Editor’s note: I had not made the connection until I began editing Scott’s words, but I realized I know his parents, Mike and Lisa. I met them when they were members of the Leading Caterers of America group. My heart just filled! His parents are lovely people, and it is wonderful to see Scott continuing with the family business of providing beautiful experiences for the important moments of our client’s lives.
You’ve all seen it. The bombastic board chair who is sure his all-volunteer committee can produce the gala event of the year all by themselves. The do-it-yourself dad who figures he can buy some string lights and fabric online to make his daughter’s bat mitzvah look just like those Instagram photos. The fact is, many people assume event production requires no special skill, talent, or training.
We industry folk should not be surprised that both politicians and the general public have shown a knee-jerk aversion to the concept of social gathering. The world blames social gatherings for propagating COVID-19, so much so that the term “social gathering” has been eternally poisoned.
It is up to us to change that narrative. We will never reopen, never survive, unless we are successful at making a simple distinction: Professional events are NOT social gatherings.
In Hawaii, multiple grassroots movements have sprung up under a unifying mission: to inspire legislation to immediately allow for legalized Structured Assembly. We seek to achieve seven goals:
- Redefine what our industry does as Structured Assembly, which is separate and distinct from social gathering, in all legal and media references.
- Define Structured Assembly as “a congregation of any number of people in a safe, socially distanced manner, professionally coordinated using professional vendors in a public or private setting.”
- Define Professional Coordinator as “any individual or group who has a valid business tax license and has a primary business focus of coordinating and organizing groups of individuals.”
- Define Professional Vendor as “any individual or group who has a valid business tax license and provides a good or service.”
- Educate 33% of our statewide population on the social and economic value of Structured Assembly.
- Achieve government recognition of the distinction between Structured Assemblies and social gathering and achieve public support of this distinction.
- Immediately legalize Structured Assembly.
Dear reader, please understand. This does not mean we can just go back to “normal.” Intrinsic in this effort is a pivot and a promise to adapt to the virus and mitigate its effects on society. Fortunately, “adapt and overcome” is what event people do best, and we can let our capabilities shine as we create new ways to deliver amazing experiences to our guests in a safe and structured platform.
This revival has just begun here in Hawaii, and we still have a way to go. But if we do not speak up for ourselves, nobody will. Enlisting the help of appropriate professionals, publicists, analysts, lobbyists, and advocates, we believe that by achieving those seven simple goals we can change the perception of our value proposition. Let us make people realize that our skills, talents, and training are valuable and relevant as we fight the effects of COVID-19 and get the world back to business.
About Accel Rentals
My dad—local catering pioneer Mike Rabe—saw a need in the industry for a better rental company. Upon his urging, my brother and I started Accel Party Rentals & Design. I was 14. Today, at the newly renamed Accel Events and Tents, I sit as Founder/Visionary, sharing knowledge and experience with our operating team and helping to set goals that will take us to future success.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Help first. By approaching relationships with that attitude, it builds fierce loyalty because people realize you bring value.
What’s next for Accel Rentals?
Technology. We have been focused on ensuring seamless information flow from top to bottom. This push for efficiency should reduce wasted labor and improve our client experience.