The team behind Special Events and The Special Event show mourns the loss today of co-founder Tim Novoselski, who died at his home in Idaho.
Along with his wife, Denise, Tim foresaw the potential of the event industry. In 1982, they launched Special Events, and in 1985, The Special Event show. The premiere industry association, ISES, got its start at The Special Event in Dallas in 1987.
HOW IT ALL STARTED For the 20th anniversary of Special Events, the magazine ran this interview with Tim in the Spetember 2002 issue:
The launch of Special Events Magazine was “truly half a vision and half luck,” says Tim Novoselski. That lucky vision grew from a little insert created in 1982 into the premier magazine serving the event industry today. The Special Events imprimatur now represents a multi-million-dollar enterprise including the magazine, its Web site and its trade show, The Special Event.
Back in 1982, Novoselski and his wife and business partner, Denise, headed Los Angeles-based Miramar Publishing, turning out three trade magazines. The company's flagship was the venerable Rental Equipment Register, founded in 1957, which serves rental equipment dealers. The Novoselskis had already spun off a successful magazine from RER, creating HomeCare Magazine in 1978 to address the needs of dealers in home health care equipment. But Tim Novoselski saw a new niche coming into its own.
Although rental dealers were increasingly adding party items to their inventories — tents, chairs and the like — “The party rental industry was treated as a second-class citizen,” he recalls. “Nobody paid it any attention whatsoever. So we decided to become more involved and look at party rental as an industry. At first we didn't know what we had or how it would evolve, but we knew we had something.”
The true strength of Special Events rose from Novoselski's ability to see beyond the party rental business itself to the profession that it stood for — special events. “I took my first step into the industry from party rental per se, but immediately we saw the relationships within the industry — the party planners, caterers, lighting people, florists. We said, hey, this is an entire industry — and not a tiny industry — but nobody is getting all these interests intertwined. It made sense to put it all together.”
The Novoselskis put it all together with Special Events, which made its debut as a quarterly insert in RER in September 1982. Special Events blossomed into a stand-alone monthly publication in 1984.
The Novoselskis took what Tim calls “the biggest gamble” in 1985 by staging their first trade show — The Special Event — at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. “A trade show isn't like a magazine, which you can adjust to accommodate the number of ads you sell,” he notes. Instead, he recalls waiting at the start with Denise, both dressed to the nines, for attendees to show up. “We had committed to all these rooms, we had all these hors d'oeuvre, and we weren't really sure who would come,” he says. “We stepped outside for a drink and I thought for a moment that I'd blown it, but we'd tried and we would have a hell of a party that night. Then, within 10 minutes, people started filing in, wave after wave of people. I thought, ‘My God, they came!’”
In those early years, others would tell Tim that he had blown it. “There was a lot of arguing and second-guessing of relationships as the industry evolved,” Novoselski says. “The rental dealers were disgruntled with the caterers, and vice versa. I heard, ‘Tim, this will never work — there are too many different components. This industry is too darn small — you're just wasting your time.’ Then after a couple of trade shows, we watched people get up and accept their Gala Awards.”
In the end, “We proved it — this was an industry,” Novoselski says. Without Special Events, “these different components of the industry were not going to get the recognition and respect that they deserved. It's heartwarming to know that what we did made a difference.”
In lieu of flowers, Denise Novoselski would like donations made to Tim's favorite charities in this order: McCall-Donnelly Education Foundation mdef.org/donate/; St Luke's McCall Foundation Cancer Patient Support Fund,1000 State Street, McCall, ID, 83638; McPaws Animal Shelter, mcpaws.org.