Tag Archives: Mark Anderson

MPI Awards Gala - AZ Business Magazine September-October 2011

MPI Awards Gala – Meet 2011’s Winners

The MPI Awards Gala was held on June 9, 2011. Here, you can meet the people who won awards that night, and what they’ve done to deserve those awards.

Planner of the Year

Mary Young, CMP, M.Y. Events

Throughout Mary Young’s 25 years as an industry leader, she has been consistently named one of the Top 25 Meeting Planners in the Valley by the Phoenix Business Journal because of her demonstration of leadership and her dedication to make an impact on MPI and the meeting’s industry. She successfully owns a full-service meeting planning company that she opened in 1997. In addition to that, she has served on the board of directors and other committees for the chapter.

Supplier of the Year

Gordon Murray, Super PhotoVideo

Gordon Murray, a nine-year member, has always supported the chapter by providing his photography services for meetings and events, and has also served on many committees. He has photographed two monthly programs and the BUY MPI Trade Show. Murray was also the photographer at Leadership Retreat.

Rising Star Award

Amy Miranda, Tourism Office

Amy Miranda wasted no time and created a new committee as chair of fundraisers the minute she rejoined last year. She is a true asset to her employer and always shows her strong dedication and support to the chapter.

James A. Fausel Student of the Year Award (two winners)

MPI Awards Gala - AZ Business Magazine September/October 2011

— Heather Luvisi is a student at ASU studying Business with a minor in Tourism, Development, and Management. She started as a key volunteer for the Student Run program, while being part of the Education Committee. She is president of the MPI Student Club.

— David Borsheim promotes AzMPI and the industry as a whole to rally students in the hospitality sector. He made himself known throughout the chapter and has become the face of AzMPI while serving as Student Relations chair. He graduates in December and has landed an internship with Enterprise Holdings, which he has already begun.

Special Recognition

Angela Prestinario, Stratum Laser Tag

Angela Prestinario shows her loyalty by attending almost all meetings and events. She also is a committee chair and gives to the chapter and donates to its raffles. Prestinario also sponsors members for the Chapter Fun Event at her family venue, Stratum Laser Tag.

Committee of the Year Award

2010 Summer Education Forum, Rochell Planty, CMP, CTA Chair and Tiffany Higgins, Co-Chair

The 2010 Summer Education Forum Committee came together and put team effort into creating outstanding educational programs such as the one held last August in Tucson. It held up to its theme, “Tucson Will Surprise You.” It was also awarded an “Award of Excellence in Association Management” by the Arizona Society of Association Executives for its exceptional location, effort and style.

Host Property/Venue of the Year

Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino  

Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino hosted the November Monthly Educational Program. It went above and beyond to make a memorable event for all members by adding a special honor to Veteran’s Day. It also hosted the VIP reception along with providing accommodations and private airport transportation for MPI International Chair, Eric Rozenberg. It will also host the Leadership Retreat.

Sponsor of the Year

Mark Anderson, Southwest Scenic Group

This eight-year MPI member has consistently shown dedication through his contribution of goods and services. He never says “no” to an event request and his contributions have been described as crucial to the success of BUY MPI Tradeshows, Annual Awards Galas, Monthly Programs and the ummer Education Forum. He served as co-chair of the BUY MPI Committee and will be serving as co-chair of the 2012 Education Forum.

Member of the Year Award

Margie Long, Hot Air Expeditions

Margie Long has been a part of MPI for 16 years and has been a great example of an outstanding member. In 2010, she served as a sponsor for one of the monthly programs and has always worked behind the scenes. Long is generous with raffle donations and she co-chaired the Host & Hospitality Committee for two years.

Edward E. Scannell Award

Pamela Traficanti, CTA, Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau

Pamela Traficanti is a 21-year MPI member with more accomplishments than can be named. She devoted her time and services to MPI and several other industry associations including AzSAE and HSMAI. Traficanti also is involved in Arizona Children’s Association as a board member, and Up with People reunions.

President’s Achievement Award

Jamie Cook, CMP Strategic Meetings & Incentives

Coming up on 20 years as an MPI member, Jamie Cook is a past president who runs an extremely successful meeting planning company. Cook is respected among her peers and clients.


MPI Gala sponsors:

PHXproductionsCort Furniture

Strategic Meetings & Incentives

Southwest Scenic Group


Hilton Hotels

US Airways

Tempe Tourism Office

Super PhotoVideo

McDonald Floral & GiftsTucson Convention and Visitors Bureau

Lisa Pressman Ensemble

Swank Audio Visuals

Meetings & Concierge Source

Dave & Buster’s

Hawaii Convention & Visitors Bureau


Khani Cole

[stextbox id=”grey”]For more information on the MPI Awards Gala or the Arizona branch of MPI, visit www.azmpi.org.[/stextbox]

Arizona Business Magazine September/October 2011

Mr. Gadget

Technology Changes The Meeting Planning Industry

Mr. Gadget

Technology changes the meeting planning industry


Webcasting. Green-screen photography. Video e-mail. Seamless projection. Gobos. Video curtains. Not long ago, this kind of technology would not have been in a meeting and event planner’s bag of tricks. But they are today as technology makes ever-greater inroads into the industry. How members of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International use technology depends upon each company’s expertise.


Mr. GadgetMerestone in Scottsdale specializes in audio-visuals. A whole arsenal of gadgets is at the disposal of Merestone president Camille Hill and account executive Lynne Wellish, CMP, who also serves as chairwoman of the MPI job bank committee. “To make your point in the meeting, you have to use the biggest, fastest, smartest and most colorful tools you can get your hands on,” Hill says. “You have to stand out.” Merestone uses glass gobos to project images on screens, walls or the side of a building. The company can make an entire room look like it’s in the tropics. Merestone uses seamless projection in which multiple video projectors blend images together into one image on a huge horizontal screen. The company also uses lasers, confetti cannons, music and sound effects.

Going Gobos
Pictured below:
Merestone uses glass gobos to project images on walls or the side of a building.



Sonoran Communications in Phoenix specializes in creating visual experiences that encourage people to attend the meeting again next year. Its specialty is video for screens. “Clients pay for video screens, so why leave them empty?” asks Neil Schneider, owner of Sonoran Communications and chairman of the MPI public relations committee. “Why not have something playing on them? Having a blank screen is taboo. People are used to multiple screens of information now, so you can show things during lunch and breaks.” Schneider also digitally records a meeting or event and dubs it onto DVDs for people to take home.

Schneider says the MPI chapter recently used a new technology—video e-mail—to promote its Sept. 14 trade show at Arizona Cardinals Stadium. Chapter President Kathi Overkamp, CMP, was digitally recorded in front of a green screen as she gave her pitch for the event. A slide show was dropped in after she was recorded and the video was e-mailed to chapter members.

Mark Anderson, an account executive with Southwest Scenic Group in Tempe who is active on several MPI committees, sees an uptick in requests for meeting Webcasts. It started two years ago and became increasingly popular over the past year. “It’s always been there in the way of studio-type work, but especially now with HDTV and higher-end digital recording,” Anderson says. “This is used for instructional meetings and what we call ‘rah-rah’ sales meetings. People access the meeting either live or later.” Over the next few years, Anderson expects requests for even smaller presentations that meeting attendees can view at their leisure on the company Web site. “Some of these videos are supplements to the meeting,” he says. “For example, a video of a breakout session that some people were not able to attend—they can watch it later.”

Video curtains are available but the technology is in its infancy, according to Anderson. The curtain is a mass of LED lights (light emitting diodes) that looks like a video screen. It’s lightweight, portable and big. Lighting in general is becoming easier to program, saving operating and setup time, Anderson notes.

Superhero Productions with offices in Chandler, Phoenix and Scottsdale, specializes in the “wow factor,” says agent Randy Breen, an MPI board member. “Superhero got its name from that fact that we are here to save the day and, through technology, provide the wow factor for meetings and events,” Breen says. Images of a meeting–graphics, photos, logos–are made available on memory sticks, MP3 players and digital photo frames.

AZ Business Magazine October November 2006Green-screen technology allows on-the-spot photography with a variety of digital backdrops. Powerful, lightweight LEDs allow total lighting of an event so everyone can see, while small, powerful audio speakers can be strategically placed to make sure the entire audience can hear a speaker, Breen says.

Event planning has become less costly thanks to technology and that’s a real plus for clients on a tight budget, MPI members say. But there is a downside. As technology becomes increasingly easy to use, some clients think they can do the whiz-bang stuff themselves. “People think they are more techno savvy than they actually are,” Wellish says. “We manage people doing their own PowerPoint presentations. We help them determine what to project on stage with lights. This is something that has never happened to us before.”



Arizona Business Magazine Oct/Nov 2006