• Meet Craig Oliver, Lifetime Achievement, 2019 Hall of Fame

    Minnesota Meetings + Events is proud to introduce our 2019 Hall of Fame, made up of seven top-notch individuals who are positively impacting the meetings and events industry.

     
    POSTED April 29, 2019
     
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LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Craig Oliver

Director of Operations; Après Event Dècor and Tent Rental

"Some of my best memories are just collaborating with my ILEA peeps that I’ve known for 20 years. ... We all work together and pull off some pretty magical stuff.”

On his secret weapon: “On-the-fly problem solving, which is what events are all about. As hard as we plan it, something comes up or a truck breaks down, you know, lights go out, whatever, you have to be flexible and really be able to make decisions.”

On how he unwinds: “Besides bourbon? … I’m not one to dwell and just sit there for hours and hours because you’re onto the next event. You just gotta move forward.”

On his future: “Just keep teaching and training and learning. I’ve got a few years left in me before I retire to the golf course in the sky, wherever that is.”

“I moved here in ‘85, so when I was 28 years old. Since then I’ve had three jobs basically. You see a lot of technology changes, industry changes, and you have to grow and learn and then you teach. It’s just been an evolution, there’s always something new in the events business. You look at even a tent, what it was 20 years ago, compared to today. There’s no comparison.”

On getting the job done: “In the end it just has to go and the doors have to open, right? I’ll do pretty much anything.”

His best advice: “Get involved. Volunteer. It’s a great way to learn different disciplines. Go volunteer at an event and maybe you’ll work with the lighting guy ... and become well-rounded. I can’t do everything, but I can do everything a little bit.

Carly Van Veldhuizen, the mastermind behind Girl Friday’s mesmerizing creative custom installations, talks inspiration, materials and the value of a solid team.

 

The 2018 Meeting Planners Symposium held at The Graduate Minneapolis and McNamara Alumni Center was all about unique venues and experiences. From a Scrabble team challenge to a mini hackathon, meeting with no walls and a surprise session on a coach bus, this learning opportunity was anything but ordinary. Teams worked together to solve a complex problem and pitch their idea for $500 cash. Through beautiful chaos, attendees discovered fresh, unconventional approaches to do their jobs better.

 

This three-city area offers lodging, event space—and plenty of free parking.