Installation will Reduce Power Usage to Zero

By Tara Higgins and Scott Finlayson

With the importance of sustainability as a collective responsibility, we can create a better future and do our part to create positive change and long-term opportunities for progress. With that in mind, we are thrilled to announce that Encore has entered into an agreement with Altus Power to build a solar farm on top of the buildings across the Hargrove campus. Once completed, this solar farm will cover all the power needs for Hargrove and ultimately return power credits to our supplying gas and utility company.

This agreement enables us to reduce Hargrove’s electric usage to zero. It’s the start of something bigger for Encore and Hargrove as well an approach we should be thinking about on behalf of our entire industry. And it’s one very significant way that we can come back better and stronger. Key highlights of the agreement include:

  • Output generated from the solar farm is expected to produce 5.8 megawatts annually
  • The facility currently uses approximately 3.2 megawatts annually. All of Hargrove’s power needs will be covered with the balance of power credits will be sold to Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE)
  • Our D.C. operation and carbon footprint for electricity drops to zero
  • Once installed solar power will be fed directly into the BGE grid

The installation will begin early spring 2022 to be completed late summer, subject to regulatory and utility approvals, at the Encore and Hargrove D.C. region facility, our largest facility, which is home to over 250 team members and serves all areas of our business. It includes a full fabrication and graphic production facility, regional warehouse operation, full event production teams, in addition to one of our largest digital control centers and presentation studios in the U.S.

Due to the scale and nature of our operation, we identified it as a key location to press into the challenge we all face of reducing our carbon footprint.

“The event industry struggles with sustainability as a topic in general. Our partnership with Altus has provided us with a way to make an initial meaningful impact based on the size of our operations. In addition, we can lead our customers in their efforts to develop carbon minimizing strategies across their events,” said Tara Higgins President, Hargrove and Senior Vice President, Commercial for Encore. “We have been creating events and experiences for 75 years and regularly share insights and best practices with event professionals everywhere. As we embark on this new venture, we look forward to sharing what we are learning as we create sustainable operations and to working side-by-side to futurescape the events industry.”

When operational at the end of summer 2022, subject to regulatory and utility approvals, the 360,000 square foot solar panel installation will generate enough energy for Hargrove’s entire business operation, while also adding 40% of the power generated to the power grid.

Scott Finlayson SVP, General Manager Hargrove added, “This office is our largest, and for the past year we have been looking at ways to build a path to full carbon neutrality. When reviewing ongoing projects and priorities, the solar farm quickly became a key initiative and our partnership with Altus has been critical in realizing this earlier than our initial planned timeframe.”

We look forward to sharing more news on this project and others.

Tara Higgins                                                    Scott Finlayson

President, Hargrove                                        SVP, General Manager, Hargrove

SVP, Commercial, Encore

By: Tara Higgins, President, Hargrove & SVP Commercial, Encore

Our final installment in our series on B2Me℠ event planning culminates into the dynamic, highly scalable framework of hybrid event design. Hybrid not only offers vast design potential, but also revolutionizes our ability to deliver the three audience essentials: human connection, immediacy, and authenticity.

By integrating a remote and physical audience, hybrid events empower attendees with the ultimate personalization of their experiences. Successful event strategy leans into the attendees’ desire for customization. High-impact and high-energy events are achievable in the hybrid realm with B2Me℠-focused event planning. The key is in the design and utilizing data driven insights. A well thought out experience, paired with the right solutions, will create an event that is both transformational and valuable for all attendees. Through increased accessibility, innovative event technologies, and the longevity of thoughtfully crafted content, immersive hybrid experiences will connect and captivate all audiences.

Community Growth with Increased Accessibility

The power of technology allows us to break down barriers and share content like never before. In fusing the live and the virtual, we create an “experience channel” that eliminates the limitations of fixed event schedules and physical capacity constraints. A fully integrated experience is achieved, giving access to an even greater audience. Hybrid events expand a brand’s reach, growing communities and connecting audiences globally. Through reducing these locational and financial blockers, events become increasingly more accessible. When these limitations are reduced, brands evolve through community engagement and an expanding global influence.

Event Technologies and Hyper-Personalized Experiences

Hybrid event technologies open new opportunities for enhanced, fully customizable experiences. Participants are empowered with the ability to choose how they show up, consume content, and interact with each other. The freedom to connect in-person or from remote locations, personalized attendee journeys, and multiple engagement and networking opportunities, all allow attendees the opportunity to derive the greatest value for them through this new breed of media. Technology can also be utilized to further improve event accessibility. Options for captioning, language translation, and multilingual content all create a more inclusive experience.

Strengthen Brand Identity through Content Longevity

A thoughtfully crafted content strategy can maximize your event dollars and further solidify brand identity. Creating authentic and intentional content allows it to serve the present audience, while also having significance beyond the principal event. With longevity in mind, the event messaging can expand into subsequent forms of content and delivery. Pre-recorded, live, and on-demand sessions evolve the event experience into one that is flexible and directly in service of the attendee. Regardless of location, time zone, or device, they are able to connect.

For those who aspire to plan and deliver events that transform, regardless of their size, location, or platform, we aim to support and inspire you with all that hybrid has to offer you and your audience. We firmly believe that when we work with our customers, Hargrove is in the business of communication and connection, not just the event business.

Whatever industry or sector we are supporting, understanding your objectives and ambition for the event is our mission; finding solutions to pursue those efficiently and effectively through experience-based solutions is what we do every day. With over a decade of hybrid event experience, our passion is rooted in using the best tools and techniques to design experiences that are uniquely captivating, amplify brand culture, and bring shared interest communities together to drive an event’s business and attendee value.

Hargrove from Encore. In Transformed Times, Events That Transform.

Hargrove has delivered thousands of live events for 75 years. Today we also plan and deliver thousands of virtual and hybrid events. In making this statement, we humbly recognize the ongoing trust placed in us by our global client base. We gratefully acknowledge the passion and professionalism of our dedicated worldwide teams. And we proudly continue to grow our skills and knowledge base – and to offer our insights and best practices to events professionals everywhere – as we work side-by-side to futurescape the events industry.

By: Tara Higgins, President, Hargrove & SVP Commercial, Encore

In part one of our look into the world of B2Me℠ marketing in event planning, we discussed the process of audience evaluation and the commonalities shared across all audience demographics. B2Me℠ recognizes that understanding the audience goes beyond demographic and industry sectorizations and seeks to design events for the individual. Our approach asserts that there are three key collective audience essentials as part of every event experience: human connection, immediacy, and authenticity.

Elevating the event planning process to center around these three guiding insights allows us to design bespoke experiences that excite live, virtual, and hybrid participants.

By specializing in the intricacies of engagement, experience, and content strategy, we deliver the three audience essentials – regardless of medium.

Human Connection with Engagement

Do your events just assemble people, or do they truly connect them? A strong engagement strategy generates feelings of power and purpose through attendance. Participants are enriched, energized, and empowered by being part of a shared human experience.

Engagement is twofold; it cultivates a sense of community and connects people directly, whether in a shared physical environment, virtual setting, or a mix of both. Selecting engagement tools that connect all participants is key, regardless of venue or location. Break out sessions, chats, and live polling can all be utilized to foster connection while providing valuable insights about the audience experience.

Immediacy through Experience

In a world that is dominated by curated digital platforms and targeted direct-to-consumer marketing, you can no longer rely on your audience to simply attend. The root of B2Me℠ event design is in hyper-personalization.

Your event needs to be an immersive and visceral experience. There must be sensory appeal that draws people in, inviting them to show up, tune in, engage, and leave feeling changed. In-person and virtual events need to be designed with the individual experiences at the forefront, while also creating pinnacle moments that transcend beyond time and space, leaving lasting impressions for all audiences.

Authenticity in Content Strategy

An effective content strategy goes beyond sharing information; it reinforces the bond between companies, brands, and consumers. It leaves a legacy influenced by culture that is quintessentially unique and speaks directly to your audience. You must communicate with the audience through messages and in ways that speaks to them directly and powerfully.

Shared challenges have given audiences new perspectives and re-prioritized values. Communication of all kinds – brand, business, internal, external, association, government – has evolved to accommodate new contexts and new outlooks. Your content strategy needs to cut through the excessive noise of the present and digital worlds to reach your audiences with messaging that is authentic and captivating.

Understanding your audience will always remain a key piece of the discovery phase as you design the engagement, experience, and content strategy that drives each event. But ultimately, you’ll be challenged to design an experience that speaks to the individual needs of each attendee. As planners, marketeers, makers, creators, producers, and hospitality professionals, it remains our purpose to look to the unexpected and conceptualize the “wow” of unforgettable, shared human experiences. Whether an in-person, virtual, or a hybrid event, this desire for a unique experience and connection remains. 

The B2Me℠ shift may change how we create the flame, but the spark still ignites, creating the power to transform events into engaging experiences.

Hargrove from Encore. In Transformed Times, Events That Transform.

Hargrove has delivered thousands of live events for 75 years. Today we also plan and deliver thousands of virtual and hybrid events. In making this statement, we humbly recognize the ongoing trust placed in us by our global client base. We gratefully acknowledge the passion and professionalism of our dedicated worldwide teams. And we proudly continue to grow our skills and knowledge base – and to offer our insights and best practices to events professionals everywhere – as we work side-by-side to futurescape the events industry.

By: Tara Higgins, President, Hargrove & SVP Commercial, Encore

At Hargrove, we remain passionately committed to the growth of the live, virtual and hybrid events industry. We believe in its proven power, as the ultimate channel to build relationships, create experiences, and drive results. Our industry is at a pivotal point, with the expansion of hybrid events and the resurgence of live events, calling for us to examine how we evaluate audiences and how we design for their diverse experiences.

This is an opportunity to reevaluate planning strategies and examine how we view the attendee journey. Post-pandemic, let’s not think in terms of ‘business as usual,’ but plan for – and celebrate – ‘business done better than ever before.’ Events are the most powerful route for connecting people, transforming perspectives, and inspiring action. We create experiences that are focused on our clients’ objectives and their communities, and the most definitive way to tap into these channels is to recognize the value of the individual perspective. An evolution of the accustomed business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C), B2Me℠ recognizes the target audience’s unique needs as an integral part of the event planning strategy.

Understanding Your Audience: Demographics are Important, But People Matter More

Demographics are important; they present useful data, but they are only part of the audience insights equation. Events are about connections, and making connections has to be about more than statistics and arbitrary classifications.

As part of the event planning discovery phase, audience exploration is crucial. As the audience expectations shift, we can no longer depend exclusively on demographic or industry sectorization. It’s tempting to work on the assumption that a B2C event will be fundamentally different from a B2B one, but this assumption ignores the outcry for personalization. B2Me℠ is less about the B or the C, but about the individual, a way to connect on an interpersonal level that speaks directly to the unique experiences of each participant.

B2Me: A Collective Understanding of Unique Audience Perspectives

There is a set of profound realizations about what it is that all event audiences have in common. In our view, and running across all audiences, there are key shared needs that drive our ideas and design approach.

Human Connection – Nobody today, in any audience sector or from any demographic, will accept low standards and poor communication. Each event must create, and then fully leverage, opportunities for human connection. Audience engagement is not a solid block to be addressed. It is a dynamic and fundamental aspect of each event, with powerful potential to strengthen and leverage connections at individual levels, as well as on larger community levels.

Immediacy – There is nothing like first-hand experience, the feeling of really being there. The virtual and in-person experiences are not 1:1 comparisons and the perspectives of each audience need to be evaluated and considered as part of the design approach. Designing with both audiences in mind is imperative so all participants feel invested in the experience. Events need to engage viscerally. There must be sensory appeal to cut through the noise and create a unique space and moment in time.

Authenticity – The backbone of every event is the theme. Informed by the client’s core messaging, brand, and objectives, the event’s central design needs to serve the community in attendance. This is crucial. Every brand, in every context – from micro-brewery to global corporation – has an invested community. Authenticity is imperative to overall audience satisfaction and community loyalty. If you don’t believe it, the audience won’t either.

We can no longer solely delineate audiences by segmented B2B and B2C demographics, to reach them we need to recognize and design for their unique perspectives. The B2Me℠ approach ignites a level of extreme personalization that recognizes their value as engaged individuals. Whether connecting virtually or in-person, the overwhelming need for sensory and emotional engagement apply. Fall below the bar of meaningful connection, creative messaging, or delivery standards, and the result will be an instant fall off in engagement. Designing with the audiences’ differentiated perspectives in mind will drive community growth, elevate the event experience, and deliver the event objectives as inspiring takeaways with longevity.

Hargrove from Encore. In Transformed Times, Events That Transform.
Hargrove has delivered thousands of live events for 80 years. Today we also plan and deliver thousands of virtual and hybrid events. In making this statement, we humbly recognize the ongoing trust placed in us by our global client base. We gratefully acknowledge the passion and professionalism of our dedicated worldwide teams. And we proudly continue to grow our skills and knowledge base – and to offer our insights and best practices to events professionals everywhere – as we work side-by-side to futurescape the events industry.

The events industry attracts people from a wide variety of backgrounds. The projects aren’t always straight forward quarterly meetings or annual conferences, sometimes they present challenging questions with unique scopes of work that require a team that can think outside of the box. The teams at Hargrove and Encore possess diverse backgrounds including military veterans like Encore’s Director of Network Engineering, Internet Services, Tim Kurzynski.

On the verge of graduating from high school, Kurzynski was drawn to the military and the idea of making his own way through his future. He saw joining the armed forces as an opportunity to travel, build a career, and pursue job skills training in the technology fields that had garnered his interest. After connecting with recruiters, Tim enlisted with the United States Marine Corps. With the Marines, he developed his network engineering skills and learned to build networks in remote locations across the globe. During his 4 years of active-duty service, he traveled across Asia and the Middle East, and spent 6 months on a ship throughout the Pacific Ocean learning about the US military’s impact abroad.

After his time in the military, Kurzynski continued to pursue a career in network engineering, consulting with small businesses, and connecting with a recruiter for Encore. Drawn to the people and company culture, Tim joined our team in 2006 and helped to pioneer the evolution of wireless internet services throughout hotels and conference centers. Something that now seems so commonplace with ubiquitous WIFI networks anywhere within a venue location, the service was just taking off along with Tim’s career. He helped to launch our Internet Services line of business, incorporating his military experience to help shape this new division of the organization, defining the policies and processes to make these projects and teams work.

Tim welcomes a challenge and values the connections he’s able to foster with his team. He’s a bit of an expert at setting up networks in remote locations. If you’re hosting a secret music festival in the middle of the desert or launching a pop-up brand event in Central Park, Kurzynski is the one to call to help you bring the whole experience online. His problem-solving skills and technical expertise help to elevate the unique projects he works on. As a member of leadership, Tim focuses on developing his team and encouraging their passions. His mission is to create a culture that focuses on employee retention. He works to connect with employees, plug them into career paths they’re eager to explore, and invest in their skill sets.

In a recent client meeting, not your typical event planner, he collaborated with PhD’s, engineers and other scientific and technical experts in their respective fields. The challenge was to formulate a highly complex, technical solution for their extremely specific requirements. The discussion went into thorough details, his military experience once again coming to the front of how the approach might work, and the customer team listened with great interest and engagement as the recommendation came together. The outcome: we won the project and Tim is now a key part of the team producing this unique experience.

As a member of the Encore team for 15 years, Kurzynski continuously employs the leadership, adaptability, teamwork, and collaboration skills he developed in the Marines. His innovation and tenacity are what inspire and lead the events industry forward. Hargrove and Encore are driven by our people, the talented professionals with diverse perspectives and abilities that create events that transform. Tim and all other veteran members of our team, we thank you for your service and appreciate you every day!