Best Event Design And Decor: Budget $25,000+, Best Corporate Event Planning: Budget $75,000+, And Best ISES Team Effort
On the opening day of the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, 1,600 guests attended an event hosted by medical-device manufacturer Medtronic at its headquarters. Attendees included delegates and leaders from Arizona, California, Indiana, Minnesota, and Tennessee, where Medtronic has a strong presence. The company goals for the event were to highlight:
• its new branding and its history
• Medtronic products and therapies
• the importance of the company to the guests’ home states
• the importance of collaboration between physicians and industry
As Hurricane Gustav was developing, the event also become an impromptu fundraiser for communities affected by the storm. Because the Republican Committee chose to limit parties on the opening night of the convention out of respect for storm victims, the fundraising was necessary to avoid cancelling the event.
Screen images, vinyl graphics, display panels, and lighting conveyed the company’s branding and message throughout the venue. Company experts were on hand to speak to visitors. The new brand images and colors—blues, greens, and purples—were used in the invitations and event decor. Guest moved between three main spaces:
• The conservatory, with dark blue and purple linens, featured an ice bar and ice curtains that allowed views into the next event space. Shelving filled with prepared drinks at the entrance allowed guests to pick up a glass and move on without creating a bottleneck.
• Light blue and purple linens and lighting were used in the adjacent commons area, which included a stage for guest speakers, Broadway performers, and musicians. A 10-by-30-foot screen above the stage displayed welcome messages for each state’s delegation and information about the company.
• The courtyard lounge, under a clear canopy set up outside, was decorated with green hues, acrylic furniture, chandeliers, and acrylic floor tiles lit from below. Koi fish swam in acrylic aquariums, and a 16-by-4-foot pool with four water fountains was surrounded by lounge seating.
The planning team worked closely with Medtronic to ensure they abided by new ethics laws and fundraising regulations.
(Best Event Design and Decor: Budget $25,001+)
• Pete Nelson, Event Lab
• Jim Leighton, Children’s Cancer Research Fund; Ryan Hanson, BeEvents; Amy Oriani, Martin Bastian Productions
(Best Corporate Event Planning: Budget $75,001+)
• Nancy Jacobs, EDG Productions
• Mary Anne London, Wow! Events by Kraus-Anderson
(Best ISES Team Effort)
• Elizabeth Hickock and Tracy Mouser, Events & Beyond; Russell Toscano, Wisteria Design Studio, Ltd.; Rachel Bruzek, D’Amico Catering