Heather Rouffe is a “numbers person,” she says, and she always thought she’d wind up in accounting. But when she started organizing events for nonprofits, “That’s when I fell in love with the events industry,” she explains.
She wound up at her current company—Atlas Party Rentals of Boynton Beach, Fla.—by happenstance. “Seventeen years ago, I met Randee [Wechsler], who is one of my partners today at Atlas. I sold her an ad, and a few days later she offered me a job,” Rouffe explains. “I started as inside sales, then moved to outsides sales, then finally to director of sales. I am still director of sales today, but have added managing partner to my role at Atlas for the last six years.”
Today, Atlas oversees events throughout south Florida with 120 employees in season. “In our busy season we could be delivering 200-400 orders in a week. This past year the week of Art Basel in Miami we had over 400 deliveries in one weekend, it was incredible!” Rouffe says. The company offers everything “from linens and tabletop items, to tables, chairs, dance floors, and a full line of commercial cooking equipment,” she says.
Rouffe will serve as an Ambassador for The Special Event + Catersource 2021, which will take place July 19-22 at the Miami Beach [Fla.] Convention Center. Why did she take on this project? “Honestly, it is an honor to have been asked to represent The Special Event and Catersource, and even more of an honor this year with all that is happening in the world,” she says. “This is an iconic show I have been lucky to attend many times over the years. I truly believe this year’s show will be extra special and a testament to the resilience and strength of our industry. I am so looking forward to connecting with my fellow industry friends and making many new ones at the conference.”
The biggest challenge facing the event industry today is, of course, the COVID crisis. “Every facet of the event world is facing a unique set of challenges as different cities, counties, and states are in different stages of reopening,” Rouffe says. “We have been working hard to stay very flexible during this time, something that has been greatly appreciated by our vendors and our clients. We are breaking our typical minimums to accommodate many of the smaller events that are happening now as more people are choosing to celebrate at home.” She adds, “As far as safety related changes, we already had extremely high standards at Atlas. In addition to the rigorous sanitation procedures we currently have in place, we have implemented contactless delivery, limited appointments in our showrooms to allow for social distancing, and our staff is following all mandates relating to PPE and workplace safety.”
Rouffe has a positive message for the industry: “Although we are facing many challenges right now, we will make it to the other side of this, together,” she says. “Lean on each other during this time and know that brighter days are ahead. We have faced challenges before, and we will conquer these challenges as well.”
Atlas Event Rental
1926 High Ridge Road, Boynton Beach, FL 33426