From Zero to 23 and counting! Or how to keep a client coming back for over two decades.
It was 1995. The (actual) phone rang. This before e-mail and at the referral of a friend. Barry Brown called to engage our services. As General Manager of The Utility Contractors’ Association , Mr. Brown and the UCA board of Directors were planning their first ever convention. Oh, they’d had 25 years of regular old annual meetings before, but this was a bold new leap. They’d chosen an August date at Queens Landing, Niagara-on-the Lake, for the occasion. With 35 guests, UCA needed something that would be a good fit. Something engaging and fun and a good time to remember. We suggested a small casino set-up, and the then man- of- the- hour, Mr. D.J. aka Ed McMurtry. (Ed is our industry’s original interactive DJ. One on whom the benchmark has since been set). With the small entertainment programme now lined up, we even ventured to take on the table centerpieces. Only 5 rounds of 8. Nothing floral for these contractors please!
With candles a- glowing, the first annual UCA Convention was born. They had an absolute blast. And the rest is history. We’re now proudly working with them on plans for the 23th annual convention. Mr. Brown , a veteran planner-member of both CSAE and MPI , is still at the helm and we’ve risen in the ranks from mere “ supplier” to Committee Members.
Here are a few of the ways this remarkable convention has transformed over the years. We now plan for 180 guests. We’ve moved everywhere from N.O.L to Montebello, Haliburton to Muskoka. The convention has grown from a “members-only” event to a “ family convention “. A delightful children’s programme now keeps the 40 + kids happy, while parents attend to the convention business agenda. Everyone attends the Fun night costume extravaganza, (who wouldn’t !) but for the final Gala we give the kids their own private send-off party. Our convention Program now spans 3 nights and 3 days. In two decades, we’ve rarely , if ever duplicated an entertainment or a themed decor. Why ..that’s a case of two-four’s on the Welcome Receptions, a bakers dozen on the Fun Night’s and almost a quarter-century of Gala Banquets.
20+ year events and loyal clients are pretty hard to guarantee these days. I’m super grateful to say I have not one, but 3 of them.
A few More Highlights:
Themed-Costume Spectacle by Delegates
Custom-Painted Photo Backdrops for each evening.
Unique Theatrical lighting designs for the Ballroom and Pre-Function Areas.
Extensive partnering with graphic design to create visuals that enhance the environment (e.g. menus, screen images, sponsor recognition, even centrepieces.
All Breakfasts and Lunches with Live Music
Featured Inspiring KeyNote Speaker at the AGM.