An Industry Love Fest

Shortly after I took the helm of this magazine in 2012, I met Keri Kelp Dinica—then the president of Metro Detroit NACE—for coffee, where she explained a new awards program that the local chapters of ABC, NACE and ILEA had put together. The idea, she said, was to raise the profile of the events industry in metro Detroit and to raise the bar for it.

Last night, as I sat at my table in the Silver Gardens Banquet Center, attending the Michigan EPIC Awards for the fifth time, I was struck by the fact that the entire thing was the creation of a group of volunteers. A bunch of motivated industry people came together and made something meaningful happen, and it has become what they envisioned: a meaningful, sought-after recognition for top-notch work.

Of course, because it’s an industry party, it’s also a blast. Derek Rafferty and his crew really couldn’t be more adorable or fun. Kristen Porchia seems to plan a stunning range of events, and to do so in shoes that are not for amateurs. Lotoya Vongrechin is loved and admired by everyone, and also rocks lime-green stilettos.

Perhaps most of all, the individuals who comprise the industry in our area are both deeply committed to producing breathtakingly beautiful and excellent events, and are vibrantly, enthusiastically supportive of one another. I love witnessing the excitement and desire to cheer each other on.

For a full list of winners, check out the awards website. Better yet, next year, be sure to go.

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Sun-drenched views of the Detroit River, fun entertainment and great camaraderie contributed to an exciting event packed with award presentations during the Michigan Meetings + Events magazine Best of 2018 readers’ choice awards.