MY, HOW TIME FLIES when you're having fun! As I enter my 20th year with Special Events Magazine, I can't help taking a moment to reflect upon the past and to fast-forward into the here and now.

In 1985, Special Events was a bimonthly publication, The Special Event made its debut that April, and I joined the staff in November (as national accounts manager) and met many of you for the first time. Of course, we were children then.

Creating events is an old profession; however, recognizing the special event industry as unique group of disciplines was a new deal in the '80s. The International Special Events Society (ISES) was founded in 1987 at The Special Event in Dallas in response to phenomenal growth in the industry, and a growing demand for promoting professionalism and providing continuing education. This movement culminated in the CSEP credential, the hallmark of professionalism in special events. Working smarter meant “working together” to raise the bar of professionalism, and this became the theme of The Special Event 1988.

We conduct a reader profile study every year to see where you are at this moment in your profession. And, I'm sure you won't be surprised to learn that there are some interesting similarities from the '80s that still hold true in 2004:

  • More than 90 percent of our readers continue to be decision-makers and upper-level management.

  • You continue to read three out of four issues (actually, the figure went up to 3.5 in 2004).

  • More than 87 percent of respondents take action as a result of reading Special Events. In the 1989 study, 91 percent of readers contacted an advertiser directly for more information, and 90 percent returned reader service cards. In 2004, 87 percent of respondents took some action, via phone, fax, e-mail or visiting a Web site.

  • More than 90 percent of respondents are involved in purchasing equipment. *



Based on input from you, we present our annual “industry forecast,” predicting the major trends for all of us in special events in 2005. Turn to page 71 to learn more.

Raising the bar on event production continues to be aggressively sought after now … just as it was back then. The Gala Awards program is a living testament to the continual pursuit of the perfect special event. I know you'll enjoy taking a sneak peek at this year's Gala Award nominees on pages 28-68. Thank you for your spirit, creativity and continued loyalty to the Special Event franchise over the years. And always remember, I remain your biggest fan!

Happy New Year!

Publisher

* Sources: “Special Events — A Study of Publication Readership, Maclean Hunter Research,” April 1989; “Special Event Reader Profile Study,” PRIMEDIA Business Research, July 2004