The Event Industry in Northeast Ohio

Did you know that the parties you attend in Northeast Ohio are among the best in the world? It’s one thing to think that but our event industry has the proof!

For the past two years, event professionals from Northeast Ohio have won awards from the International Special Events Society (ISES) at its annual “Esprit Awards”. These awards are given to only a handful of recipients who have helped produce some of the best events in the world as voted on by their peers. Cleveland’s GhostLight Productions won in 2012 and Youngstown’s Something New Events won in 2013 thus continuing our streak as an award-winning region. This year shapes up to be no different.

Creativity is the most powerful and well respected weapon in the event professional’s arsenal and this region is teeming with it.

Inspired by these two prestigious companies, many NEO companies submitted for this year’s awards set to take place at the end of August in the Bahamas. Our region has a record amount of nominees (8) including Something New Events, GhostLight Productions, Event Source, Everything Tented, and Solus Lighting. With nominees from Malaysia, Australia, Canada, and the U.K. the disproportionate amount of nominees from NEO has the event industry a buzz!

Speculation as to why NEO companies have been doing so well at international and national awards events such as the Catersource Conference NACE (National Association of Catering Executives) as well as the state-wide ISES WOW Awards, usually is attributed to creativity. Creativity is the most powerful and well respected weapon in the event professional’s arsenal and this region is teeming with it. Events in the Midwest often have lower budgets, on average than some of the events that take place on either coast of the US which means creativity is a survival trait for those who want to last in this region. Being able to create a once in a lifetime experience for a client is easy when money is no object; what makes it a challenge is doing it on a budget! Peer judges around the world have picked up on this and it’s why we’re consistently making an impact on the entire industry.

ises wow

I, myself, have had an exciting year with the industry at large by taking on a position on the International Marketing and Communications Committee for ISES as well as becoming the first “Brand Champion” of the Midwest region of the US. Another NEO event pro that has taken an important position within our community is Colortone’s Rick Turner, who, this year, became the President of the SEARCH Foundation which is national non-profit that raises money for event professionals in need. Participation in the larger arena of our profession is another distinction that separates NEO. One of the country’s best event professional conferences, The special event had over 25 NEO companies represented in attendance this year in Chicago willing to continue to advance their education in their profession.

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The Cleveland chapter of ISES is in its fifth year and currently has it’s highest number of members. These members meet once a month to network and learn from speakers on a variety of topics that will impact the success of their upcoming events. Passion, creativity, connectedness, and the guts and dedication needed to lead an industry, Northeast Ohio has distinguished itself as the one of the brightest regions in the special events industry.


Nick Borelli, Marketing and Communications Director for Colortone, has been in the event industry for over 15 years. Specializing in Social Media, Blogging, and Search Engine Optimization as well as sales, Nick is networked nationally to the pulse of the event industry. He has won the CBC Connector’s Choice Networking Star Award, ISES Ohio WOW Award for Best Marketing Collateral over $25,000, and is a SBN Interactive SoMe Impact Award Winner.

Follow him on Twitter – @NickBorelli

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