-foot wide backdrop banner has been blown off the stage. I quickly make my way back up to the ballpark.
I make it up to the ballpark to see if it is possible to get the banner back up. Unfortunately, due to the wind, it cannot be safely rehung. After watching the wind a bit longer, the decision is made to drop the speaker scrim banners as well.
Blue Honey finishes their set on the FanFest stage and the crew begins the set change over to Michael Cosner, who will be playing later in the day.
Tim McGraw is scheduled to be on stage in center field at BB&T Ballpark.
Tim McGraw is finally on stage and begins playing his hits to the fans. The video feed of his show is displayed on the two LED screens that we provided at Romare Bearden Park and at the FanFest location near Bank of America Stadium.
Tim McGraw finishes his show and Michael Cosner begins his set at the FanFest stage.
FanFest is closed and fans are now entering the stadium for the Virginia Tech vs. Arkansas game.
Tear down is underway and picking up pace as the streets begin to thin out and clear room for all our road cases, fork lifts and trucks to maneuver.
Kick off! The Belk Bowl is officially underway.
A couple of us start collecting all fiber optic cable that we had woven through uptown the day before.
I play the role of first responder after Brandy trips on the sidewalk near me. At least I think her name was Brandy. That was what was written on the side of her solo cup. After getting her upright, untangling her sunglasses from her hair and giving her a few tissues for her badly bloodied nose, she could proceed under her own power … presumably to the game.
Our trucks and trailers are beginning to fill up. As they do, they head back to the shop one by one.
Strike complete! It is time to head home. I need to get some rest before I head to the mountains for some snow tubing with the family tomorrow.
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As one of the nation’s premier event producers, JHE’s team spends countless hours creating memorable, best-in-class event experiences for its clients. However, that entails a not-so-glamorous life of late nights and early mornings; details, details and more details; and fitting in a little fun in between.
Our goal is to take you behind the scenes to see what goes in to the production of an event. While this is just a snapshot of a day or several days, it’s a sense of who we are and why JHE prides itself not only on its people but the quality of work we deliver.
For our first day-in-the-life spotlight, the audacious and full-of-life Kristin Thompson, director of special events, takes us through several days leading up to the annual NASCAR After The Lap which took place Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016.
NASCAR After The Lap - A Day In The Life
Monday, Nov. 28
The alarm goes off. Did I even sleep? The dog did. My movie didn't download overnight - awesome. It's going to be a long flight to Las Vegas with no entertainment.
Arrive at MYR (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina). It's been nine years since I last flew out of MYR ... to go to my interview at JHE, in fact. Parking here is super close – no busses to get on; oddly expensive compared to Charlotte, though. My bag is 51.5 pounds. The gate agent makes me take out one shoe which doesn't make my bag underweight so I'm not sure what the point was. Hopefully my bag doesn't get lost. Otherwise I'm going to dinner tonight with one shoe.
I underestimated the number of people that would be on the upgrade list ahead of me. Bummer. Wheels up to Charlotte to meet the rest of the crew.
Arrived in Charlotte. Ready for a giant Starbucks and some grub.
No dice on the upgrade to Las Vegas either. Coffee is delicious. However, the person sitting in between Natalie (Epperly) and I is way too tall for this plane. I feel sorry for him.
10:10 a.m. (PST)
Coffee #2 in hand and we are at baggage claim. Easy flight thanks to the free movies that American offers! Little bit of turbulence so we only feared for our lives once. Not a ton on the schedule today. Mainly get the trucks parked and check out a new event space in Las Vegas.
Check in with the venue contacts, test internet lines, pick up tickets, check in with Eddie (our truck driver extraordinaire), confirm signage install time, coffee #3
Meet for a site check at Park Theater.
Men at work photo!
Beer! Been in Vegas for almost a whole day and just got around to having a drink. Surely that’s some sort of record.
Dinner with the client (Dana Lent) at Yardbird. Always a good choice.
Cab back to hotel. Boys want to play craps ... girls want one more glass of wine. Refer back to getting up at 3:30 a.m. EST. Ouch.
Tuesday, Nov. 29
Wake up! Signage install with Design to Print starts promptly at 4 a.m.
It’s so early!
Back in bed for a couple of hours.
Long-time partner, DSS, starts marking the floor and begins production load in. The set this year is so cool. Tons of video.
Natalie heads down to meet the DSS gang, and Tim (Kurek) sets up GoPro cameras to record the set up
I go back downstairs to kick off the rest of day one. I should have just stayed awake. Signage install galore. Kara, Natalie and I get the production office set up so we can function out of it for the week. Home away from home.
Ops team comes in to assemble stage furniture. I don’t envy this job. Allen wrenches are not anyone’s friend.
Dan (Mott) and Matt (Davis) meet for an internal run of show (ROS) overview and rehearsal plan. Gotta practice for practice. Sounds funny but it is actually really beneficial when there are 30 other cooks in the kitchen come show day.
How have I only had one cup of coffee so far today? Only a few install items are left. The install team has been killing it but will have a full day of reprints tomorrow. As with any large-scale event, there are always going to be some hiccups. Thankfully this vendor is really great to work with and always takes great care of us.
The Pearl staff starts setting seats. It’s all coming together and coming together quick!
Unpackage all the autograph items and proof them. Dinner - one piece of deliciously greasy pizza.
Time to catch up on other work. The rest of the crew heads out for the night except for the video team, Natalie and Dan. Reasonably early day. We’ve gotten much more efficient over the year’s. DSS stays late to finish up the stage. It looks so good. The signage on it looks pretty amazing too. Brandon (Stegall) and the fab team made some cool pieces for it.
Shower and bed. Full day of rehearsals tomorrow.
Wednesday, Nov. 30
Coffee #1, final signage install, tweaks on stage set, run of show internal meeting, internet drops for VIP guests and media row and load video content.
Ops staff comes in to prep for rehearsals.
Camera and spotlight operators come in to do a little blocking rehearsal before the client arrives at 1 p.m.
Jimmie Johnson’s car is delivered to be loaded onto the stage. This is always an interesting process. Thank goodness our ops staff can handle anything.
Client arrives for rehearsal as does the fire marshal and NASCAR.com. Sometimes, even with the best planning, everyone is going to show up at once.
Run throughs with video and lighting.
COFFEE and fresh air break (side note – when you’re producing an event in Vegas and you stay onsite you very rarely see the sun. Fresh air breaks are almost as important as coffee). Final tweaks on pretty much everything and some dinner before bed. Tomorrow is going to be a long but really great day. A lot of hard work from a lot of people go into this event. It’s always amazing watching it all come together.
Thursday, Dec. 1 – Game Day!
Everybody is up and at it this morning making sure everything is in tip-top shape for when the event hosts arrive for rehearsal. We meet as a group to walk through any changes that were made last night and review the plan for the morning rehearsal.
Guy Fieri and Rutledge Wood arrive for rehearsal (Guy may have been a tick fashionably late). These two are absolutely hilarious together. There is such an ease with them, true professionals and so, so, so funny.
Kara (Hickerson) gets the autograph tables set up. She is responsible for making sure 16 guys sign about 100 things. It’s chaos, but she does a great job wrangling those guys. I don’t envy that job.
Our vendors for the fan area in the lobby, Hit & Run and Tap Snap, arrive for set up. The fan experience should be really good in the lobby this year. Final script tweaks are underway. Good thing I type fast as this is my job to get finalized before the show so all of the talent can review their parts.
Doors are open. Fans are starting to make their way in to get settled before Victory Lap begins. The t-shirt booth in the lobby is quite the hit!
Victory Lap begins. It’s great that we can stream this event so the fans can watch from their seats. Miss Sprint Cup, Julianna, and I are in the crowd giving away signed hats and tickets to the red carpet at the Awards Ceremony the next night. Fans are loving it.
Drivers arrive, chaos ensues. They have to sign a ton of stuff, get changed and prepped for the show. It’s a lot of people and things happening in a small space.
The show beings. I love when the show starts and each staff member settles into their respective job. It’s like clockwork; no matter how chaotic it sounds on our headsets. My role once the show gets going is to move the talent around as needed. It’s nice because I get to actually enjoy the show.
A fire alarm is going off. Something triggered it but the show must go on. Live events … what can you do?
Update: Fire alarm finally was silenced a few minutes later. At least it went off during intros so it wasn’t AS noticeable.
Drivers and hosts get settled into a rhythm. Lots of good content (and tequila). Honorable mention to Chris Buescher who took his roasting like a champ.
AJ Foyt surprises Tony Stewart. It is truly a Goose Bump moment.
Show ends. I am covered in confetti and streamers thanks to my wonderful colleagues. The drivers were rowdy as usual but so many great moments for the fans. Time for LOAD OUT!
More pizza (it’s so good) and a quick, informal debrief in the dressing room. We get our parts and pieces packed up on the truck. We have a party to get to.
Depart for the Coors Light Silver Bullet Bash. It’s nice to end the night having fun together over some much needed (strong) cocktails. We clean up alright and I will leave it at that.
Friday, Dec. 2
Woke up really early. There are McDonalds wrappers on the night stand. Solid way to end the trip. Back to sleep.
Natalie and the rest of the crew head to the airport to go back to Charlotte. I am on a later flight since I am connecting to Myrtle Beach. I will take all the sleep I can get.
Off to the airport. I need some greasy food and a nap on the plane. See you next year, Las Vegas!
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.
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.
The crisp air of fall and the changing of leaves can only mean one thing … college football, and JHE loves producing events for world-class universities who have a passion for the game.
On Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29, JHE lent its expertise to Wake Forest University to produce a two-day affair designed to entertain alumni, faculty, staff and others.
The relationship with Wake Forest University first developed in 2015 when JHE produced five “Wake Will” fundraising events; one in Charlotte, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., New York, Atlanta and Raleigh, North Carolina.
Following that successful relationship, the university engaged JHE to present new ideas to elevate its homecoming activities to a new level. The JHE creative and special events team collaborated on a variety of ideas to present, many of which were executed.
With a 114 by 82 open-air tent placed on Manchester Plaza on campus, party goers including alumni, faculty, staff and registered guests were welcomed to the area for a private performance by The Spinners. The team also managed signage, event operations, logistics, décor, furniture, screen graphics and also deployed its 16 by 9 Absen Wall for video display.
“Party So Dear” as the event was dubbed took place from 4-7 p.m. with an estimated 2,000 attendees. During the affair, the “Streakin’ Deacon,” Wake Forest’s new bus that travels far and wide to share the Deacon spirit, was unveiled and an address by the University President Nathan Hatch.
After the upscale event concluded, JHE immediately began turning the event space for a second party for young alumni who had graduated in the last four years. A more laid back affair from 9 p.m. to midnight, JHE coordinated keg beer, bar snacks and more for the young at heart.
With little rest but eager for a great homecoming, JHE tackled Saturday with vigor. JHE coordinated furniture, food, signage and concert production featuring the Special Occasion Band with approximately 1,500 guests in attendance prior to kick off. The tailgate took place on Baity Street, close to the football stadium, and convenient for the crowd to stop by for pre-game festivities.
Led by special events director Kristin Thompson, the team of 14 plus additional labor successfully delivered three total events in approximately a 24-hour span.
Success for Wake Forest University was achieved with a 25 percent increase in overall attendance, a successful launch of the DeacOn app, and the exciting debut of the Streakin’ Deacon. The events managed by JHE played a pivotal role in reaching those goals according to Kelly McConnico, executive director of alumni engagement at Wake Forest.
“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with JHE and their partnership was essential to the planning and execution of Wake Forest’s largest ever Homecoming weekend,” said McConnico. “Their work, from the initial idea presentation to the onsite execution, was outstanding and we look forward to working with their team for many years to come.”
A man of many talents, Wes Driver has worked closely with the JHE Nashville team for the last year. As the consulting communications specialist for HCA Healthcare, the Lipscomb University graduate is responsible for communication strategy, content development and video production.
In addition to a full plate during the day, the Mayfield, Kentucky, native also volunteers for Compassion International and for the past six years, he runs a professional theatre company called Blackbird Theater, which produces intellectually challenging, idea-rich plays.
The father of two girls took a few minutes to answer some probing questions about his career, life and interests.
Q&A with Wes
What is the best lesson from college that still applies to your job? Never let the parameters of your position (or a major or a class assignment) inhibit or limit what you’re willing to learn and explore.
What is the biggest myth about your job? When people think about corporate communications, they usually imagine it’s all executive emails and blogs. The written word is, of course, still the lifeblood of what we do. But so much of the influence we have on the organization comes through the strategies we conceptualize and realize, the standards we set and maintain, and the utilization of other media, be it social, video, or other collaborative forms. With the overload of information we all receive, sometimes the best decision we make all day is not to send out another email.
What is the best part of your job? The strong, productive collaboration with the talented team of strategists and designers I have the privilege to work with every day. Our team is gifted in so many unique, complementary ways—those relationships keep me engaged and energized.
What is the best part of working with JHE? They took our concepts and direction, added their own creative input, and elevated our event to levels we did not and could not imagine. From initial discussions about concepts and themes to final execution of our collaborative vision, the team at JHE was sharp, always professional, inventive, and resourceful.
What is your best tip for success? I think the key to success is two-fold: to (as the ancient Greeks would say) “know thyself” while also continually challenging yourself—to be honest about where you are and diligent about where you’re going. The world around us can be fickle and corrupt, and there’s only so much you can control of it. But if you are genuine, honest with yourself and others, and always reaching for personal growth and exploration, you can achieve the success of self-realization—which ain’t easy but can often, in turn, result in outward success. With enough courage and perseverance, you can make some corner of the world conform to your wants and your vision. Or so I hope. I’m still working on this stuff all the time, and often failing at it.
Things people may not know about Wes
The one person I’ve always wanted to meet is … Tom Stoppard. Arguably the greatest living playwright. Unquestionably my favorite. Stoppard turns philosophical discussion into his own unique serio-comedic style and deep-dives into topics I’ve obsessed over for much of my life: art, God, consciousness, metaphysics. I’d love a few minutes or hours or days to talk all that through with him.
My favorite sport is … I’m a pretty big NFL-junkie (a battered and bruised Tennessee Titans fan). One reason I love the sport is that I love cinema and drama, and football is so telegenic.
My favorite movie is … Network. Such a prescient story bursting with powerhouse performances—and Paddy Chayefsky’s script of fireworks. Nothing better.
Compelling TV binge … For me, the best single season of television of the last ten years was Fargo Season 2. It doesn’t get quite the hype of other major shows, but as compelling storytelling, with fascinating characters and that darkly comedic tone (perfectly capturing the Coen Brothers’ gallows humor), it’s peerless.
My favorite quote is … "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." – George Bernard Shaw
On Saturday, Oct. 8 in Nashville, Tennessee, more than 40,000 soccer fans attended the highly-anticipated soccer game pairing Mexico versus New Zealand. It was the Mexico National Team’s (MNT) first time competing at Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans.
JHE worked hand-in-hand with Nissan to create a pre-game rally at the Nissan North America headquarters in nearby Franklin. The rally took place Friday, Oct. 7 with hundreds of employees and family members celebrating the partnership between Nissan and the Mexican National Soccer Team.
To demonstrate its commitment to the Hispanic community, Nissan unveiled its local promotion featuring a comprehensive activation with social, digital, onsite, in-game, broadcast, a consumer sweepstakes and a fan app.
JHE assisted the auto manufacturer with audio and AV support for the presentation and playback of video spots featuring MNT legendary goalkeeper Oswaldo, who made a meet and greet appearance at the pep rally.
On Saturday, April 23, Google and Appalachian State University delivered the third annual North Carolina Gravity Games to Lenoir, North Carolina.
What are the N.C. Gravity Games? The N.C. Gravity Games featured a gravity-powered race and festival designed to rev up young people about science. The experience encompassed educational, hands-on activities that enticed the minds of future scientists, engineers and more. This was a signature event of the North Carolina Science Festival, a multi-day celebration highlighting the educational, cultural and financial impact of science in our state.
In 2015, the event had more than 80 middle and high school teams compete as well as an adults “open” race category. The teams were responsible for designing soap box cars that covered the required distance the fastest. In addition, all cars had to pass a rigorous inspection prior to competing.
For the first time, JHE Production was thrilled to take part in the excitement. The event production company was enlisted by Google to design, build and execute “Science Street,” a 30-by-100 foot interactive area featuring science-related vendors, various Google brands and more. In addition, JHE assisted with creative services, signage, truss arches to highlight the start/finish line and overall event production.
The team, led by Jessica Ferreira, arrived Friday, April 22 for load in and street closures followed by a full day of the N.C. Gravity Games on Saturday. For more information, visit http://www.ncgravitygames.com/.
With less than two months until the 22nd annual Circle K and Kangaroo Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola, JHE is preparing for all five 600 Festival events that serve as a precursor to the races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Two bands famous for powerful and wide-ranging performances will be center-stage on Thursday, May 26 in Uptown Charlotte. The two bands, The Voltage Brothers and Sol Fusion, will kick off the three-day event with a high-energy show, full of familiar songs, great vocals and powerful horn sections.
On Friday, May 27, country-music star Chris Young and special guest Montgomery Gentry will entertain guests from the Coca-Cola stage followed by Grammy award-winning sibling trio, The Band Perry, and Kellie Pickler on Saturday, May 28.
Montgomery Gentry is an iconic country music duo that has earned three platinum albums, a gold album and five number-one singles with anthems like “My Town” and “Where I Come From.” Shortly after, Young will take the stage to sing many of his chart toppers including “Getting You Home,” “The Man I Want To Be,” “Voices,” “Who I Am With You” and “I’m Comin’ Over,” among others. He has earned two gold albums and seven number-one singles in the last decade.
Opening entertainment for Saturday, May 28 will be Albemarle native Pickler who has released four albums in her career. Her newest album features title track “The Woman I Am,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” "Little Bit Gypsy" and "No Cure For Crazy."
With multiple gold and platinum singles, The Band Perry will take Circle K and Kangaroo Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola by storm Saturday with its blend of country, rock and pop. The Band Perry, Kimberly, Reid and Neil Perry, released their self-titled debut album in 2010 featuring two number one singles: the sextuple platinum song “If I Die Young” and platinum “All Your Life." The second album “Pioneer” spawned two additional number one singles “Better Dig Two” and “DONE” (the first for brothers Reid and Neil as songwriters) plus hits “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely” and “Chainsaw.” The band is currently working on its third studio album.
Friday and Saturday night performances are only $15 per night. All other Circle K and Kangaroo Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola’s activities remain free to the public.
In addition, fans can enjoy these family-friendly events in May including:
On May 6 at 8 p.m., Movies on the Campus will feature an outdoor viewing of Disney’s Cars 2 in Kannapolis, North Carolina, in conjunction with Jiggy with the Piggy.
Haulers on Union: Don’t miss the NASCAR haulers as they parade down Union Street in Concord, North Carolina, on Thursday, May 19 at 6 p.m. followed by a free concert by Acoustic South and The Tams.
On Tuesday, May 24 starting at 4 p.m., the third annual Little 600 at the GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, North Carolina, will feature a NASCAR spotters race followed by the main event with a field of NASCAR drivers competing for bragging rights.
Runners are welcome to compete in the second annual PNC Speed Street 5K on May 28 at 8 a.m. through the streets of Uptown Charlotte. Young runners are welcome to enjoy a 600-yard fun run starting at 8:45 a.m.
JHE Production Prepares for Fourth Annual Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance
In several weeks, JHE Production will make the 80-mile drive to North Carolina's Sandhill region to execute the fourth annual Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance. The inaugural event took place in 2013 at the iconic Pinehurst Resort under the leadership and support of JHE President Jay Howard.
Fast forward four years and as many as 300 collector cars are expected 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).
With thousands expected to attend Friday, April 29 and Saturday, April 30 activities, JHE has introduced two new events to entertain guests.
On Friday at noon, golfers can tee off for the inaugural Acura Par 3 Challenge golf tournament held on Pinehurst Resort’s Course No. 3. For a hole-in-one, Acura has offered a specific model of vehicle associated with each hole that can be enjoyed with a one-year lease. A portion of the proceeds from the Acura Par 3 Challenge will be donated to the USO of North Carolina.
Then on Saturday, runners are encouraged to lace up their tennis shoes and compete in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Fairway 5K Presented by FirstHealth Fitness. The inaugural run will be held on Pinehurst Resort’s Course No. 1 starting at 7:45 a.m.
In addition to the rare and historic cars on display at the main event Saturday, the Grammy Award-winning Commodores will perform following the awards ceremony at approximately 5 p.m.
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.
For years, JHE’s love of animals has been apparent from horses to donkeys, dogs to cats. It’s that love of animals coupled with a passion for event production that made a “yes” to the former Ryan Newman Foundation easy when asked to produce its annual dinner and auction.
Since 2009, JHE has been an integral event planner and producer for the fundraising affair that benefits Krissie and Ryan Newman’s nonprofit, Rescue Ranch. Rescue Ranch is nonprofit animal welfare organization that promotes respect for all animals through education; is committed to agricultural, environmental and wildlife conservation; and facilitates rehabilitation, rescue and responsible pet ownership in order to enhance the human-animal bond.
Entering the 11th annual event, JHE began planning discussions in April 2015 with an event theme of Dr. Seuss. Led by JHE’s Ann Nestor, implementation was officially underway in August when a sampling of the catering, décor and event setup was presented to Rescue Ranch.
To prepare for the Dec. 11 event date, Nestor engaged various in-house capabilities including audio, video, lighting, operations, transportation and creative services. The collaboration delivered a variety of assets and skills needed such as event signage, pipe and drape, video screens, guest registration management, run of show direction and vendor support.
JHE worked in partnership with Flowers from the Cellar to create the Dr. Seuss-themed centerpieces; Party Reflections to provide linens, furniture and food service equipment; and a tailored menu by La-tea-da’s Catering.
Dr. Seuss permeated the entire event including table decor, signage, stage backdrop, menu descriptions, photo booth, a live Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and 2 mascots and more.
To appeal to local Statesville residents, Rescue Ranch wanted to offer four and six-person tables, in addition to their traditional eight-person tables, so JHE developed table configurations for 56 tables varying in size to fit the Statesville Civic Center ballroom.
With new themes and event setups often come new challenges. The biggest obstacle JHE had to overcome was available inventory and scenic elements. For prior events, the inventory was collected over the years and largely reusable. But with Dr. Seuss taking over, new assets, new signage and new ways to implement the theme were required; all at the same budget.
The hard work paid off. As guests departed the dinner, comments of praise were uttered to staff. The word “wow” was often conveyed from some of the 430 people in attendance.
In closing, we’ll borrow one of Dr. Seuss’ beloved quotes, “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
The University of South Carolina at Spartanburg alumni and mom of three, Misti Mason has a full plate. As the category manager at Circle K Southeast, Misti is an expert on two of JHE’s favorite items – packaged beverage and ice cream. The Ware Shoals, South Carolina, native is responsible for merchandising, pricing, management and sales of these products within Circle K stores.
As the newly-announced two-year sponsor of Circle K and Kangaroo Speed Street, a JHE-produced event, we took the opportunity to learn more about the dynamic personality that drives pricing, shelving, marketing and promotional activities to assist with the visibility and accessibility for Circle K customers.
Q&A with Misti:
What is the best career advice you ever received? “Having a simple conversation never costs you anything”. Equally the best would be “always… razzle, dazzle.”
What is the best part of your job? The best part of my job would be negotiating. I truly enjoy working with our supply partners to develop strategies that contribute to the business plans for all parties.
Why did you choose your career path? Long story made short, life sort-of handed me my current career path. I have always enjoyed meeting and working with people; thriving on watching others develop and grow.
What is the best part of working with JHE? The service mentality, organization and skill set of the JHE folks are absolutely amazing!
What has most impressed you about JHE? Most impressive about JHE would have to be the people! Watching the way they love and care for each other to the attention they provide a client is superior to that of any company I’ve experienced.
What is your personal definition of success? Being truly happy with what you do.
Things people may not know about Misti:
I’m inspired by … My brother, Tommy.
I start my day by … Consuming lots of coffee while catching up on the news.
My favorite apps are… During racing season, NASCAR, to keep up with all things NASCAR related, of course. Amazon & Target’s Cartwheel to shop while saving money.
My ultimate stress reliever is … A massage and body wrap!
My favorite sports are … College football and racing.
My favorite quote is… “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” -Bill Keane
The best concert I’ve ever seen is… Garth Brooks last year in Greensboro, NC. Garth’s performance was filled with his emotions and very moving.
If you are not a Clemson Tigers fan, beware! Because Abby Calhoun, a graduate from Clemson University certainly is. The JHE event coordinator hails from Greenwood, South Carolina, and joined the event production company in 2014 to assist with Freightliner hospitality and host up to 200 guests on race weekends. Her prior experience includes working for the Athletic Administration for the Clemson Athletic Department; Roush Fenway Racing and Lionel Racing.
While earning her Tiger stripes in college, Abby volunteered for two years with the Special Olympics and planned a weekend camp for children ages 8-12 who didn’t receive the physical activity of other children in that age group.
Would you be surprised that when she’s not working on the weekends she is at a Clemson football game?
Q&A with Abby:
What is the best lesson from college that still applies to your job? To do what you love
What is the best career advice you ever received? Never settle and be content – keep working at where you want to ultimately be
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned at JHE? To be appreciative of the little things, even if it is after an 18 hour day.
What is the accomplishment at JHE you are most proud of? Always getting the job done no matter what the circumstance is – the camaraderie of our team is simply outstanding
What is your best memory at JHE so far? Golfing 4 Good 2015
What made you want to become a part of the JHE family? The culture among the co-workers along with the outstanding reputation that they had throughout the industry
What is the biggest myth about your job? That it is always glamorous – not many people know what all goes into our work
What is the insider secret to your job? To always smile regardless of the situation – just handle it rather than panicking
What is the best part of working at JHE? Seeing our success after long days of hard work and making things work that at times seem impossible
What is your personal definition of success? Knowing within myself that I did my very best to represent JHE well and seeing that the client is happy
Things People May Not Know About Abby:
I spend my weekends … If I am not working at a race track – I am at a Clemson football game.
My favorite sport is … College Football – I grew up attending many college sporting events – also watching my brother play many sports growing up.
I don’t leave home without … lipstick.
My favorite way to spend time … Watching college football, doing other people’s makeup, spending time with my niece and nephew.
No one knows that I can … Eat more or as much food as most men. I can eat A LOT and am rarely “FULL”.
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.
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!”
“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.
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.
For the third year, JHE is proud to be the producer and promoter for the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance. The event unites the best in golf with the best in automobiles each year at Pinehurst Resort.
The main event features some of the most historic and rare automobiles staged on the fairways of the iconic golf resort with Dennis Haysbert serving as grand marshal. Here is a look at this year’s event, by the numbers…
More than 10,000 people attended the event.
More than 280 cars were showcased on fairways No. 3 and No. 5 during the two-day event.
The winner of the Concours, a 1919 Pierce-Arrow Model 66 A-4, stands 7-feet tall and weighs 7,000 pounds.
At least 10 states were represented by Concours competitors.
A total of 53 awards were handed out to car owners during the event.
Cars and motorcycles competed in 13 classes.
Eleven cars escorted soldiers to Fort Bragg on Friday.
The Black Daggers gave a demonstration and had four soldiers parachute onto the show field.
Three Saturday performances included the USO Show Troupe, the 82nd Airborne Chorus and Three Dog Night.
Approximately 90 pieces of printed signage were used along with 40 tents.
JHE executed a six events over two days including the Iron Mike Rally, Welcome Reception, a concert, the Chairman’s Dinner, a Champagne Toast and the Concours.
John Falkenbury has served as president and chief operating officer for the USO of North Carolina since March 2009. He is responsible for planning, organizing and directing the operations of the state headquarters, five USO fixed centers and a mobile center. These centers provide a full range of services including travel assistance, deployment and homecoming operations, critical transition assistance, financial and educational programs, military and civilian community outreach programs, Fallen and Wounded Warrior escort services and extensive morale-boosting activities.
The Concord, North Carolina resident previously served more than 20 years in the U.S. Army with assignments throughout the United States and in Germany. He also established and operated the first North Carolina division of Fleishman-Hillard International Communications.
An adjunct faculty member in the University of North Carolina’s Charlotte Department of Communication Studies, an on-air military analyst for WBT-AM and a credentialed military consultant and frequent guest for News 14 Carolina also adorns his resume.
The third generation career military officer received a bachelor’s degree in history from The Citadel and earned his master’s degree in management from Webster University. In addition, he is a graduate from the Defense Information School, the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
He currently serves on the board of The Brigadier Foundation and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at The Citadel, and the Carolinas Freedom Foundation’s Advisory Board. He has been married to his wife, Barbara, for 32 years and is the father of Jamey and Catherine.
Q&A with John
What is the best lesson from college that still applies to your job? Honesty and integrity are not compromised for any reason.
What is the best career advice you ever received? Do what you have a passion to do and do it well.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Personal accomplishment is having a great family with children that are successful and doing what they love. Professionally, being given the opportunity to successfully lead an organization during a period of great need and rapid growth.
What is the biggest myth about your job? We are funded by the national USO or are a federal agency when in reality, we are a separately-funded nonprofit organization; not funded by either national USO or the government.
What is the insider secret to your job? While it requires a lot of driving the state, living out of a suitcase and constantly seeking new corporate partners, the reward of helping our troops and families and hearing them say thanks is humbling.
What is the best part of your job? My staff, our volunteers and the military that we serve. They are the best and they do it will little or no fanfare.
Why did you choose your career path? I retired in 1999, two years before 9-11. I had many friends that have been at war for 13 years and I was not there. While I did many media engagements to make sure people knew what their military was doing, I wanted to do something that was directly supporting our warriors and their families.
What has been your best mistake? Not taking a second command of an Army unit. If I had, I would have missed experiences like training in one of the nation’s biggest PR firms while an Army major or attending the Marine Command and Staff College.
What is the best part of working with JHE? JHE is passionate and professional. They look for ways to make sure events are top notch and on budget. They are always prepared and have thought out the delivery of their services so it is seamlessly executed.
What has most impressed you about JHE? Their people.
What is your best tip for success? Do what you love, do it to the best of your ability and take care of those working for or with you. If you do, it will be a success.
What is your personal definition of success? Establishing a vision and goal for an organization and seeing it come to a fruition that is sustainable, impactful and accepted by staff, those served and those in the community.
Things you may not know about John:
My runner-up career was … a history professor; we must learn from the past or, as was said, we are doomed to repeat it. Liberal arts give tools in critical writing, research and analysis.
My ultimate stress reliever is … watching old black and white movies from the 1930’s and ‘40’s.
On my iPod playlist right now is … Sycamore Row by John Grisham and classic ‘60’s and ‘80’s artists.
The one person I’ve always wanted to meet is … General George Patton. Controversial and charismatic leader; I have been fascinated by his life and enjoy learning more about him.
My family is … most important to me.
My favorite sport is … Can’t have just one in a state that is home to the best college basketball and the Carolina Panthers. But since I’m 5’19” tall (6’7” for those that can add), I lean toward college basketball. Go Duke.
I don’t leave home without … my iPad and iPhone.
My most recent splurge was … a new 27-inch Apple iMac.
My favorite vacation yet was … that’s a tough one … as a family, it is our vacation to Rome, Florence, Tuscany and Venice before the children graduated college. But the most special vacation was an Alaskan cruise for my 30th anniversary.
My favorite movie is … It’s a Wonderful Life.
My compelling TV binge is … Downton Abbey, Sherlock and Mr. Selfridge.
My favorite quote is … “Duty is the sublimest word in the English Language.” -Gen. Robert E. Lee
The best concert I’ve ever seen is … Billy Joel in Raleigh last year. I’ve been a fan for years and second time to see him live.
Since 1995, JHE has been responsible for executing some of the most notable festivals in the Southeast, dreaming up extravagant productions, engaging fan interactions and meaningful sponsorship opportunities. Here is a look at JHE’s history of producing festivals:
1995: Speed Street
The event production company’s first foray into festival production 20 years ago was Speed Street, one of the Southeast’s largest street festivals held in uptown Charlotte. Still the event producer and promoter, the team handles everything from inception to execution for the event now known as Circle K and Kangaroo Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola. Tasks range from artist management, concert production, event operations and logistics, permitting, fire and safety, marketing and sponsorship sales.
The event attracts more than 400,000 attendees each year and includes live musical entertainment, family-friendly fun and dynamic sponsor exhibits. In 2014, JHE added three new regional events in Mooresville, Concord and Kannapolis to extend its reach in the local community.
2001: First Flight Centennial
The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources relied on JHE to execute a historical celebration to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ famous first flight. The First Flight Centennial was a multi-day festival that played host to national dignitaries and more than 115,000 spectators.
2012: Belk Bowl FanFest
Since earning the business four years ago, JHE has managed site design, live entertainment production, video and lighting, audio engineering and run of show in conjunction with the Charlotte Collegiate Football Group for the annual Belk Bowl FanFest. The event is a pre-party for the Belk Bowl football game and has featured Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert to date.
2012: Democratic National Convention CarolinaFest
This special festival was produced to showcase Charlotte to traveling attendees for the Democratic National Convention as well as locals. CarolinaFest attracted more than 30,000 attendees and featured interactive displays, food vendors, political speakers and two stages for musical performances within five city blocks.
The inaugural BuzzFest, held in 2014, celebrated the Charlotte Hornets return to the Queen City inside a 280,000-square-foot space at the Charlotte Convention Center. Hosted by the NBA team’s minority owner Nelly, the indoor fan festival included concerts by national recording acts, basketball drills, family-friendly fun, celebrity appearances and more.
With a history of excellence, JHE Production Group has won numerous awards during its 27 years in business. Here is a look back at some of JHE’s best work:
Southeast Tourism Society: “Top-20 Event” for Speed Street
One of the largest consumer events in the Southeast, Speed Street has been a notable occasion in uptown Charlotte for the past 21 years, and JHE has had the opportunity to serve as producer and promoter for 20 of those years. Currently known as Circle K and Kangaroo Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola, it is heralded for its diverse selection of live music, numerous NASCAR celebrity appearances, dynamic sponsor exhibits, unique selection of local foods and family-friendly fun. The three-day festival is a free event that welcomes more than 400,000 attendees, both locals and visitors.
EVIES: “Best Green Event” for Speed Street
Another recognition was bestowed on Speed Street for its green efforts. Generating tons of recyclable materials over the course of three days, the team works with the nonprofit organization Hands on Charlotte to collect the items and recycle them in order to minimize the event’s impact on the environment. Recycling containers located throughout the footprint also help to encourage consumers to do their part.
EVIES: “Best Public Event under 20,000 Attendees” for NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge
For seven years, JHE was the creator of and production team behind the unique NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge, the only NASCAR-sanctioned indoor event. The format featured two lanes down the center of Time Warner Cable Arena’s floor with four stationary cars located on the outside of each lane. Each pit crew member performed their individual duties then pushed the car across the finish line as a team. The team with the quickest time won the round and advanced to the final round. With more than 6,000 people in attendance, JHE executed the logistics, marketing, ticketing, scoring, timing and entertainment aspects of the annual competition.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race is a no points, all-star competition that not only display’s NASCAR finest talent but is also one of the biggest pre-race entertainment shows of the season. The show is filled with race cars, video walls, pyrotechnics, live music and all of the pomp and circumstance that accompanies a pro-sports all-star event. Considered the most hectic 45 minutes and simultaneously the most exciting 15 minutes of their year, JHE is constantly upping the ante on the show.
Business Leader Magazine: Recognized as the eight top-300 Small Business of the South
JHE has been honored to receive multiple awards recognizing its business success, including one from Business Leader Magazine. The event production team competed against 300 small businesses from Atlanta; Nashville, Tennessee; Miami; Tampa, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina; Greensboro, North Carolina; and Charlotte, North Carolina to receive recognition. The companies were ranked based on a combination of factors, including percentage of sales generated in the local market, revenue growth, business achievements and civic contributions.
Special Events Magazine: Top-50 Special Event Companies
One of JHE’s four main services include special events. With a proven record in design, presentation and execution, the company has produced corporate branded events, media-related events, prestigious affairs, and everything in between. Organizing flawless events of any scale is an art that JHE’s team has mastered. Recognized for their numerous successes, the team continues to produce more than 35 events each year that showcase their capabilities, including event planning, design, logistics, production, vendor management, run of show and event execution.
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.
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 hereto read about JHE’s lighting expertise that is used to create the ideal event atmosphere.
“Wake Will: The Campaign for Wake Forest” is the largest fundraising effort in Wake Forest University’s history. The campaign matches the resolve, fellowship and promise of its student body and alumni and continues the tradition of creating, educating and inspiring.
Through the campaign, Wake Forest University and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center promised to invest $1 billion to strengthen its current missions: $600 million to support University students, faculty and enhancements to campus life; and $400 million to enhance Wake Forest Baptist’s patient care, research and education. The campaign will allow Wake Forest University to commit to an unprecedented amount of financial aid, cultural exploration, philanthropy and more to help all students reach their full potential.
JHE was enlisted to execute five gala events that would help the university to meet its fundraising goals. The program kicked off at Founder’s Hall in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 5. Other events will take place April 1 at Newseum in Washington, D.C.; April 8 at the Buckhead Theater in Atlanta, Georgia; April 22 at The Plaza Hotel in New York City; and May 19 at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh.
The JHE special events team had two months to execute the vision which included stage design and construction; audio, visual and lighting support; event layout design; décor selection; graphic design; and overall event management.
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.
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.
Kathryn Meyer has the joy of being a part of some of her client’s happiest memories at Party Reflections.
Serving as senior account executive, the Georgia native has been helping the JHE special events department with completing its clients’ vision since joining the event rental company 13 years ago. In her current role, every day is different – some days are office days working on the computer while others are on-site for client inspections or events. “But every day is a sales day!” she says.
After graduating from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Science in speech communications, Meyer moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for a summer to work on a guest ranch. She ended up staying three years. During the summers, she worked at Lost Creek Ranch handling special events for companies including Time Magazine and National Geographic. When the weather turned cold, she worked for Ski School Sales and took two-hour lunch breaks to test out the slopes.
What is the best career advice you ever received? When you meet someone, give them a firm handshake, look them in the eye and repeat their name.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Being named in 2013 by Special Events Magazine as one of the “Top-25 Young Event Pros” to watch.
What is the best part of your job? 98 percent of all events we help produce are for happy occasions and we get to help people make lasting memories.
What is the best part of working with JHE? The people. Not only are they great clients, they have become great friends!
What has most impressed you about JHE? How close everyone is with each other at JHE; it is truly a family environment.
Six things you may not know about Kathryn:
My biggest pet peeve is … unnecessary noises like clicking a pen top during a meeting.
My favorite sport is … SEC football and more specifically UGA football. Nothing beats a fall day between the hedges in Sanford Stadium watching the Dawgs!
My favorite vacation yet was a … trip to Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast last summer. Who doesn’t love Italy, wine, gelato, being with great friends and being without a cell phone for 10 days?
My favorite quote is … “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” -Aaron Tippen
The best concert I’ve ever seen is … Widespread Panic with my brother inside a cave at Cumberland Caverns, Tennessee. Amazing acoustics. And who wouldn’t love seeing a concert in a cave with an extremely large crystal chandelier hanging above you alongside great friends.
Anything else interesting people should know about you? I completed the Xtreme Hike Challenge for Cystic Fibrosis this fall hiking 30.1 (which ended up being more like 34) miles in one day. I started in the dark and finished in the dark.
Keep up with Kathryn and Party Reflections on Twitter at @partyreflection #kathrynmeyer.
Charlotte’s original NBA team, the Hornets, have returned to the Queen City. To celebrate the return, the team enlisted JHE to execute a two-day fan festival Oct. 25-26.
Hosted by Hornets minority owner Nelly, Buzz Fest occupied a 280,000-square-foot space at the Charlotte Convention Center which was transformed into a basketball paradise from the moment fans entered. A large welcome area used lighting, video and photos to tell the team’s story.
Moving inside the footprint, there was entertainment for fans of all ages including basketball skills clinics, interactive games, inflatable basketball courts, sponsor activations, concession stands, merchandise sales and a VIP zone.
The weekend’s entertainment included appearances by Hugo and the Honey Bees; a youth basketball tournament; meet-and-greets with former Hornets and NBA stars; a Hornets practice game; and musical performances by the Voltage Brothers, Elle Varner, Big & Rich, Diggy, Sol Fusion and Nico & Vinz.
As the production team behind the event, JHE managed all elements of the show’s production in-house including strategic planning, project management, event layout, logistics, operations, event run of show, concert production, stage production, audio and video, sponsor needs and on-site management.
For the past six years, Dawn Schaefer has been a part of the NASCAR Events Group working closely with JHE. Serving as senior manager of content and production, the Missouri State University grad manages a variety of events including press conferences, summits, corporate meetings and award shows. On a day-to-day basis, she is responsible for managing relationships and communicating directly with the group’s production partners. For each event, she manages all elements of production including run of show, content development, scheduling, on-screen content creation, video creative development, printed graphics, credentials, contracts, award show program books and ticket sales.
Prior to joining NASCAR, the Missouri native worked as a media buyer for R&R Advertising and served as an event manager for International Speedway Corporation (ISC). Although the rest of her family including “the four best nephews in the world” still live in Missouri, Schaefer currently lives in Daytona Beach, Florida with her Jack Russell Terrier named Honky Tonk.
Q&A with Dawn:
What is the best lesson from college that still applies to your job? Being a public relations major was a huge benefit when it comes to what I do today. While I didn’t realize it then, I see now that I was lucky enough to have professors that truly cared about the work we were doing in class. They were persistent enough to leave a lasting impression on me and instill my extreme attention to detail which is important when so much of what I do is in the public eye.
What is the biggest myth about your job? A lot of people don’t realize the amount of work and time that goes into making these events as close to perfect as they can possibly be. There’s an assumption that some part of event planning is glamorous. While there are some perks to our jobs, the behind the scenes on something like the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards requires extremely long hours. It’s something we’re working on for eight months out of the year, literally leading up to the minutes before the opening video plays.
What is the best part of your job? Hands down, best part of this job is seeing the end product come together. It’s amazing to create memories that guests will carry with them for years. I love being a part of that.
What is the best part of working with JHE? The best part of working with JHE is that the answer is never “no.” I have brought some challenging projects to JHE in the past and they will always find a way to make it happen. Our visions aren’t always complete when we come to them with a job and somehow they figure out a way to make it come to life.
What is your best tip for success? Don’t give up until you are where you want to be. Nothing is impossible; sometimes you just have to push the boundaries and take a chance.
Nine Things You Might Not Know About Dawn:
I’m inspired by … my parents who are the hardest working people I know.
I start my day by … pushing snooze at least seven times (I set two alarms for this reason).
My favorite app is … FlightTracker because I’m OCD when it comes to flying.
On my iPod playlist right now is … award show video music options.
My biggest pet peeves are … clicking of pens and returning a text with a phone call.
My family is … THE BEST; couldn’t do life without them.
My favorite sport is … MIZZOU football, my hometown team.
My favorite quote is… “Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.” – Max Ehrmann
The best concert I’ve ever seen is … Garth Brooks. He is so energetic on-stage and can keep a crowd engaged without all the bells and whistles. He’s great!
The weekend celebration, hosted by Grammy Award-winning artist and Hornets minority owner Nelly, will build excitement around the team’s return to the Queen City, reward loyal fans and celebrate the community.
The interactive festival will occupy a 280,000-square-foot footprint and feature live musical performances, a youth basketball tournament, meet-and-greets with former Hornets and NBA stars, appearances by Hugo and the Honey Bees, a kids’ zone, interactive games, merchandise booths, sponsorship activations and concession stands. The event will also include a Hornets full team event on Saturday, including an autograph session with players and the Honey Bees.
As the production team behind the event, JHE will manage strategic planning, project management, event layout, logistics, operations, event run of show, concert production, stage production, audio and video, sponsor needs and on-site management exclusively in-house.
With experience producing Coca-Cola Speed Street and NASCAR Preview, Buzz Fest is in JHE’s wheelhouse and will showcase the event experience company’s expertise in executing large, multifaceted events.
The return of the Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte’s first NBA franchise, is generating excitement throughout the city, and JHE is thrilled to be a part of the inaugural event. Don’t forget to purchase your tickets today!
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).
Senior director Natalie Epperly manages JHE’s client services department and supports the event department as an event producer. For the past nine years, she has been a valued member of the JHE team producing events including the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge, NASCAR After the Lap and the Rolex 50th Anniversary Celebration.
Prior to joining the JHE team, the Florida native worked at the Bobby Phills Scholarship Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Charlotte Hornets. Epperly has a Bachelor of Science degree in sports management from Belmont Abbey College. She lives in Charlotte with her husband, Chris, their daughter, Hadley and her “first baby,” dog Baron.
Q&A with Natalie:
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned at JHE? The importance of working as a team. There is no way I could produce the level of events that we do without the team that surrounds me.
What made you want to become a part of the JHE family? When I started with the company, I was employee no. 11. So it was small and very family-oriented. I knew that I had found a unique place to work. I have seen it grow over the past 10 years yet still have the same feeling.
What’s your secret to success? Continuing to take pride in the work that I do and always looking for ways to be better.
What is the best part of working at JHE? I love watching event/production concepts come to life. An idea goes from a round table discussion to renderings to full execution. It’s a really interesting process and seeing everything come to life is one of the best parts of my job.
What is your personal definition of success? Setting and accomplishing goals, personally and professionally.
Ten Things You Might Not Know About Natalie:
I start my day by… seeing my smiling 1-year-old.
My favorite app is… Avocado. It’s a calendar app that allows my husband and I to always be on the same page with our work events and travel!
My ultimate stress reliever is… running.
My family is… my biggest accomplishment. Having Hadley last year was an amazing experience and being a mom to her is my greatest joy. Juggling work and a family is always challenging, but we are a great team and just find ways to make it work.
I spend my weekends… getting together with friends, going to the White Water Center and am always up for a good cookout.
I don’t leave home without… my phone charger.
My favorite vacation yet was… my honeymoon. We went to Hawaii and nothing has compared since.
My favorite quote is… “There is always something to be grateful for.”
The best concert I’ve ever seen is… U2.
The food I love so much that if I dropped it on the floor, I’d eat it anyway is… not sure that I would really do this, but I do love Mexican and chips and queso!
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.
Since 2010, JHE has worked closely with NASCAR to produce the unique and unforgettable event, NASCAR After The Lap. The annual unfiltered, tell-all question-and-answer session will take place Dec. 4, 2014 at Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Again this year, JHE will manage the event sweepstakes, creative elements, run of show, staging and design, ticketing in conjunction with the venue and all hospitality elements.
Natalie Epperly: Epperly has been a member of the JHE team since 2005. She currently serves as senior director of client services and has managed NASCAR After The Lap for the past three years.
James Raven: Raven has been a part of the JHE family since 2007. He currently serves as senior graphic designer of creative services and has worked on NASCAR After The Lap since JHE began producing it in 2010.
Lauren Livesay: Since 2008, Livesay has been a part of the JHE team. She currently serves as senior manager of event services and has worked on NASCAR After The Lap for the past two years.
Brian Hancock: Hancock has worked at JHE since 2008 and currently serves as director of audio engineering. He has worked on NASCAR After The Lap for the past three years.
WHAT IS THE PLANNING PROCESS FOR NASCAR AFTER THE LAP LIKE AT JHE?
Natalie Epperly: The planning process starts in June and continues until the first week of December when the event takes place. We’ve developed a system that has been so effective we’ve actually implemented it on other special events JHE produces. Each element of the production is broken down and given a team lead. The team leads then report back to me and then we report back to NASCAR weekly.
James Raven: After NASCAR provides a brief outline of what they want, their objectives and what they liked about last year’s event, the creative process begins. Our team starts developing different ideas and layouts. Then, we develop the hero poster which will dictate the look and feel of the rest of the event. We will go through several drafts, zeroing in on what NASCAR likes and dislikes, before we come to the final look. Once that’s approved, we can start on the digital elements (web banners, web layouts and e-blasts) and final signage.
Lauren Livesay: I’m responsible for managing the event run of show which takes several months to plan. Our team must figure out unique ways to integrate sponsor elements alongside relevant current topics that the drivers will want to talk about. Last year, we utilized social media quite heavily to gain insight into what each of the Chase drivers was doing off track so we could understand what a day in their life looked like and use that information to ask questions that fans would love to know.
Brian Hancock: The audio team works with the venue, NASCAR and JHE’s event producers to pull together the pieces of this event. We handle everything IT needs for social media, coordinate with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, cue the talent, plan the communication needs and run point on audio during the show to make sure the show happens as planned.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE DURING THE PLANNING STAGES?
NE: Every year, we want to make the show better than the year before. The biggest challenge is creating something new and fresh that keeps the fans excited year to year.
JR: This event is definitely one of our heavier creative processes so the biggest challenge is juggling it along with normal workflow.
LL: Coming up with questions that haven’t been asked before in previous shows.
BH: Not having access to the facility on a day-to-day basis. We get one shot to scout the venue and when you are paying attention to things like lights and rigging, you sometimes miss air conditioning vents and other little nuances. This year, the event is in the same venue so we can be a bit more prepared for the little idiosyncrasies of the space. However, like any live event you have to be flexible that something will not go 100 percent according to plan.
HOW DO YOU TRANSLATE THE CLIENT’S VISION INTO REALITY?
NE: This event is a give and take process. NASCAR is very involved in the process so we are able to get a lot of great feedback on all creative elements along the way.
JR: We use NASCAR’s feedback to develop a creative process for the event. Our expertise combined with NASCAR’s direction allows us to bring the vision to life on paper.
LL: With this event, NASCAR wants the glitz and glam of an award show mixed with the unscripted moments of a reality show. My job is to find that balance in the run of show.
BH: Our team plans and coordinates for months on this event. We work with the client to understand their vision, outside vendors to make sure everything is covered and come up with a comprehensive plan to eliminate as many unexpected elements as possible.
HOW DOES THIS EVENT SHOWCASE JHE’S EXPERTISE?
NE: I think this is one of the event’s JHE works on where everything we are experts in comes together. All of our departments – creative, event production, run of show, audio/video – are a part of the event so it showcases every aspect of the company.
JR: For our team, the pieces we create are some of the most reproduced, reprinted and reused work that we do all year. Overall, I’d say this project touches on everything JHE has to offer and truly showcases our company’s abilities.
LL: First, I think it shows how custom JHE’s staging and audio elements can be. We have produced the same event in a variety of venues which can be challenging but it also allows us to be creative. It’s also very different from producing a structured pre-race show. For opening ceremonies, we have to hit everything at a very exact moment. With NASCAR After The Lap, the show has a much more flexible flow that requires us to react to what the drivers are saying while still staying in the boundaries of the show.
BH: Overall, there are so many different parts and pieces. We handle hospitality, sweepstakes, seating assignments and everything in between. You don’t realize how much JHE is doing until you look around and see how much of our team has their hands in different “pots.” Each team member focuses on their part of the project and then it is possible for it to all come together for a spectacular show. If you are worrying about someone else’s piece of the puzzle, you aren’t putting enough energy into your aspect.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK MOST FORWARD TO ABOUT NASCAR AFTER THE LAP?
NE: I’m always excited to get on-site because that’s when everything really comes together. It’s a long planning process so when the show goes live, it’s an incredible feeling.
JR: The creative process that our entire team goes through to create the final product. It is an excellent opportunity to work on process, in-house critiques and putting out a product we can all be proud of.
LL: I love seeing the renderings come to life on the stage. It’s also great seeing the drivers interact with each other in a more laid back setting.
BH: Friday after the show. With so many moving parts, everything sits on a knife edge so it’s a sigh of relief when it’s over. The smallest thing can go wrong and make the show much more difficult. Often it’s something out of our control so we have to be flexible and adapt to any situation.
Since 1997, JHE has worked closely with the 600 Festival Association, a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting and celebrating motor sports in the Charlotte region. The organization celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, adding three new events to its May event lineup. The event lineup concluded May 22-24 with the headline event, Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014.
Take a look at the work the nonprofit and JHE have accomplished together throughout its history:
The 600 Festival Association celebrated 30 years of history in the local region in 2014.
Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet has offered free, family-fun in uptown Charlotte for the past 20 years.
Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet entertained an estimated 400,000 fans over the course of the three-day festival.
5,500 Feet of Fencing
JHE utilizes more than 5,500 feet of fencing during Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet.
3,700 Square Foot Layout
Each year, Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet occupies approximately 3,700 square feet in uptown Charlotte for three days.
8 Million Guests
Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet has entertained approximately 8 million guests, which is more than 10 times the population of Charlotte, during its 20 year history.
320 NASCAR Drivers
Since its inception, Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet has been visited by approximately 320 drivers including Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Danica Patrick.
100 Award-Winning Musicians
This year’s music entertainment, Who’s Bad, Thompson Square and 38 Special, joined the 100 award-winning musicians that have graced the Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet stages over the course of 20 years including Keith Urban, 3 Doors Down, Survivor, Jamey Johnson and Montgomery Gentry.
3 New Events
In 2014, the 600 Festival Association added three new events to its May event lineup: Movies on the Campus in Kannapolis; Haulers on Union in Concord; and Little 600 in Mooresville.
More than 500 fans attended the first Little 600 at GoPro Motorplex to watch their favorite NASCAR drivers compete for bragging rights in rental karts.
The 600 Festival Association showed two racing-themed movies, Disney’s “Planes” and “Six Pack,” on an oversized outdoor screen during the inaugural Movies on the Campus event.
Forty JHE employees worked together to manage and execute the four 600 Festival Association events in May.
600 Festival Association, Coca-Cola Speed Street, Little 600, Haulers on Union, Movies on the Campus, NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Danica Patrick, Thompson Square, 38 Special, Keith Urban, 3 Doors Down, Survivor, Jamey Johnson
For the past 14 years, Heather Hucks has worked at Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (CCBCC). She currently serves as director of marketing sponsorships and manages all of the company’s marketing sponsorships including professional sports, colleges and universities, and entertainment and amusement properties. Her role focuses on creating long-term sponsorship strategies that build brand equity and give CCBCC a return on its investment both in venue and out in the marketplace. Hucks and her team of “four awesome folks” focus on connecting the brand to consumer passion points via sports teams, music or amusement activities to create meaningful interactions.
She previously worked as an account representative at Moroch and Associates for two year after graduating from University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelor of Science in communications.
Hucks is an extremely charitable person serving as chair of Bee Mighty, chair of NICU Family Advisory Council-Novant Hemby Children’s Hospital, a board member for Speedway Children’s Charity and a volunteer and advocate for the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. She currently lives in Charlotte with her husband, Darrin and her 2-year-old son, Tucker.
Q&A with Heather:
What is the best career advice you ever received? Do you want to be right or do you want to be effective? Sometimes you’re right and it doesn’t matter. Leaders recognize the moments at which the more effective path is the one that fosters team relationships and an alternate means to the acceptable outcome.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Being a happy, fulfilled working mom.
What is the best part of working at Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (CCBCC)? There are many, many things I love about CCBCC. Perhaps a favorite is the true emphasis on stewardship. Coca-Cola Consolidated wholeheartedly believes in serving others. In fact, the company has integrated “Serve Others” as one of the three prongs of our purpose statement for many years. CCBCC employees seek out specific needs in the community, rally their counterparts and fulfill the need. Stewardship at CCBCC is not mere sentiment, it is very real and it’s widely encouraged.
What is the best part of working with JHE? There are no surprises on event day. As a sponsor, especially at the title or presenting level, you need things to be double and triple checked before the big day. JHE understands that and approaches events with the ultimate capability and accountability for what happens during those three days of Coca-Cola Speed Street. That’s exactly what you want as a sponsor.
What is the best part about sponsoring Coca-Cola Speed Street? Coca-Cola has such a long standing family connection with race fans. So I love to see us all come together in the heartland of racing country during the week between the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600. It almost seems like a family reunion and I love it. One of my favorite memories was watching Pat Benatar sing “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” from the Coca-Cola stage. She totally nailed it.
Seven Things You Might Not Know about Heather:
I’m inspired by…my son, Tucker, who was born at 24 weeks weighing 1 pound, 7 ounces and spent 151 days in the NICU. He is feisty and strong and his fight and will to live, as an impossibly small baby with so many hurdles, taught me the ultimate life lesson… perspective.
My favorite sport is…college basketball. It’s fast and furious, with lead changes back and forth sometimes only seconds apart. And there’s always a Cinderella story.
My favorite quote is… “We gain strength, courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face and do that which we think we cannot.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
My runner-up career was… a country music singer. I have the hips and the name.
I don’t leave home without… a sense of humor. And a Coke J
On my iPod playlist right now you will find… Imagine Dragons, Dolly Parton, Pink, JJ Heller, Bon Jovi, David Crowder, Will Smith, the Beatles and Lady Antebellum.
I relieve stress by… writing and blogging. And sometimes eating cupcakes.
Planning an effective and popular street festival is an art; one that Jacqueline Garfarar has perfected over the past 16 years.
Since 1998, Gafrarar has been responsible for managing and executing Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet. The three-day consumer street festival requires months of planning and preparation to prepare for the 400,000 attendees that descend upon Uptown Charlotte for live music, driver appearances, sponsor activations and more. The Concord, N.C.-native shares her top five tips to make a street festival a success:
Inspire confidence within the city.
Getting the right city members on your team, including permitting officials, the fire department, utilities, medics, the police department, public transportation and city services, is critical. If they are willing to buy into the idea and support your efforts wholeheartedly, you have laid the groundwork for success.
Recruit the right team.
One person can’t produce a street festival so it’s important to build a team with the right people in the right positions. There needs to be a point person for each “piece of the pie” including operations and logistics, beverage operations, food and merchandise vendor coordination, public relations and sponsorship sales so nothing falls through the cracks.
Freshen it up.
Keeping the festival new and fresh each year is critical to engage both new and loyal fans. We make a huge effort at Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet to enlist new corporate partners and bands each year so no two festivals are exactly alike.
Establish a built-in crowd.
Creating a festival in a field is going to be much more difficult to promote than one in the middle of a city. By creating a footprint where the audience already exists, it is easier to pique their interest and get them involved in your festivities.
Engage, engage, engage.
After all the hard work you’ve done to produce the festival, the most important thing is creating a fan base that loves your event. Create “wow moments” throughout the day that engage fans and encourage them to stick around for the next big thing. For example, at Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet, we encourage our partners to create interactive displays for the daytime crowd. Then at night, we wow them with a full lineup of live music.
To see Gafrarar in action, follow the 600 Festival Association on Facebook and Twitter @600Festival.
About the Expert:Jacqueline Gafrarar currently serves as the general manager of the 600 Festival Association, overseeing the development and management of each of the organization’s May events. She has been a valued member of JHE’s team for more than 16 years, most recently serving as vice president of special events. The Concord, N.C.-native has been an instrumental leader in the planning and execution of 600 Festival events including Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet since 1998, one year after JHE assumed the role of promoter and producer of events.
Chalmers Niemeyer loves cars, food and living in the South. Serving as area marketing manager at Porsche Cars North America, Inc., Niemeyer has worked with the luxury car company for more than 11 years. In his current role, he coordinates all retail and dealer marketing efforts for the brand in the southeastern region of the United States.
Prior to his current position, the Georgia-native worked as a Porsche technician. He holds a bachelor of business administration in marketing and masters of business administration in marketing from Georgia State University. Niemeyer also currently serves as a board member for the Porsche Care Network.
Q&A with Chalmers
What is the best lesson from college that still applies to your job? Understanding your client’s needs and delivering a product or service that meets those needs is key in a lasting business relationship.
What is the best career advice you ever received? Follow your passion. You won’t regret it.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? The friends and business contacts I’ve amassed through my career are most important to me. They’re much bigger than any one accomplishment.
What is the biggest myth about your job? It’s all parties and traveling.
What is the insider secret to your job? Stay focused and don’t get stressed. Stress just clouds your judgment.
What is the best part of working at Porsche? The people first. But the Porsches are a very close second.
Why did you choose your career path? I followed the advice in the second bullet point (above).
What has been your best mistake? Becoming a mechanic in college.
What is the best part of working with JHE? The people are great – and they really understand bullet point number one (above).
What has most impressed you about JHE? If they make a commitment, they exceed it.
What is your best tip for success? Stay organized, stay focused on your personal mission statement and make it fun.
What is your personal definition of success? Being all you can be and striving to always do the right thing for the right reasons.
Some Things You Might Not Know About Chalmers
I spend my weekends… mostly working (because I love what I do).
The one person I’ve always wanted to meet is… Bill Murray.
I’m inspired by… other people’s passion.
I start my day by… walking out in my backyard with a cup of coffee.
My family is… a pack of wild animals, in a good way.
My favorite sport is… relaxing in a hammock on a mountain lake. I’m really good at it.
My favorite vacation so farwas to… Iceland. The natural beauty and adventure of driving the circumference of the island was spectacular fun. And I do love an adventure.
The product that should be invented is… teleportation.
My favorite quote is… “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” – Samuel Clemens
My runner-up career was… a teacher. I enjoy sharing what others were kind enough to teach me.
I don’t leave home without… my cellphone (unfortunately).
My biggest pet peeve is… my own bad habits are frustrating enough. I need not worry about anyone else’s bad habits.
On my iPod playlist right now you will find… just about everything but most recently I’d say Amy Winehouse sticks out.
I relieve stress by… taking a walk or riding a bicycle around the city – sometimes for a delicious beer or cocktail.
The best concert I’ve ever seenis… that’s a tough one... but the best recent show I’ve seen is Daikaiju. A small instrumental rock band that plays in small venues but if you have the chance to see them, do it!
Anything else interesting people should know about you? I love to have fun. Whatever that is. And wherever I am or whatever I’m doing, chances are I’m just loving it and having fun.
Two and a half years ago, Erin Nosker joined the JHE team for its culture, hard work and work ethic. Serving as sales manager, she currently manages sponsorship sales for Coca-Cola Speed Street and Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance while aiding in new business development for JHE. The Virginia-native graduated from George Washington University.
Q&A with Erin:
What is the best lesson from college that still applies to your job? That I can really work consecutive 12-hour days on two hours of sleep.
What accomplishment at JHE have you been the most proud of? I was hired only two months before Coca-Cola Speed Street and was able to successfully create sponsor partnerships that contributed to a successful event.
What made you want to become a part of the JHE family? The culture, hard work and work ethic. When you sit back and look at what the JHE team is able to do it is really cool. Working here, you often take it for granted.
What is the biggest myth about your job? That we start drinking martinis at noon.
What is the insider secret to your job? Building and maintaining relationships
Thirteen Things You Might Not Know About Erin:
My runner-up career was… a helicopter pilot. I think it would be fun to work at a tourist destination and take people for rides.
My first job was… as a hostess at a restaurant.
I start my day by… hitting the snooze button.
My biggest pet peeve is… being late. My time is just as valuable as yours.
My family is… crazy.
My favorite sport is… hockey.
I don’t leave home without… my Sprint iPhone.
My most recent splurge was… a trip to Europe.
My favorite vacation yet was to… Portugal. I got to put my feet in the sand on other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
My favorite movie is… “A Bronx Tail.”
My favorite quote is… “I love you a lot kid!” –My dad.
My favorite author is… I don’t have a favorite author; however, I prefer to read nonfiction books. I am currently reading “Wolf of Wall Street” and just finished “Tough Guy” which is a great book for any old school hockey fan who remembers Bob Probert.
Anything else people should know about you? I am deathly afraid of alligators.
To keep up with Erin, follow her on Twitter @cwj2.
The signature event blends the history, heritage and grandeur from three of North Carolina’s proudest traditions – motor sports, golf and military – in a unique celebration of America’s passion for the automobile and for the benefit of the brave military men and women. A premier automotive and lifestyle experience, the weekend consisted of a full schedule of events.
The Iron Mike Rally kicked off the weekend celebration Friday, May 2. Pinehurst Resort and Fort Bragg joined forces for a parade of cars and courage as the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance traveled to one of the nation’s largest Army bases for a day of discovery and fellowship for Concours’ participants.
Saturday, May 3 began with the Pinehurst Fairway Drive at 9 a.m. The Ford Mustang faced off with the 2013 winner of the event – Porsche. Selected Mustangs and Porsches were positioned in a battlefield formation on the first fairway of Pinehurst No. 3. Later that day, a “British Invasion” concert commemorated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles arriving in America and the elegance of the classic British automobiles. The concert at Tufts Memorial Park featured a performance by Beatles cover band “Let it Be” as well as an opportunity for car buffs to see British Auto Touring Society makes, such as Aston Martin, Austin-Healey, Bentley, Jaguar, Lotus and MG, parked adjacent to the venue.
The weekend concluded Sunday with the signature Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance event. A field of 119 exclusive show cars competed on the emerald green fairways of Pinehurst Resort. A select group of judges awarded the Best in Show to a midnight blue 1931 Cadillac 452A owned by 90-year-old Charles Gillet of Lutherville, Maryland. Other significant winners included a 1903 Marr Auto Car owned by W. Barton Close of Signal Mountain, Tennessee, which captured the HVA Award and a 1954 Alfa Romeo 1900 SS Zagato, owned by Corrado Lepresto of Milan, Italy, took the FIVA award.
To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the nonprofit association is going back to its roots by celebrating and promoting motor sports throughout the local Charlotte region with a full schedule of free events leading up to the Coca-Cola 600.
The May event lineup will kick off May 9 in Kannapolis with Movies on the Campus in conjunction with Village Jiggy Jam. The first-ever double feature under the stars will include two racing-themed movies, Disney’s “Planes” at 8:30 p.m. and “Six Pack” at 10 p.m.
Next up, the 600 Festival Association will move to Concord, N.C., for Haulers on Union May 15. En route to Charlotte Motor Speedway to load in for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team haulers will parade down Union Street at 6 p.m. After the last hauler exits downtown, The Tams will kick off Union Street Live for a night of free musical entertainment.
The following week, the 600 Festival Association presents the Little 600 at GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville, N.C. The race will utilize the complex’s fleet of rental karts and features a full field of NASCAR drivers in the 15-lap main event as well as a women’s Lady 600 race. Confirmed drivers currently include Kyle Larson, Michael McDowell, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Truex, Ross Chastain, Darrell Wallace Jr. and more to come. Gates open at 4 p.m. and racing action starts at 4:30 p.m.
The May event lineup will conclude with the 600 Festival Association’s signature event, Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet May 22-24. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet transforms the streets of Uptown Charlotte into one of the largest consumer events in the Southeast. With live musical entertainment, appearances by top NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and celebrities and dynamic exhibits for all ages, Coca-Cola Speed Street presented by Chevrolet is an event attended by more than 400,000 fans annually. The event’s musical headliners include Who’s Bad Thursday, Thompson Square Friday and 38 Special Saturday.
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.
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!
Over the past year, JHE’s client portfolio has diversified immensely. While maintaining its reputation as the go-to company for NASCAR activations, the event experience company has continued to add additional sports properties to its roster of impressive clientele.
THE WORLD OF GOLF
JHE ventured into the world of golf for the first time with partners IZOD and Ford. At the Masters in April, JHE managed the design and build of a hospitality house for IZOD that served as a social media hub throughout the week. On Wednesday, the house was transformed from a daytime VIP hangout to a vibrant party scene that housed the Maxim Clubhouse.
In July, JHE traveled with Ford to the Greenbrier Classic. The JHE-designed and operated Ford Social display allowed fans to interact via social media for exclusive brand information and custom social badges while learning more about the Ford lifestyle.
GOING TO BAT
JHE went to bat in New York City in July with FOX Sports 1 to celebrate the highly-anticipated Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game. JHE hit a homerun with an exclusive experience that mimicked the look and feel of Citi Field and allowed fans to participate in their own “Home Run Derby.”
The new, national 24-hour multisport channel FOX Sports 1 partnered with JHE to create a fan-centric display to appear at 15 college football games during the 2013 season. The 80-by-100 foot experiential display allowed fans to become a part of the FOX college football experience every Saturday. The ultimate destination for fans included a tailgate zone, a skills challenge, a fan lounge, a custom photo opportunity, a virtual gaming center and a face painting station.
For the second year in a row, JHE assisted Sprint with creating a unique experience for fans attending the NBA All-Star Jam Session. Fans visiting the JHE-produced display had the opportunity to shoot hoops, sharpen their basketball skills using video gaming stations, preview Sprint’s newest products and meet some of the top NBA players.
With a presence in almost all major sports entities, JHE is proud to be an innovator providing best-in-class experiences for fans nationwide. The team can’t wait to see what opportunities 2014 bring.
For the past six years, Krissie Newman has worked closely with the JHE team on various Ryan Newman Foundation events.
Wearing many hats, the New Jersey-native is the vice president of Ryan Newman Motorsports and president of the Rescue Ranch. Her responsibilities include working with the team on Ryan’s schedule, licensing approvals, day-to-day motor sports activities, fundraising events, securing sponsorships and funding, meeting with potential donors and taking are of rescue animals. But her most important job? “Being a mom to two beautiful little girls,” she says.
The holidays are a particularly busy time for the Shippensburg University grad. The Ryan Newman Foundation recently was a part of the Harmony and Blowing Rock Christmas parades and had pet and child portrait opportunities with Santa at the Rescue Ranch. She is also looking ahead to the Ryan Newman Foundation/Rescue Ranch annual dinner and finishing tournament and “Lock and Load for Land” events.
Newman took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to sit down with the JHE team for a Q&A session …
Q&A with Krissie:
Tell us about the Rescue Ranch. Why was this so important to you? I was being pulled in so many different directions with animal rescue and the foundation that I didn’t feel like I was making a big enough impact with everything I was doing. I drafted Rescue Ranch in my brain three years ago. I feel this will be the best way to make the biggest impact on the communities and be an example for other educational animal rescue organizations with a conservation component. It will be the only facility of its kind on the East Coast.
Why did Ryan and you decide to start your charitable organization? In 2005, I received a letter from a young girl while attending the Martinsville race. She asked me to help her with a problem that I was seeing everywhere – there were too many animals being euthanized and strays were abundant. This girl and her family had 15 of their own animals they were struggling to care for and she wanted to help them and save them from being euthanized. Ryan and I had long conversations about how to help spread the word of spay/neuter, the sad epidemic of overpopulation and responsible pet ownership. We started the RNF in 2005 and everything grew from there.
What is the best lesson from college that still applies to your job? Time management.
What is the best career advice you ever received? Be confident in what you do and why you are doing it. Always go back to the root of why you are doing something if you start to stray or struggle from what you are trying to accomplish.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Getting the Rescue Ranch education building up and running.
What is the biggest myth about your job? It is glamorous.
Why did you choose your career path? I have a passion for helping others and animals. I am able to do both through the foundation and Rescue Ranch.
What is the best part of working with JHE? They make my life easier. They are organized and things are simple and seamless when we do an event together.
What has most impressed you about JHE? The creativity and wonderful people we have worked with over the past few years.
Ten Things You Might Not Know About Krissie:
I spend my weekends… with my kids, at the race track or taking care of the animals at Rescue Ranch.
The one person I’ve always wanted to meet is… Scott Stevens, a retired New Jersey hockey player.
I am inspired by… Mike Arms, president of Helen Woodward Animal Center – San Diego.
My family is… my backbone.
My favorite sport is… hockey.
My favorite vacation to date was to… Turks and Caicos with some friends and family. It was so relaxing and gave me energy to come back and focus again.
The product that should be invented is… cloning.
My favorite quote is… “The future depends on what we do in the present.” – Gandhi
My runner-up career was… adesigner or a wedding planner.
The second annual Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance, produced and promoted by JHE, returns May 2-4, 2014. The weekend will kick off a celebrated six-week period at Pinehurst Resort which will also host the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships in mid-June consecutively.
The signature event blends the history, heritage and grandeur from three of North Carolina’s proudest traditions – motorsports, golf and military – in a unique celebration of America’s passion for the automobile and for the benefit of the brave men and women who protect and provide the very freedom we enjoy as United States citizens.
This year, Pinehurst Concours Chairman Bob Ingram will lead a board of advisors who will help to broaden the reach of the classic car showcase. Twelve members will make up the board, including Tommy Bolton, civilian aide senior to the secretary of the Army; Jamie Doyle, Sports Car Digestpublisher; Rory Ingram, Ingram Collection managing director; Terry Karges, Peterson Automotive Museum executive director; Randy Leffingwell, veteran writer for AutoWeekand Los Angeles Times; Chad McQueen, actor and racer; Bruce Meyer, founder of Peterson Automotive Museum; Graham Moore, Fort Bragg area businessman; Tom Pashley, Pinehurst Resort executive vice president; Murray Smith, historic car collector and racing organizer; Freeman Thomas, director of strategic design for Ford Motor Company North America; and Matt West, founder and CEO of Intangibles.
The inaugural Pinehurst Concours in May 2013 attracted more than 5,000 fans despite rain and unseasonably cool temperatures, and received rave reviews from entrants and collector car enthusiasts across the country.
Tickets for the premier automotive and lifestyle event went on sale Nov. 1. For more information on the event and ticket availability, visit www.pinehurstconcours.com.
Pinehurst Concours d'Elegance, PInehurst Resort, U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, concours, Bob Ingram, Tommy Bolton, Jamie Doyle, Sports Car Digest, Rory Ingram, Ingram Collection, Terry Karges, Peterson Automotive Museum, Randy Leffingwell, AutoWeek, Los Angeles Times, Chad McQueen, Bruce Meyer, Graham Moore, Fort Bragg, Tom Pashley, Murray Smith, Freeman Thomas, Ford, Matt West, Intangibles
With more than 80 employees managing live entertainment, experiential activation and creative services, most of our clients don’t meet some of the men and women who make projects possible. James Raven is typically one of them - the smart, quiet, creative type.
A little more than five years ago, James Raven began his career at JHE. As a student at UNC-Charlotte, he interned for JHE in 2007 and after graduation earned a full-time position at the event experience company.
Prior to JHE, the Aquarius juggled several jobs through college including assistant manager at a pool, waited tables and sold furniture at Furniture World.
So, we put James to the test to answer some very difficult questions:
Q. What’s your role at JHE?
A. Graphic Designer
Q. What has been your proudest moment since working with JHE?
A. Seeing the printed Sports Illustrated ad for NASCAR After The Lap.
*James designed the 2010 and 2011 NASCAR After The Lap creative elements including the Sports Illustrated ad.
Q. If you wanted to be president one day, which prior president would you most want to be like? Why?
A. Okay, if I had to be president for one day, I would want to be Hala Moddelmog, President of Arby's. I would assume that would come with free food.
Q. What inspires your creativity?
A. Being bitten by a radioactive mouse.
Q. What’s your favorite sport?
A. College football (FSU).
Q. Best quote?
A. "You must have me confused with someone a little less fantastic." (Tony DiNozzo, NCIS)
Q. Anything else to add?
This is a picture of who my wife thinks it would be nice if I looked like.
The 29th annual Arena Grand Prix at Charlotte presented by UltraSwim is a home meet for Charlotte’s top swimmers. The six-city competition offers swimmers the opportunity to take home prize money for top finishes in all individual Olympic-distance events during each meet in the series. The series also serves as an opportunity for swimmers to race against some of the best competition in the country as they continue to prepare for numerous worldwide championships.
The fifth stop in the series took place May 9-12 at Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center in downtown Charlotte, the home pool of SwimMAC Carolina. More than 30 SwimMAC swimmers participated in the meet, including Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones, along with numerous NCAA Champions. Other notable swimmers included Charlotte-native and two-time Olympic gold medalist Ricky Berens, eleven-time Olympic medalist and reality show star Ryan Lochte, four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin, two-time Olympic medalist Anthony Ervin and Olympic gold medalist Dana Vollmer.
For the second year in a row, JHE supported the event including sponsorship support and donation of a hospitality trailer which was used by competitors in-between races. JHE looks forward to continuing to support this premier event in its hometown.
As producer and promoter for the inaugural Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance, JHE had the great honor of working with Bob Ingram. Ingram, who is one of North Carolina’s most influential business leaders, was named honorary chairman of the event. A Durham resident and avid collector of vintage automobiles, he served as the spokesman and advisor for the vintage automobile show held at Pinehurst Resort May 3-5, 2013.
After the conclusion of the inaugural weekend, the car enthusiast shared his thoughts on JHE, the show and what he hopes the future will bring for the first-time event:
1. What was it like working with JHE for the inaugural Pinehurst Concours?
Mr. Ingram: I was proud to work with the JHE team. It was clear to me that Jay Howard and his team had the background, success and the commitment to make this event possible.
2. What do you feel like differentiated the JHE team?
Mr. Ingram: Total professionalism, well prepared, clear accountability and thorough follow up.
3. What were you most excited about seeing at the inaugural Pinehurst Concours?
Mr. Ingram: I was most excited to see the first matching of Pinehurst’s beauty and history with anincredible field of beautiful and historic automobiles.
4. What was your impression of the inaugural Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance?
Mr. Ingram: We met or exceeded people’s expectations – great initial event.
5. What do you hope to see in the future for the event?
Mr. Ingram: I hope the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance at the Pinehurst Resort will become a destination for this hobby ever year.
6. Where did your passion for classic cars originate?
Mr. Ingram: I have had “the car gene” since I was a young boy. I worked my way through college as a bookkeeper for a Chevrolet dealer. We have been collecting Porsches for more than 15 years and enjoy doing it together as a family.
7. What is your favorite collectible car?
Mr. Ingram: My favorites are the early aluminum Porsche race cars, such as the 1952 America Roadster, 1955 550 Spyder, 61 Porsche Abarth Carrera GTL and the 1964 Porsche 904 GTS.
The Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance will return to Pinehurst Resort May 2-4, 2014, with entry applications being accepted starting July 4. Next year’s event will kick off a prestigious six-week period at Pinehurst Resort, which will also host the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open on consecutive weeks in June.
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.
JHE has had the honor of producing and promoting Food Lion Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola since 1996. The three-day festival delivers an unprecedented consumer event offering live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars and interactive displays from sponsors including Food Lion, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet and many more.
Take a look at the 19-year-old event by the numbers:
The event debuted in 1995.
In 18 years of the event, approximately 7.2 million people have attended.
Approximately 4,800 feet of fence and 1,400 feet of fence signage are used at Food Lion Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola.
Since its inception, over 345 drivers have made appearances at the event which is a precursor to the Coca-Cola 600 held at Charlotte Motor Speedway and a part of the “10 days of racing in May.”
More than 119 multi-talented, award-winning musicians have performed at the festival since its inception.
Approximately 80 percent of attendees are country music fans.
Coca-Cola, the event’s first-ever presenting sponsor this year, has had pouring rights for 19 years and served as a stage sponsor for 16.
In 2012, the event generated 18 tons of materials that were recycled with the help of the nonprofit organization, Hands On Charlotte.
Five miles of cable are used at Food Lion Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola.
Food Lion Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola, Food Lion Speed Street, Speed Street, Food Lion, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, racing, NASCAR, Hands on Charlotte, Coca-Cola 600, Charlotte Motor Speedway, 10 days of racing
JHE has had the honor of producing and promoting Food Lion Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola since 1996. The three-day festival delivers an unprecedented consumer experience offering live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars and interactive displays from sponsors including Food Lion, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet and many more.
Though the event has been in existence for the past 19 years, here are five things you might not know:
1. More than 119 multi-talented, award-winning musicians, such as Keith Urban, 3 Doors Down, Pat Benatar, 38 Special, Luke Bryan, Halestorm and many more, have appeared at the event over the past 18 years. This year’s headliners include Jon B, SWV, Randy Houser, Jamey Johnson, Sister Hazel and Survivor on the Coca-Cola stage.
2. In 2012, the event generated 18 tons of recyclable materials including cardboard, bottles, grease, cans and paper. Hands on Charlotte, a volunteer, non-profit organization, provided the manpower to fuel the on-site recycling efforts for Food Lion Speed Street.
3. Coca-Cola is the event’s longest running sponsor with a significant on-site presence since the festival’s inception in 1995, including pouring rights every year and serving as a stage sponsor for the past 16 years. The global leader in soft drinks and beverages will grow its presence this year, becoming the first-ever presenting sponsor of the event.
4. Approximately 4,800 feet of fence, 1,400 feet of fence signage and five miles of cable are used at the festival each year.
5. The consumer festival hosted a local contest this year and rewarded a Charlotte-based country band, Landon Parker, and a Concord-based rock band, Blu Avenue, a spot on the Coca-Cola stage to open for notable headliners. Landon Parker will perform Friday, May 24 at 6 p.m. and Blu Avenue will perform Saturday, May 25 at 5:30 p.m.
Be sure to stop by uptown Charlotte May 23-25 to experience the fun, free festival.
Known for its colorful and energetic designs, IZOD wanted to bring fresh, new style to the world of golf in 2013. IZOD’s sports marketing program kicked off at the acclaimed Masters and then put an elite golfer to the test for charity, all with a little help from JHE.
Partnering with Maxim magazine, the clothing brand dreamt up the ultimate Masters hospitality house and enlisted JHE to bring that dream to life.
The hospitality house was home to the IZOD social media hub April 8-12, with the team’s social media gurus parked inside and broadcasting live updates by the minute. IZOD golf ambassadors including Webb Simpson, Scott Piercy and Spencer Levin, stopped by to interact within the space as well. In addition, Google had a strong presence, hosting a PGA Tour Google+ hangout featuring IZOD golfers and Maxim models. Visitors had the chance to test out Google Glass, the newest innovation from the tech giant.
The IZOD hospitality house was transformed on Wednesday from a daytime VIP hub to a vibrant, party scene that was home to the Maxim Clubhouse. The clubhouse featured mannequins in golf attire, IZOD signage and golf touches throughout. Influencers, elite VIPs, IZOD golfers and Maxim models mingled across the street from Augusta National.
Only a few weeks later, IZOD put Webb Simpson’s skills to the test at the Belk store at SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, N.C. The clothing company enlisted JHE to re-create a golf green with a 100-yard bull’s-eye. JHE dreamt up the challenge and executed the design and build of the stunt on top of the parking structure.
On April 29, Simpson had one chance to hit the ball inside the “O” of the IZOD logo to earn $100,000 for Beds for Kids. Simpson‘s attempt faded just right of the target, however, IZOD and Belk still presented Beds for Kids with a $20,000 check.
JHE is excited about future opportunities to work with the clothing giant.
JHE is proud to be the producer and promoter for the inaugural Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance. The inaugural event unites the best in golf with the best in automobiles May 3-5.
On Friday, May 3, Pinehurst Resort and Fort Bragg will join forces in a parade of cars and courage as the weekend’s show car participants make the 70-mile, round-trip drive to the base for the Iron Mike Rally.
Up to 118 Corvettes and Porsches from across the region will be featured on Saturday, May 4 at the Pinehurst Fairway Drive presented by AutoTrader Classics, with each brigade headed by cars owned by automotive executive and champion car owner Rick Hendrick and business executive and noted Porsche collector Bob Ingram.
The inaugural Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance field of 118 exclusive show cars will compete Sunday, May 5 on the emerald green fairways of Pinehurst Resort, an industry leader in the sport of golf and true trend setter in Southern hospitality.
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.
Sometimes the most complicated and elaborate productions come from very humble beginnings.
Take the annual NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge. Housed in Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena, the May competition rewards the top crewman at each over-the-wall position as well as the quickest overall team. The televised production consumes six hours, counting the seeding rounds, and is attended by at least 6,000 people.
The long-running UNOCAL 76 Pit Crew Competition at Rockingham ended after the 2003 season, leaving the Sprint Cup team’s crew members without a competition to show off their expertise. To replace the competition, NASCAR and JHE president and founder Jay Howard worked together to create the current competition which made its debut in 2005.
Serving as the only NASCAR sanctioned indoor event, today’s format features two lanes down the center of the arena floor with four stationary cars located on the outside of each lane. Each over-the-wall crew member must perform his duty at the proper station, then run to his team’s car located at the top of the lane and help push it down and across the finish line. NASCAR officials then inspect each crew member’s performance to determine if any penalties should be assessed. The team with the quickest time wins the round and advances in the single elimination event.
JHE produces the entire NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge, a project that involves all of the company’s 85 employees. Production of the event includes competition format, marketing and promotions, ticketing, arena entertainment, as well as timing and scoring.
With a shared mission to give back, the Dale Jr. Foundation has selected JHE to produce the second annual “Driven to Give” fundraising event. The occasion will raise money for resources to improve underprivileged youth’s confidence, education and opportunities to achieve extraordinary goals.
For the second year in a row, JHE will be responsible for the run of show, audio and visual equipment, and event logistics. This year, JHE will also be supplying signage for the charity gala.
This year’s event will be held on Wednesday, November 7 in Mooresville, N.C. Dale Jr. along with ESPN’s lead NASCAR reporter, Marty Smith, will host the event which includes a cocktail hour, dinner and silent auction. Following dinner, country music star Kellie Pickler will perform an hour-long acoustic concert for patrons.
The funds raised at the event will benefit Make-A-Wish of Central and Western North Carolina, Camp Lou, CURE for Childhood Cancer and other local organizations that support the charity’s mission.
JHE earned the opportunity to produce CarolinaFest 2012 during the 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte.
On Labor Day, September 3, American families gathered to celebrate the DNC week of activities at CarolinaFest 2012. The free event featured interactive expositions, family-oriented activities, live music and speakers. Guests enjoyed the best of the Carolinas’ food and culture, excellent entertainment, and the rare opportunity to witness history in the making.
Image courtesy of The Charlotte Observer
“Thanks to the JHE Production Group, CarolinaFest was a huge success,” said Dockery Clark, Charlotte 2012 Democratic National Convention Chief of Staff. “JHE was able to effective and efficiently execute a festival far beyond our expectations; the perfect way to kick-off the Democratic National Convention and welcome thousands of visitors and locals alike to Charlotte.”
Image courtesy of The Charlotte Observer
JHE, long-time producer of the 18-year-old Food Lion Speed Street, earned the role of event producer for CarolinaFest which included production of several feature concerts, speaker opportunities and more. The scope of work mirrored that of Food Lion Speed Street by working closely with police and city officials, vendor placement, overall event layout, opening and closing ceremonies, food vendors, equipment and more.
Ann Nestor has a successful track record of event planning experience. From the pools of USA Diving to the race tracks of NASCAR to various corporate hospitality functions, she has the experience to deliver exceptional client experiences within a diverse array of environments.
Before joining JHE in 2012, the Pennsylvania native spent four years as a vital member of the USA Diving management team. Nestor served as an events and programs coordinator as well as a finance and operations coordinator. Obtaining this diverse experience has allowed her the opportunity to learn the administrative aspects of running a business from human resources, operations, insurance management and accounting. Most recently at USA Diving, she was responsible for event planning and management inclusive of national and regional diving meets, budgeting, competitive rules and more.
Nestor graduated from Ohio State University with a Master of Arts in sport and exercise management and a Bachelor of Science in sport and leisure studies.
Q. What’s your role at JHE?
A. I am an event coordinator in the Special Events department.
Q. What’s been the most surprising thing about JHE?
A. I’m still amazed at how many things we’re capable of as a company. I’ve learned so much since I’ve been here just by being exposed to all of the different services we offer. And everyone is a team player – I think its great how we all pitch in to help get things accomplished!
Q. When looking back at the Charlotte in 2012 media party, what were you most excited about? What was the biggest challenge?
A. I was really excited to see the entire event come together. There were so many different things going on at the same time – a DJ playing at Butter, aerialists hanging from the ceiling at Silver Hammer Studios, and food trucks parked in the Time Warner Cable amphitheater, to name a few – and it was great to see everything go off without a hitch.
The worst-quickly turned-best moment of the event happened two hours prior to the start of the event. A huge storm blew through the NC Music Factory, ripping up signage, blowing over hundreds of feet of bike fence, and left us all soaked for the rest of the night. But thankfully, the event’s 100+ volunteers were arriving at that time. We asked about thirty of them to come help us, and with their help, we were able to lift 500-feet sections of bike fence back into place and start the event on schedule!
Q. What makes you or your colleagues good at your job?
A. Our Special Events department is great at working together. I think we all bring different strengths and ideas to the table so if we ever need help with something, someone in our department will have a solution.
Q. Your previous experience was with USA Diving. Did you watch the Olympics and if so, who were you pulling for to earn a medal?
A. I was glued to the TV during the Olympics! I know all of the divers who represented the USA, and it was wonderful to see so many of them have great success, especially after such a long medal drought for our country. I also had a high school volleyball teammate, Christa Harmotto, playing for Team USA. It was amazing to watch her represent our country!
Q. From your time with USA Diving, what experiences have you been able to enact here at JHE?
A. Before I worked as an event coordinator at USA Diving, I actually served as the finance and operations coordinator. I handled all of the day-to-day accounting, budgets, and HR. Having to build budgets for a non-profit organization was really challenging but was great experience to gain for the rest of my career. Because of that experience, I’m really conscious about building budgets and planning out event spending.
Q. What’s your favorite sport?
A. My favorite sport to watch is football, but my favorite sport to play is volleyball. I played from 7th grade through college, and then played 2-3 nights a week in adult co-ed leagues while I was living in Indianapolis. I hope to find a competitive league here in Charlotte!
Q. Best quote?
A. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” I’m a big believer that when you travel or are in a new city, it’s really important to try new things and try to experience the area like locals. I always try to look for a local restaurant that’s off the beaten path or one that specializes in local cuisine. I’m pretty adventurous when it comes to food, so I’m usually up for just about anything!
Calling all car enthusiasts! The Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance is the first event of its kind at the world-renowned Pinehurst Resort and Golf Course. On May 5, 2013, the inaugural Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance will feature more than 150 of the most historic automobiles and motorcycles from around the world, including historically significant military vehicles.
Four days of events are planned for the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance starting on Thursday, May 2 with an Aerodrome Party at nearby Moore County Regional Airport. On Friday, May 3, many of the concours-participating vehicles will take part in a road rally from Pinehurst to Fort Bragg. A collector car auction will be held on Saturday, May 4, as well as a “Heroes” Gala event that evening at Pinehurst Resort.
Plans are currently being made between the Commands at Fort Bragg and the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance to involve the base and military members throughout the four-day event. Tentatively, these plans may include a road rally to the base, an insider’s view of Airborne and Special Operations Forces, and interaction between the Concours entrants, attendees, soldiers and their families, all geared to create memorable experiences that will last a lifetime.
JHE will serve as the official Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance event production company. Jay Howard, president and founder of JHE, also is on the Concours advisory board as a large-scale event expert.
JHE is proud to be associated with this event and an integral part of executing a world-class experience. For more information, visit www.pinehurstconcours.com.
On September 1, JHE added yet another mark on its resume by playing host to approximately 15,000 members of the media for the official kick-off celebration of the 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC).
Held at the N.C. Music Factory just minutes from Uptown Charlotte, the DNC Host Committee entertained guests from 6 – 10 p.m.
Founded in 1987, the award-winning event experience company, specifically the live entertainment team, played a critical role in the execution and success of the DNC Host Committee media party by serving as logistics manager.
The logistics capacity required JHE to oversee the entire production of the event, maintain a timely run of show, and manage the selected vendors as well as maintain a detailed and to-scale budget.
Image courtesy of The Charlotte Observer
"As media descended on Charlotte for DNC coverage, we turned to JHE Production Group to execute the welcome party," says Mary Tribble, Chief of Event Planning for the DNC. "Their knowledge and experience proved to be invaluable as they overcame any obstacles necessary to produce a superior event. We were thrilled to partner with this exceptional company."
The N.C. Music Factory became the “place to be” on September 1 with music, DJs, comedians and a multitude of activities that highlighted the city of Charlotte. The DNC Host Committee media party was one for the JHE record books!
As the 25-year-old event experience company evolves, its finger continues to be on the pulse of what clients need to host customers, special guests and VIPs. Understanding those needs, JHE introduced two executive-level hospitality venues within the last two years to provide that unique and intimate interaction requested by clients.
Known as “H2,” this mobile venue offers two executive-style offices that accommodate up to eight people per office, is Wi-Fi connected and a great location for conducting business at a sporting event, conference or special occasion.
H2’s entertainment capabilities extend up as well. The observation deck provides guests a birds-eye view at any venue and compliments the outdoor hospitality space which includes a 40 foot long awning, luxury tables and chairs.
Creating a similar high-end entertainment area, H3 is an excellent destination for conducting business anywhere. H3 offers guests a private office including two work stations and a small conference table. In addition, business can easily be conducted in the large conference room holding up to eight people. The mobile unit also delivers a casual gathering space for four, a private restroom and flat screen TVs in each office. The satellite and Wi-Fi-equipped venue also creates an outdoor environment with its large awning, tables and chairs.
Both H2 and H3 can be custom designed with a company’s brand or appropriate thematic.
Schedule H2 or H3 for your next corporate function and experience was it’s like to provide your customers, clients or colleagues a first-class experience.
Since 2010, JHE Production Group Inc. has worked closely with NASCAR to produce the unique and unforgettable event, NASCAR After The Lap. The annual event held during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week gives fans a never-seen-before perspective of the sport.
The 2011 unfiltered, tell-all question-and-answer session featured the top-12 NASCAR drivers and was held at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas on Dec. 1, 2011.
Send Me 2 Vegas Sweepstakes
As a means to capture data for Ford, NASCAR created the Send Me 2 Vegas sweepstakes.
JHE served as the administrator of the sweepstakes, managed data collection, legal and more. The website collected sweepstakes entries and hosted JHE-produced videos.
Beginning September 15, Send Me 2 Vegas launched for a robust 10-week campaign with entries accepted online and at select race tracks.
The sweepstakes wrapped up on Nov. 20, awarding Mary Ann Manna a 2012 Ford Explorer XLT, a trip for two to NASCAR After The Lap, two nights at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and more. The sweepstakes received more than 325,000 entries exceeding 2010 efforts by more than 40%.
NASCAR After The Lap & Coca-Cola Fan Zone
After the launch of Send Me 2 Vegas, JHE shifted its attention to the event such as venue design and logistics, run of show for the hour-and-a-half live program, scripting for two hosts, organizing the Coca-Cola Fan Zone and event promotion.
Prior to the start of NASCAR After The Lap on December 1, the free, interactive Coca-Cola Fan Zone began at noon PT with an estimated 1,600 fans enjoying 16,800 square feet of fun including The Sprint Experience; Game Show Network, Ford and Coca-Cola displays; games, concessions, and more. Logistics included load in and load out, fencing, display layout and needs and programming for four hours.
The Coca-Cola Fan Zone served as the finish line for the NASCAR Victory Lap parade requiring coordination of 12 race cars and drivers in entering the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. JHE managed the fans trying to see their favorite driver. To assist with seeing the drivers, JHE constructed a walk-over bridge, created an outdoor red carpet entrance and managed multiple TV crew. Then JHE and team escorted the drivers safely from their cars inside The Joint.
NASCAR After The Lap was held at The Joint, providing 80,226 square feet of space. The first and third floors were general admission tickets while the second floor was hospitality for corporate partners.
JHE was responsible for food and beverage and hospitality for five suites. Customized décor included sponsor-branded drum heads in the suites and a guitar in the red room.
Coca-Cola’s “red” room served as the private room for the 12 drivers. The room setup, branding and hospitality were managed by JHE.
For the show, producers utilized a 60 by 40 feet by five feet high stage. Ten banners were flown above the stage to create the backdrop resembling a sunburst of red and orange.
An interior red carpet was designed to allow the drivers to enter from behind the fans, walk down the center of the room, over a 12 by 4 foot specially-constructed bridge and then onto the stage.
Working closely with the lighting designer, organizers incorporated multiple moving light features throughout the show, conventional lighting fixtures, spot lights, and effects.
The 2011 Champion entered via a one-of-a-kind race car reveal. The car was hoisted onto a specially-constructed decking and tent and then driven into the venue under a confetti cloud and smoke.
As a new element, JHE incorporated funny videos into the show from VIPs and industry personalities, appearing on two large projector screens flanking the stage. They also designed custom graphics to ask drivers questions with fan tweets and Facebook posts.
Ford randomly gave away a truck thus requiring JHE to manage the legal ramifications quickly and incorporate into the show. The truck was unveiled utilizing the same entrance as the Champion.
NASCAR.com offered a live webcast which required a “plug in” to JHE’s in house video and thus streamed the event to 14,000 viewers, a 64% increase in viewership from 2010.
JHE coordinated ticketing, venue management, sweepstakes execution, event planning and more, resulting in a successful, comprehensive effort.
From Send Me 2 Vegas to the Coca-Cola Fan Zone to NASCAR After The Lap, the event was extremely successful due to the extensive behind-the-scenes work JHE did. The numbers as well as the feedback below only validate the success of the third annual event.
USA Today reporter Nate Ryan tweeted “After The Lap an unqualified success for second consecutive year. It's amazing what you learn about these guys in that setting.” While Jeff Gluck, writer for SBNation.com followed with “NASCAR After The Lap" is awesome! Drivers just came out to WWE-style intros and Stewart drove his car into the theater!” NASCAR.com reporter David Caraviello was impressed with the driver introductions “Rock-star like introductions here at After the Lap, complete with strobe lights. Champion Tony Stewart rolls in his race car.”
NASCAR After The Lap sold out with more than 2,000 attendees, 325,000 leads generated, and $12,000 raised for The NASCAR Foundation. Marketing and public relations efforts generated more than 625 million impressions.
From a production standpoint, JHE executed the sweepstakes and event flawlessly while maintaining a fresh and creative program for the fans.
Have you met H1 a mobile hospitality trailer offering office and entertainment space within the portability of an executive-level facility? Freightliner, a long-time partner of JHE, has and uses the facility frequently.
"JHE has provided Freightliner with exactly the vision we had for at-track hospitality and then some. We came to them knowing no other company could do what we wanted with the budget we had and with the enthusiasm they display for each and every project they take on. The hospitality coach set-up is perfect for entertaining clients at the track and JHE added all the small touches that make it unique to our business. Thanks to the JHE staff, I can arrive at the track and everything is set up and in place allowing me to focus on my customers and clients."
Stacey Premo, Freightliner Trucks
Motorsports Marketing Manager
H1 is equipped with two luxury offices and an awning for playing host to VIPS or special guests, an observation deck, the ability to showcase products and services, and unlimited branding opportunities.
Versatile, energetic, creative, innovative … these characteristics describe JHE Production Group, which on a daily basis transforms an ordinary event into something extraordinary and unique. Food Lion Speed Street is one of the events that exemplify JHE’s diversified talents.
JHE is often asked to dream up extravagant productions and festivals, including designing stages and sets, hiring crews to staff events, sponsorship sales, booking entertainment, and handling set-up and tear-down of events.
Debuting in 1995, the three-day festival now known as Food Lion Speed Street was designed to provide race fans with additional activities to enjoy during Coca-Cola 600 weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As a free event in Charlotte, N.C., the festival offers live entertainment, fan access to NASCAR’s stars, and vendor displays from sponsors. Concerts with top entertainers, activities that involve drivers and consumer events conducted by corporations headline the festival.
Since 1996, JHE has promoted and produced the festival and in 1997 Food Lion became its title sponsor. In the 17 years since taking control of the event, JHE has introduced more national entertainers, diversified the music genre, added new sponsors annually and kept the activities fresh in order to appeal to several generations and interests. JHE has transformed the festival into a consumer-focused event that provides fans with a glimpse into NASCAR while enjoying free music and the opportunity to interact with sponsors and consumer brands.
Food Lion Speed Street highlights since JHE assumed its current role include:
1999 - Montgomery Gentry and Kool & The Gang headline the concerts.
2000 - A promotion known as Food Lion RaceFan Challenge is hosted by nationally known talk show host Regis Philbin.
2001 - The SPEED channel moves its show “Trackside Live” from Charlotte Motor Speedway to the festival.
2002 - Entertainers include George Jones, Keith Urban, .38 Special, Pat Green and Better Than Ezra.
2005 - “American Idol” finalists and show host Ryan Seacrest appear at the Coca-Cola Stage.
2007 - The American Strong Man Competition and 14 bands, including Diamond Rio, Joe Nichols and Sara Evans with the Wreckers entertain festival attendees.
2008 - Travis Tritt, Albemarle, N.C.-native Kellie Pickler and Jagged Edge are among the musicians who perform.
With a constant evolution of new ideas, JHE has turned Food Lion Speed Street into the largest motorsports-themed, consumer festival in the nation. In May 2011, JHE delivered an unprecedented experience to 400,000 people via live entertainment, racing’s stars and vendor displays from such corporations as Food Lion, Coca-Cola, Miller Lite and Chevrolet. Of those who attended the festival, more than 65 percent were NASCAR fans with 38 percent coming from outside the Charlotte region.
Entertainers in 2011 included Clay Walker, Josh Turner, Eddie Money, Everclear and Rose Royce. Drivers from various racing series made more than 75 appearances. In addition, there were 37 interactive displays and fans were treated to an estimated 2,250,000 giveaways during the three-day festival. Opening ceremonies included a parade through downtown Charlotte featuring grand marshal Bobby Allison, a NASCAR Hall of Fame member, and the star of Disney*Pixar’s movie “Cars 2”, as Lightning McQueen.
In addition to being a family-friendly event, Food Lion Speed Street also features four of the five longest-running sponsorships in the Charlotte region. Coca-Cola maintains the top spot with ownership of the Coca-Cola 600 followed by its involvement with Food Lion Speed Street starting in 1995. Miller Lite also joined the 18-year-old festival in 1995 with Chevrolet and Food Lion joining in 1996. Additional sponsor activities provided fans with the opportunity to test drive their favorite Chevrolet, cooking demonstrations, a Kids Zone presented by General Mills and a barbecue competition.
On Jan. 21, 2012, NASCAR delivered fans an unforgettable experience, NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint that featured driver autograph and question-and-answer sessions, show car appearances, simulators, games and more.
To help organize and execute NASCAR Preview 2012, NASCAR turned to long-time partner, JHE Production Group, for creativity and overall production of the event.
With more than 50 drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on the docket to attend and several thousand fans expected, JHE had a lot of work to do.
Held at the Charlotte Convention Center, JHE began planning the all-day, behind-the-scenes fan event in July 2011. Featuring autograph and question-and-answer sessions with current drivers, the one-day event included show car appearances, simulators, games and more.
JHE began laying the framework for the event including layout, available space for sponsors and key partners, ticketing, branding and signage, 10 hours of event programming, and autograph session logistics.
The activation encompassed a space of 150,000 square feet within the Charlotte Convention Center and entertained more than 6000 attendees over the course of 10 hours.
For a $10 event admission, fans had access to numerous fan-driven experiences from teams, broadcast partners, tracks, sponsors and more. Programming began at 7 a.m. and concluded at 5 p.m.
In 2001, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) decided to organize a historical celebration to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ famous first flight.
The concept was to create a multi-day festival, known as First Flight Centennial Celebration that would provide guests a one-of-a-kind experience, generate national media attention, play host to dignitaries and pay homage to the occasion.
Planning started in 2001, and the six-day celebration took place Dec. 12 - 17, 2003.
Held at the 450-acre Wright Brothers National Memorial, 115,000 spectators attended and enjoyed aviation exhibits, musical entertainment and daily air shows.
Numerous dignitaries took part in the ceremony including President George W. Bush, actor John Travolta, astronauts John Glenn and Neil Armstrong, and aviation expert Chuck Yeager. National television outlets including “Good Morning America” and “The Today Show” covered the event.
JHE was responsible for production and coordination of the event; engaging with various departments within the National Park Service; dignitary logistics including secret service; securing entertainment like Michelle Branch, the Beach Boys and The Temptations; and managing the run of show. JHE also coordinated military and private flyovers for the festival.
Since 2010, JHE has worked closely with NASCAR to produce the unique and unforgettable event, NASCAR After The Lap. The annual event held during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week gives fans a never-seen-before perspective of the sport.
The 2011 unfiltered, tell-all question-and-answer session featured the top-12 NASCAR drivers and was held at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas on Dec. 1, 2011.
JHE’s creative department has been a critical member to the development of the program. For Send Me 2 Vegas and NASCAR After The Lap, the team designs a multitude of advertisements, custom videos, and engineers an engaged sound plan for the premier event.
JHE-designed advertisements have appeared in Sports Illustrated, Las Vegas Magazine, online, billboards and much more.
In addition, customized videos were designed for integration on the website as well as into the event run of show.
The Ryan Newman Foundation Charity Dinner is an annual fundraiser organized by NASCAR driver Ryan Newman and wife Krissie benefitting animal welfare, conservation and provides college scholarships through the Rich Vogler Scholarship program. Since 2009, JHE has produced the charity dinner featuring live musical entertainment and interactive activities.
In 2009 when Ryan and Krissie Newman approached JHE to produce the event, they wanted to host the Ryan Newman Foundation Charity Dinner at their farm in Statesville, N.C. The goal was to provide a casual yet distinct fundraising experience for guests and make them feel at home.
Providing this opportunity required a seasoned event organizer who could transform the property into a multi-faceted event space. The site was completely bare with no infrastructure in place, no electricity, heat or restrooms in the vicinity.
Therefore, JHE tackled these challenges, constructing the site from ground up and managing the necessities of power, heat and providing restrooms for guests. The extreme cold of December was accounted for in the planning process to ensure an abundance of warmth for guests.
Despite the obstacles, organizers eagerly took on the challenge which entailed site construction, setup, design, vendor management, decor, valet, event run of show, video production and more.
Each year since 2009, an estimated 450 guests attended including sponsors, fellow NASCAR drivers, fans and other celebrities.
In 2011, The Ryan Newman Foundation Charity Dinner changed venues to the Statesville Civic Center in Statesville.
The 2012 Ryan Newman Foundation Charity Dinner is slated for December 7 at the Statesville Civic Center. With an expected 520 guests for the eighth annual event, the cocktail reception will take place from 6 - 7 p.m. with dinner, entertainment and an auction beginning at 7 p.m. If you are interested in a sponsorship package or purchasing a table to the event, please contact Mary Grams at 704-876-8776 ext. 3 or email email@example.com.
From start to finish year after year, JHE delivers a turn-key, detailed event that provides guests with a welcome reception and enjoyable evening!