Bottom line a top concern as companies cut events
Steven J. Dundas
Planners say businesses avoiding luxuries, scaling back meetings in hurting economy
BY BETH FITZGERALD stockholders. How can they do a fun event for the staff if they are
EVENTS PLANNER Stan Levy got the call on a Wednesday: laying people off and the company’s not making money?”
Could his company run a company party for 200 employees Levy’s West Orange company, UniRec, means “unique recre-
on the following Sunday? ation.” One of Levy’s team-building events gets co-workers build-
“Of course, I said yes,” said Levy, a 35 year-veteran event ing bridges to each other out of Duplo blocks — giant-sized Lego
planner who said last-minute decisions are a symptom of this products. His company runs Take Our Children to Work Day for
uncertain economy. some companies, and in the summer, organizes company picnics.
He’s seen events canceled or downsized, and he’s been With the slowdown on the corporate side, UniRec is doing
asked to “sharpen his pencil” and quote a lower price. In corpo- more weddings, birthdays and bar mitzvahs.
rate events right now, “perception plays as important a role as “I just spoke to a company that for years did a very big com- Stan Levy, right, owner of UniRec, an event planning firm, demonstrates
the dollars,” Levy said. “Companies don’t want to be perceived pany picnic,” Levy said. “This year they’re scaling it back, but a typical team-building exercise with toy building blocks with event
as being inconsiderate, especially companies that answer to ➤➤ See BUDGET on page 21 planners Ivonne Santiago, left, and Merlene Wilder.
Green conventions taking root
Steven J. Dundas
Meetings with eco-friendly in terms of press,” O’Malley said.
With more companies using green
themes are growing strong
events to showcase their corporate responsi-
BY JOÃO-PIERRE S. RUTH bility to the environment, O’Malley said
AS SOME CONVENTIONS and shows scale exhibitors must work harder to stand out. “As
back, green events are growing into long-term everyone adopts a green image, the thing
placeholders on meeting calendars as more that’s going to differentiate companies are
companies look for opportunities to show off the green technologies they display,” he said.
their eco-savvy products and services. Pepcom also attracted new clientele with
Joseph D. Cascio, general manager with the environmental theme, O’Malley said.
the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center, Small companies that might have shied from
in Edison, and the Garden State Exhibit Cen- large shows chose to give EcoFocus a try
ter, in Franklin Township’s Somerset section, alongside the likes of Lenovo, Nokia and Sony.
said he’s seeing more green meetings at the New Jersey will host another green-
venues. “There have been many ‘change to themed event Oct. 9, when the Essex Green
green’ themes that have been added, such as Business Summit is held on the Newark cam-
the usual Home Show now shifting to the In order to showcase their eco-friendly pro