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Who's News for April 14, 2022

Special events business news

Venue News

Global hospitality company Benchmark Pyramid has assumed management of Riverhouse on the Deschutes, located on the riverfront of the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon. Benchmark Pyramid president Alex Cabañas is “delighted to expand our portfolio of experiential resorts and hotels to the state of Oregon and Bend’s spectacular setting.” He notes that Riverhouse on the Deschutes offers the quintessential Central Oregon experience, complete with LEED Silver-certified conference facilities and culinary, wellness, and outdoor adventure opportunities. The 221-room hotel overlooks the Deschutes River and provides fireplaces, private patios, and balconies among room choices. The hotel also houses the largest convention center in Oregon east of the Cascades, accommodating up to 1,200 guests, as well as the signature restaurant CURRENTS and sustainable wellness treatments at Drift Spa. 

People on the Move

Melissa Moten has been named Senior Vice President of Sales for Barton G, an award-winning hospitality group with events, design, and dining in Miami and Los Angeles. Moten, an industry leader with national and international experience, is known for her goal-oriented client approach and consistently exceeding high-level objectives. “I am thrilled to join a brand built by one of the most influential creative minds of our time, Barton G. Weiss,” says Moten. She plans to showcase the event space with her unique strategy and creativity. Moten holds many industry awards, including 40 under 40 (Connect Corporate), Supplier of the Year, and SITE. 

Award-winning event producer Carrie Sims has been brought on board the creative agency and event production company Fireplay to head the opening of their new office in Los Angeles. Fireplay, based in Nashville, is best known for its roster of music artist clients, and has produced Super Bowl performances as well as private events, with high-profile clients including Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Aerosmith, and Carrie Underwood, among others. With more than 20 years in the event industry, Sims is focusing on using her expertise to expand clientele both on the west coast and globally. She has been named one of Special Events’ “25 Young Event Pros to Watch,” received the TSE Scholarship from the Search Foundation, and has been honored as the 2012 “Event Professional of the Year” by International Live Events Association. 

Hot Off the Presses

Bill Hansen Catering & Event Production (BHCEP) of Miami has been accepted into Leading Caterers of America, a select group of the most successful caterers in the US and Canada. Bill Hansen is recognized as a “highly seasoned and experienced industry veteran,” according to Carl Sacks, LCA Executive Director. His high-profile clientele includes Pope John Paul II, the Bush family, Michael Jordan, and Kim Kardashian, to name a few. BHCEP is one of the largest catering brands in South Florida, with 800 events catered yearly, and 40 full-time and 200 on-call employees. In 2021, they created a new division, Mitzvahs and More, to provide luxury catering to Kosher-style and Jewish events. BHCEP is growing quickly, with mergers and acquisition of several successful brands. “We are in the business of selling experiences, not just food and beverage,” insists Hansen. 
Note: Leading Caterers of America is an invitation only caterers’ consortium, founded in 2007. LCA is affiliated with Catersource, the leading educational resource for the catering and events industry. To become a member of Leading Caterers of America, caterers must pass a rigorous evaluation and peer review of their quality standards, creativity, focus on service, and client feedback. 

Products on the Market

Luxury hotels and high-end outlets in United Arab Emirates (UAE) are beginning the first stage of a global initiative to phase out single-use plastics in favor of reusable eating utensils. Along with hotels, many restaurants, wellness centers, and clubs have also begun making the switch to sustainable straws. All restaurants and bars, in-room dining and takeaway options will be part of an effort to sustainably replace straws, plastic cups, lids, cutlery, stirrers and food containers, in order to help reduce marine waste. The sustainable straws, made by Finnish company Sulapac, are plant-based and biodegradable. One of the goals of UAE is to eventually switch to locally manufactured products using locally available raw materials. 

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