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“I don't like work — no man does — but I like what is in work — the chance to find yourself.” Joseph Conrad

ONE of the greatest pleasures in being the editor of a trade magazine is having the opportunity to listen to smart people talk about their work.

It's particularly fun to listen to special event professionals talk about what they do. Nobody goes into special events because the hours are short and the challenges are a snap. Quite the contrary, people seem to stumble into this business, only to find that the business gets into their blood. Then there's no going back to a more conventional workaday world.

In this issue, you'll find plenty of smart special events people talking about what they do. In “Confetti,” Imagination Ltd.'s Nichola Goad describes a Harry Potter DVD launch designed with an irresistible mix of fantasy and celebrity. This month's “Guest Room” gives a peek at the plans of event-meister C.B. Wismar. One of PGI's stalwarts, he has joined Carlson Marketing as vice president of event marketing, and promises to push creativity back to the forefront of events. Our profiles of the Gala Award winners are 35 case studies in creativity, and our interview with Cedric Ebener, part of the team behind the incredible Project Fox car launch (see page 46) demonstrates a new “open source” approach to marketing, where the target audience quite literally creates the event.

Our cover story, with our annual event rental industry forecast, gives a forum to plenty of smart event rental pros. We interviewed CEOs from our “30 Top Event Rental Companies” list to learn how they plan to deal with the roller-coaster ride that will be event rental this year. They agree that the outlook is good, but competitive pressures remain strong, and even a robust business climate brings its own set of headaches. Read more by turning to page 40.

While we quote our CEOs by name, we can't give credit to the hundreds of party rental pros who responded to the online survey from which we developed all the data presented in our forecast. We can't tell you their names because we promised them anonymity, and we want to keep our promise. But over and over, you can read in their responses the vision, guts and determination with which they will face 2006.

One event rental operator outlines a four-point plan for the new year: “1) Pursuing ISO certification; 2) Delegating responsibility and authority for meeting financial objectives; 3) Hiring good people and paying above-market salaries and commissions; and 4) Setting the vision, providing the financing and getting out of the way!”

Words to the wise.

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