Yearly Archives: 2016

Event Recap: Inauguration Chat at the ILEA DC Lunch & Learn

Last month, ILEA DC was proud to host the ILEA Lunch & Learn: Inauguration Chat, an educational luncheon at The City Club of Washington in downtown DC. Obviously a very timely topic in our town, a panel of inaugural event experts spoke to a sold out room of attendees. Our amazing panel included Dale Harmon from Twigz Studios, Kelley Gillespie from GEM events, Kevin Olivera from Olivera Music Entertainment, Joyce Watson of Events DC, and Heidi Brown from AFR. Their insight was priceless and their stories showed us the Inauguration is a wonderful weekend of celebrations, hard work and intense challenges.


  • Inauguration events are planned with very short turnarounds. Answer client inquiries quickly.
  • The Red Zone (security perimeter including areas where the President may physically pass through) will cause venue, Metro and street closures starting late afternoon/early evening on January 19th. The map of the Red Zone changes daily and will change hourly 1/18-1/21.
  • Set expectations for your buyers. For example, they may need guests to walk several blocks if they’re not able to drive up to the building due to security measures. Issues like this may not be on their mind when envisioning their gala, but a planner in DC should prepare them.
  • Plan ahead: – Plan to use out of state vendors if local companies are at capacity.- Hire double the amount of staff you typically need. – Reserve lodging/Airbnb now for your staff to guarantee that you’ll have a team physically inside the Red Zone after 1/19 afternoon (or they may not be able to physically get to your events – yikes!). – Credential all staff members. If they are working events inside the Red Zone, they may need to be credentialed (typically at the Convention Center). Background checks, etc. are critical. Know your full staff. – Plan to load in equipment as early as possible (even 24-48 hours in advance). – You and your staff may get caught in security check points for 2+ hours. In January. Plan for cold weather and DO NOT send any trucks out without a full tank of gas! – Have a back up plan for everything. – Make sure you have insurance for any likely hiccup.
  • Secret Service Rules. Respect what they do to keep everyone safe. If they ask to you wait, to leave, to move – just do it.
  • Get payment in advance. Many of these inaugural committees dissolve right after their events.

Finally, Inauguration weekend is an incredible team effort by DC’s best event professionals. Call each other. Share info with each other. Collaborate. After all, that’s what ILEA is all about! Photo credit: Jerry Frishman – Great American Photo1-ilea-inauguration-chat-2 1-ilea-inauguration-chat-1 1-ilea-inauguration-chat-3 1-ilea-inauguration-chat-6 1-ilea-inauguration-chat-5 1-ilea-inauguration-chat-13 1-ilea-inauguration-chat-7 1-ilea-inauguration-chat-4 1-ilea-inauguration-chat-8 1-ilea-inauguration-chat-10 1-ilea-inauguration-chat-11 1-ilea-inauguration-chat-14

Jenny Langer
Jenny Langer is an Entertainment Specialist at ECE DC, an award-winning event producer, and an inductee in the Blues Hall of Fame. Looking for ideas on entertainment for your event? She is always happy to brainstorm with you!

2016 ECE Retreat Recap + Awards

As a growing company with fourteen offices located from Atlanta to NYC, it isn’t often that we find ourselves all in the same room. However, every other year, each ECE office comes together for a couple of days to commune at a company-wide retreat.

The 2016 ECE Retreat was held last week in Richmond, VA. While it’s a special occasion any time we have everyone all together, this retreat was especially extraordinary. We culminated the celebration of our 40th anniversary by converging upon our founding city for two days of laughter, fun and conversation.

The theme of our retreat was “Honoring the past. Building for the future.” This theme was woven throughout all retreat activities and sessions. In celebrating our 40th anniversary, it has been important for us to recognize our history and the individuals who have built ECE into what it is today. The ECE story is a cool one, and we are so proud to have a history rich in innovation, integrity and honesty.

Equally as exciting as where our company has been is where we are headed. We couldn’t be more thrilled as we sit on the cusp of launching our next 40 years. Our success is collaborative. We wouldn’t be where we are without our amazing clients, our talented artists and our dedicated employees.

On November 21, we honored our rockstar employees and two very special artists at the ECE Awards Dinner. The sit-down dinner was held at Sam Miller’s Restaurant in downtown Richmond.   The night began by recognizing employees who had reached a milestone in the number of years they have been at ECE.


Scott Toole, Doug Daniel, Ellie Schwarz, Diane LaBonte, Scott Haynes

L to R: Scott Toole, Doug Daniel, Ellie Schwarz, Diane LaBonte and Scott Haynes


L to R: Kevin Greene, Lydia Sanchez, Matthew Thomas, Chris McClure and Doug Daniel.

L to R: Kevin Greene, Lydia Sanchez, Matthew Thomas, Chris McClure and Doug Daniel.


L to R: Terry Evans, Doug Daniel and Jack Shannon. Not pictured: Lea Wren.

L to R: Terry Evans, Doug Daniel and Jack Shannon. Not pictured: Lea Wren.


Front row: Doug Baker, Kris Kaminski. Back row: John Wolfslayer, Mark Letson, Rick Stowe, Doug Daniel and Barry Herndon.

Back row: John Wolfslayer, Mark Letson, Rick Stowe, Doug Daniel and Barry Herndon. Front row: Doug Baker and Kris Kaminski.


L to R: Doug Daniel, Larry Farber, Toni Cline, Steve Harry and Ed Duncan.

L to R:  Doug Daniel, Larry Farber, Toni Cline, Steve Harry and Ed Duncan.

Next, employees were recognized for their lifetime sales achievements.


L to R: Doug Daniel, Kevin Greene, Ellie Schwarz, Toni Cline, Chris McClure, Clint Robins and Jack Shannon.

L to R:  Doug Daniel, Kevin Greene, Ellie Schwarz, Toni Cline, Chris McClure, Clint Robins and Jack Shannon.


L to R: Terry Evans, ECE Atlanta LMD Rick Stowe, CEO Doug Daniel and Matthew Thomas.

L to R: Terry Evans, Rick Stowe, Doug Daniel and Matthew Thomas.



L to R: Doug Baker and Doug Daniel

The next awards went to two very special artists.


L to R: Doug Daniel and Dennis Smith (Party On The Moon)

L to R: Doug Daniel and Dennis Smith (Party On The Moon)


L to R: Kenny Mann (Liquid Pleasure) and Doug Daniel

L to R: Kenny Mann (Liquid Pleasure) and Doug Daniel

The final two awards presented were the cherished Sheryl Benson and Dennis Huber awards. ECE’s legacy is rich with individuals who have been both inspiring, visionary leaders and models of integrity and honesty. Two of which, Dennis Huber and Sheryl Benson, set the bar so high with their attributes, ECE continues to honor them at company retreats by recognizing current employees who exemplify their admirable qualities. These awards are nominated and voted on by the employees of ECE.

The Sheryl Benson award was designed to honor and pay tribute to a great lady who was a solid and passionate advocate for ECE and our work here. In the 1980’s, Sheryl was one of the few female agents working in a predominantly male industry. On Leap Day in 1988, she broke new ground for ECE by becoming our first female agent. Over the course of her 23-year career at ECE, her counsel and advice was sought by everyone in the company, agents and artists alike.

Words that we have gathered from others to describe Sheryl and her character are: dedicated, artist-focused, great listener, ethical, unselfish, strong, thorough, moral, positive, tireless, respectful, respected, professional, knowledgeable, honest, sincere, of high integrity. This award is presented to an ECE employee who best exemplifies these qualities. Sheryl’s daughter and ECE partner, Kris Kaminski presented this special award to Diane LaBonte.

2016 SHERYL BENSON AWARD – DIANE LABONTEawardparty-93awardparty-95

The Dennis Huber award honors our founder who for many years was the heartbeat, soul and conscience of ECE. Born out of Dennis’s vision, creativity and drive, our company has become one-of-a-kind in our industry. Over forty years ago when ECE was just an idea, Dennis set us on a path and showed us that passion, hard work, and innovation could create something that many years later provides a wonderful career and so much enjoyment.

This award is presented to an ECE employee or artist who best exemplifies the qualities of leadership, integrity, honesty and hard work that we knew and admired in Dennis.

We were honored to have the Huber family join us for the awards dinner. Dennis’s daughter, Hannah, presented the award to Toni Cline.

awardparty-170 awardparty-104

The remainder of the evening was spent eating, conversing and celebrating! Below are a few additional photos from the event. We especially want to give a special thanks to the vendors who helped make not only this night, but our entire retreat beautiful and organized.

Event Planner: Glint Events | Photographer: Jessica Maida Photography | Florals: Petals and Twigs RVA | Rentals: AFR Rentals |  Dessert Bar: Sweet Fix | Hotel: Courtyard Marriott Richmond Downtown | Screen Printed Swag: Ink Floyd | Welcome Party Venue: 7 Hills Brewing Co | Awards Dinner Venue: Sam Miller’s Restaurant | After Party Venue: Sine Irish Pub



Real Wedding: Katie + Scott | The Stave Room | Atlanta, GA

Atlanta, GA has no shortage of fabulous event venues. From the most timeless and elegant of ballrooms to hip, urban spaces, the city is home to the some of the prettiest venues in the country.

We are in love with The Stave Room at American Spirit Works.  Nestled between Buckhead and Midtown, this 60,000sq ft complex is located in the trendy Sweetwater Design District and is the home to a fully-functioning whiskey distillery, covered courtyard, a bottle garden and expansive event space.

It was the perfect space for Katie and Scott’s chic wedding reception. After dinner, the party cranked up with Pure Party Band who kept the dance floor packed until the couple’s grand exit.

We can’t get over the amazing images from the day. Thanks to Altmix Photography for sharing!

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ECE Agent: Rick Stowe | Band: Pure Party Band | Photographer: Matt at Altmix Photography | Venue: Stave Room at American Spirit Works | Videographer: Atlanta Wedding Productions | Wedding Planner: Ashley Baber Weddings | Caterer: Bold American Events | Cake: Classic Cheesecakes & Cakes |  Florals: Tulip | Drapery Rental: Event Drapery | Lighting: The Magnum Companies Ltd. | Hair + Makeup: The Moore Agency | Tents: Peachtree Tents & Events