Technology can make some industries instantly old-fashioned, but not special events. Event professionals have been remarkably adept at harnessing the power of new technology to make their efforts even more effective.

For proof, just take a look at our 12th annual "50 Top Event Companies" list. Over and over, these big guns of event creation and production share how they are capitalizing on social media, RFID and other tools to reach more people with more powerful messages. Turn to page 13 to read the full story.

The growing sophistication and scope of the event industry are particularly poignant as we note the death last month of Tim Novoselski, co-founder of Special Events.

Tim and his wife, Denise, launched Special Events in 1982, as a quarterly insert in the company's flagship magazine, Rental Equipment Register. The Special Event show followed in 1985.

In those early years, some people told Tim that he would fail. “There was a lot of arguing and second-guessing of relationships as the industry evolved,” Novoselski told me in 2002, when Special Events turned 20. “The rental dealers were disgruntled with the caterers, and vice versa. I heard, ‘Tim, this will never work--there are too many different components. This industry is too darn small--you're just wasting your time.’"

But they were wrong and he was right. Without Special Events, “these different components of the industry were not going to get the recognition and respect that they deserved. It's heartwarming to know that what we did made a difference.”

Upon learning of Tim's death, industry veteran Joanne Hulme, now with South Jersey Party Rentals, in Haddon Heights, N.J., shared these thoughts with me:

"Tim and Denise were always guiding lights, for both old-timers and the new members of the industry," she says. "When we older event professionals look back at the beginning of the 'event industry,' no one had ever even used that terminology before!"

"Tim saw the future when the rest of us were just trying to see the light and our next event," Joanne says. "Now, one year younger than I, Tim has moved along to that ultimate event where his vision is still light-years ahead of its time."

I agree.