CWT was recently awarded a $450,000 grant by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, one of only six Minnesota companies selected this year.
The grant comes from the Job Creation Fund, which targets companies that are creating high-paying jobs in the state, while making the needed capital investments to support that growth. CWT is aiming to recruit 75 people over the next three years. It’s currently renovating its leased spaces at 701 Carlson Parkway to make way for the new hires.
Among the drivers of CWT’s growth is CWT Meetings & Events. Since October 2018, CWT M&E has added over 50 new people, mostly based in the Twin Cities. What's driving the recruitment? A slew of new businesses—including major new client wins and increasing demand from existing customers.
Counting among its biggest coups is the recent signing of a Fortune 10 health care company to a multiyear contract spanning more than 1,500 new events exclusive to CWT M&E. It’s also pursuing an aggressive strategy of organically growing its business with existing clients, among them, the titans of technology, where CWT M&E is being awarded more events and winning over more company stakeholders by building on a relationship of trust, a proven record of operational agility, and a renewed focus on creativity.
The success of these two strategies has seen CWT M&E grow 10 percent year-over-year and more than 400 percent over the last decade alone.
“Our message is resonating in the marketplace,” says Tony Wagner, vice president, Americas and South Pacific regions, CWT M&E.
That message is of an organization that is attuned and responsive to an industry in rapid transition and adept at understanding the talent it needs to deliver the kind of transformative events today’s clients expect.
“We want to align the type of people we hire with the type of business coming in,” Wagner says.
This, as the industry has “evolved materially,” he adds. Suppliers are consolidating. Data is becoming more prevalent and deployed in ever more sophisticated ways to measure attendee engagement and the impact of events on customers’ top-line growth. Companies, operating in a global environment, are increasingly balancing the need to take their message consistently around the world, while still being able to tailor it to a local audience and culture. All while doing so in a way that stretches their dollars to deliver an exceptional experience.
With the complexity of events comes the need for more specialized talent. “The Twin Cities is an important market for us for talent, with five of the top 25 M&E companies located in Minneapolis,” Wagner says. “Here, you have a strong, solid workforce base with the requisite industry expertise and creative mindset essential to growing the business and expanding our footprint in the community.”
Entrepreneurial, nimble, able to connect the dots and anticipate what clients need even as their needs change are some of the primary characteristics shared by those who succeed in M&E—and throughout CWT. The ability to take risks while appreciating how those risks may affect clients, coupled with being able to stay ahead of problems in a rapidly changing environment, are also critical assets.
“These people don’t just deliver, they delight,” Wagner says. “In events, we’re a relationships business. To the extent we can be successful in developing those relationships is the extent to which our business grows.”
For CWT M&E customers overall, Wagner hopes the kind of talent CWT is drawing on today and will acquire going forward—whether in the Twin Cities or in other strongholds across the country and around the world—will demonstrate the team’s consultative and innovative mindset necessary to deliver on event and program strategy through data-driven decisions, creative design, and the execution of exceptional experiences.
Consider it the new normal in the meetings and events space—and the only path to growth.
This article originally appeared on CWT's blog.