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.

The Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE) hosted its first inperson event since the pandemic began at The Medalist Golf Club in Marshall. MSAE’s goal was to host a fun networking opportunity that followed COVID guidelines, and helped members gain confidence attending in-person events again.

 

Chances are, you won’t know you’re living through history until it’s too late. It’s already happening. A chain reaction has been set in motion and the ground has begun to slide beneath your feet. This past year has been a whirlwind to say the least. As a global pandemic sent the world reeling, planners were left grasping for footholds as the event industry was brought to a standstill and many of the most fundamental elements of live meetings and events were cast in a new light.

 

Lansing isn't just the capital of Michigan, but it’s also the central hub for the entire state—literally; it’s located within 90 minutes of 90 percent of the state’s population, making it both eventful and accessible for groups located throughout the state.