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WHETHER YOU'RE looking to brush up on basics or dive into a whole new discipline, The Special Event 2004 has the educational opportunity that is right for you. From Jan. 6-9 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, the event industry's must-attend trade show and conference will offer more than 125 seminar hours, with courses taught by the best minds in the business. Seven tracks covering everything from design to marketing to operations management make it easy to choose the programs that best suit your needs. Serious about expanding your skills and improving your earning potential? Then you owe yourself an overview of some of this year's essential sessions.


Keeping in stride with today's stricter event budgets, seminars in this year's Design Track focus on exceeding client expectations while doing more with less.

Taking the view that a unified crew delivers the best goods, a dream team of the industry's top talents presents “Who's On First,” Jan. 6. Covering issues from event pre-production to execution on site, speakers John Daly Jr. of John Daly Inc., International, Andrea Michaels of Extraordinary Events, Raymond Thompson of Images by Lighting, and Joann Roth-Oseary of Someone's in the Kitchen address ways to capitalize on expertise while cutting down on conflict.


With its focus on fostering profitability, the Business and Professional Development Track explores ways to apply creative talents to running a successful event operation.

Among seminars certain to attract savvy business owners and managers is the Jan. 9 course titled “Filling the Glass: Real-World Tactics for Increasing Productivity and Job Satisfaction.” Led by author and business expert Barry Maher of Barry Maher & Associates, the course will offer instruction in maintaining personal integrity while enhancing business performance and motivating others.


Geared toward wedding pros, the ABC-sponsored Wedding Track, now in its second year, features courses designed not just to enhance design creativity, but also to ensure a competitive business edge.

On Jan. 6, Master Bridal Consultants Frank Andonoplas of Frank Event Design and Lois Pearce of Beautiful Occasions put their experience to the task with “So You Want to be a Wedding Consultant/Planner/Coordinator?” Ideal for newcomers to the event field and working planners considering a switch to social events, the course will cover all aspects of establishing a wedding business, from initial setup to wedding design trends and beyond.


Sponsored by NACE, the Food Services Track tackles topics including tabletop presentation, service, staffing and business budgeting.

Looking at catering from a buyer's perspective, Shelley Pedersen, CPCE, of Beyond Cuisine presents “Bewitched, Baffled and Bewildered … Don't Be! Buy Catering with Confidence,” a Jan. 9 course that examines the five elements of catered events and sheds light on competitive bidding. Pedersen encourages attendees to bring actual blind bids from caterers, which will be analyzed by the group.


An understanding of today's tough business climate forms the foundation for courses in the Sales and Marketing Track.

One of many seminars designed to help event pros make the most of the latest experiential marketing techniques, “Everything You Want to Know About Promotional Products but Don't Know Who to Ask” offers answers. Led by Nowell C. Wisch of Nowell C. Wisch & Associates, the Jan. 6 course defines the differences among product classifications and looks at how a promotional products distributor can increase event attendance and — more importantly — enhance ROI.


The education program's Rental Track is geared toward both rental pros and their event planning counterparts, offering each side vital business tips and techniques.

With “Being Trendy: It Takes a Village” on Jan. 9, Jeff Brown of Someone's in the Kitchen, Tom Gifford of Abbey Event Services, Ian Zucker of Ten Strawberry Street and independent designer Trudy Adler team up to teach attendees how to identify style trends, incorporate them successfully and use their new savvy to attract and keep clients. Learn what steps designers, manufacturers and distributors take to introduce new design elements and how to transform your design ideas into reality by involving manufacturers and distributors in your vision.


Those event pros who thrive on the thrill of start-to-finish event coordination will find much to glean from courses in the Event Management Track.

This year, one of the track's highlights is certain to be the Jan. 9 “2004 Event Security Briefing,” presented by retired special agent John Taylor, director of the Homeland Security Summit, and Robert Fisak of Hunter Consulting Group. From the threat of terrorism to the problem of inebriated guests, this hard-hitting seminar will address how to assess risk and will offer practical solutions for making events safer and more secure.


Rounding out education offerings this year is a Jan. 6 MGM Mirage Events behind-the-scenes tour, led by MGM Mirage Events vice president Cheryl Fish and executive director Tim Koch. And for attendees gearing up for CSEP certification and those helping them achieve their goals, an expanded ISES Track offers introductory sessions, refreshers and exam section overviews. So take the time to set your seminar schedule now, and make your TSE education work for you.

For more information on these and all education offerings at The Special Event 2004, call 800/927-5007 or 203/358-3751, or visit

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