The Power of Networking

"There's No Better Place to Connect than at WFEA's Annual Conference"

Our members say that the No. 1 reason why they belong to WFEA is to learn and to network.

Social networks like Linkedin are useful, but they are no substitute for direct personal connnections and the kind of history you develop with people when they have known you, when they have learned to trust you, and when they have come to value the relationship.

Yes, networking can be a power tool, and there’s no better place to connect than the Washington Festivals Events Association Annual Conference, which will be March 14-16 at the Inn at Gig Harbor.

You will have the opportunity to mingle closely with some of the top festival event professionals and suppliers in the country. And the great thing about our industry? Most of us don’t compete with each other, so everyone is willing to share ideas that worked for their festival and event.

You can grow your network considerably if you attend the 25th annual WFEA Conference. You not only will be able to learn from people during educational sessions at the event, but also to develop a relationship where you can pick up the phone or email them to ask questions and share ideas way after the conference is over.

Inn at Gig Harbor

3211 56th St. NW 
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Reservation Counter Call Center: 
(or) 1-800-795-9980

Or you can visit and use group code WFEA031318.

Convention Room Rates

Single/Double - $115 (Includes breakfast) 



Wednesday, March 14, 2018 Pre-Conference Workshop & Lunch Requires separate registration
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. DESIGN, DEVELOP and DELIVER  

This session will help you in building a solid plan. WFEA President Jon Stone will kick off the day. Then Kevin White will guide you through the strategic planning process and connect each session, enabling you to develop a clear pathway for your festival or event. Each presenter will give you key take-a-ways.

9:00am - 10:15 am   

Part One -Branding Your Event 
Kevin White, CSEP, Founder/Chief Strategist-XPL

Festivals and events are a big responsibility. Take a look at the decision-making process that companies go through when deciding how to build a corporate event around a brand. This session looks at why companies bother branding, how to do it properly and how to determine success of branding messages for an event.

Kevin has been a storyteller his entire life, capturing attention and engaging people is what brought him to a decades-long career in experiential design. He has served as the international president of the International Live Events Association (ILEA), and currently teaches event students through the Event Leadership Institute and has been a professor at New York University.

10:30am - 11:45am   

Part Two - Sponsorship and other Revenue Generating Ideas
Kevin Molesworth, CESP, Brass Tacks Events
Here's your opportunity to increase bottom line revenue for your festival or event - from trends to digital media, unique experiential marketing, branded items and more.  You don't need luck, you need this interactive session!

Networking Lunch
1:00 pm- 2:15pm
Part Three - Operations
Jon Stone, Partner-CEA Partners
A year's worth of planning culminates in just hours or days of actual event run time.  For many events, this fleeting window of time constitutes the majority of annual revenue earning potential as well as the lion's share of your annual expenditures.  The realities of modern field operations demand a deliberate and comprehensive game plan.  Assessing details of programming, health and safety and site production is critical to identifying the viability of the ultimate success of your plan.

Jon is a Seattle-based arts and cultural leader, festival producer and civic place-making consultant.  For decades he has played key roles in the creation and execution of iconic concert, festival and theater experiences.

2:30 pm- 3:45pm

Part Four - Finance

Susan Den, Director of Finance, On the Boards

Throughout the office and across the calendar, there are many moving parts to any event.  The common thread to success is a strong administration and finance program tying it all together.  Learn how to properly segment functions and responsibilities.  Determine how these concerns interact in service and leadership to operations, revenue and marketing.

Susan is an accounting and human resource professional specializing in the fields of entertainment, the arts and special events.  Susan has most recently held CFO roles for Seattle's cherished On The Boards Theatre and One Reel, and provides consulting to regional festival producers, foundations, and private clients.

Closing Remarks

White, Molesworth, Stone, and Den will circle back to opening remarks and offer next steps and identify WFEA and outside resources.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 Educational Conference


Industry veterans moderate rotating roundtable discussions on timely subject matter.

"Music and Events" 
Craig Cooke, Pacific Rim Talent, Bothell

It is impossible to provide entertainment that everyone will like but you can try.  Considering age groups, ethnicity specific to your event, radio sponsors and local celebrities all go into giving you the best chance to please the most people. 
"Working with Vendors" 

Stephanie Allestad, Creator, Co-founder Chocolate on the Beach Festival, Pacific Beach

Happy Vendors make for a Happy event. Learn simple things you can do to make your vendors feel special and appreciated, without breaking your budget.

"Event Production" 

Mike Prebezac, Owner, Event Management Services

Learn the mechanics of designing and planning a festival from the ground up. This session will cover how to lay out your sign, equipment and services needed, and avoiding the pitfalls of last minute planning that can throw off your entire budget. Learn how to create site maps and communicate needs and placement to your suppliers.

"Sponsorship Fulfillment and Execution"

Sandra Williams, Fulfillment Manager, Seattle Seafair

The easiest way to lose a sponsor (and possibly your reputation) is the failure to fulfill promises made in contracts – that’s why sponsorship and exhibitor fulfillment is so important. Learn how to do that from the Seattle Seafair Fulfillment Manager.”

Board of Director Development

Robin Kelley, Executive Director, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery

Having the right board members for your organization is extremely important, as they can open many doors – with sponsors, government officials, and many other key partners. 

"Working with your City"
Mark Hendrickson, City of Kent

Producing an event in your city can be a challenging experience.  This roundtable can help event producers navigate through sometimes murky waters of permits, insurance and fees.  It doesn't have to be tough if you know who to talk to and what questions to ask.

"Board Governance"
Lisa Elder, Showcase Management Group

A solid model of board governance is the driving force behind an organizations long term stability and profitability. Discussion highlights Washington State laws, IRS rules, as well as accountability, ethics, transparency, mission, and fiduciary responsibilities.


Risk Management: Thrills, Chills & Spills

Dale Johnson, Francis L Dean & Associates

Dale Johnson has been working with in the event insurance industry since 1985, and with festivals and events for 29 years. Learn about risk management and what to look for in a certificate of insurance.


Opening Reception
8:30pm - 11:00pm
Hospitality Suite -  Networking After Hours

Sponsored by Western Display Fireworks

Continue learning and networking with some of the industry's leading experts. WFEA board members will be available to answer any questions that you might have.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

8:00am - 8:45am
WFEA General Membership Meeting
Jon Stone, Chairperson, Washington Festivals & Events Association

Meet your board of directors, express your thoughts and hear about plans for 2018.

9:00am - 10:00am

How to Think Like Google, Disney, and Other Innovative Brands
Keynote - Kevin White, Founder/Chief Strategist- XPL

The event industry is one that lives and dies by the idea.  Are we doing everything we can to nurture an innovative mindset within our companies?  Why do some companies seem to be constantly setting the trends, while others are following?  What are Google, Disney, and 3M doing internally to foster a culture of innovation and ideation, and how can you adopt those principles to your team?  In this session, Kevin White will look at the characteristics that define such processes, explain how to best apply them in a business setting, and give resources to foster creativity at your organization.

10:15 am - 2:30pm


Techonology Bar
Paolo Tosolini, Tosolini Productions

This session will be open throughout the day - Paolo Tosolini and Tosolini productions will show you how festivals and events can adopt emerging media.  Their specialties include touch display solutions, 3D virtual tours and Virtuality Reality/Augmented Reality.  VR/AR are topics that you hear everywhere in the media today, but what does it really look and feel like?  Attendees will get a chance to experience the technology and an immersive experience.  Paolo and his team will be bringing you the hottest VR experiences as well as VR "Theme Park," where they took their body of work and website and made it into a fun, interactive and engaging experience. 

10:15 am - 11:30 am

FSMA Compliance - What, When, How
Craig Doan, Food Safety & Food Processing Specialist, Impact Washington

On August 30, 2015 the FDA published final rules for implementing regulations in the area of preventive controls.  The compliance clock triggered on September 17, 2015 for human food and animal feed/pet food processors, produce growers and food importers.  The FSMA rules are focused on prevention of food safety issues and encompasses the entire food system.  This can be an overwhelming task without guidance.  Craig will discuss the options and timing needed for FDA Modernization Act including: 1)Preventive Controls for Human Food, 2)Preventive Controls for Animal Food, 3)Produce Safety Rule, 4)Foreign Supplier Verification

Programs, 5)Accreditation of third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies, 6)Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food, and 7)Prevention of Intentional Contamination/Adulteration.  Craig has 30+ years in the food industry and academics specializing in food safety, food processing, and food product innovation.

11:30am - 1:30pm


Building Connections –Expo Speed Dating. 

Discover the latest trends in our industry with many top event suppliers and producers. Each table at the lunch will be hosted by a vendor/exhibitor, who will distribute materials and discuss the merits of their product with fellow table members. During meal service, each table will be visited by four different suppliers, who will discuss four different topics.

Event Supplier Presenters:

P.J. Hummel, Tin Can Alley

Melissa Jurcan, Compass Group USA

Jon Stone, CEA Partners

Stephanie Nauman, Denise Novak, Alexander Party Rentals

Steve Hampton, Josh Sayan, Pyramid Stages

Heather Gobet, Western Display Fireworks

Denise Rice, Honey Bucket

Eddie Redman, Grand Event Rentals

Dale Johnson, Francis L. Dean & Associates

Tim Medved, U-Cool Refrigeration

Kingsley Daniel, Apps4Org

1:45 pm - 2:45 pm



Managing 30,000 Events a Year
Moderator:  Sarah Rose, Eventions at Microsoft Marketing Manager; Chris Tolstoy, Director of Events, and Tim O'Brien, Director of Catering Operations

Get the behind-the-scenes scoop on how the award-winning, full-service production and catering department on the Microsoft Campus operates! The team manages over 25,000 events annually. Learn how they: set and track goals, oversee scheduling and production, use technology and constantly push the envelope with innovations. 

Building and Maintaining Partnerships

Beth Knox, President/CEO-Special Olympic Games 2018

It all comes back to relationships.  Learn from event and festival veteran Beth Knox on how to engage, secure and retain meaningful partnerships in the digital age.  An upfront investment in relationship research and development will pay off in the long run.               


Peak Flow Design - The Future of Experiential Design

David Doxtater, Executive Producer/Principal Design -The Workshop, Tony Grob, Gigantic Planet

Learn how designing experiences can influence audiences to overcome their indifference and take action.

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Why We Sponsor What We Do

Moderator:  Melissa A Jurcan, CSEP, Pricipal, Compass Group

Panel:  Chris Shallot, Area Sales Manager at Coca Cola, Alaska Airlines, Starbucks & Boeing 

Make it a goal to start researching corporate sponsorship opportunities and diversify your revenue stream.  Learn from key corporate representatives their decision making process and evaluation on what they will sponsor in a community.

Law & Order- Addressing Event Legal Questions
Attorney Mary Ellen Reihsen, Business Attorney, DBS Law, PLLC 

Attorney Mary Ellen Reihsen of Weddings & Events Law will share her insights and experiences from event clientele on how to proactively address potential legal liabilities in the industry, as well as answer your burning questions. She will cover contract and employment fundamentals, marijuana laws in the Pacific Northwest, and discuss safety issues and best practices for festival and event professionals.

Effective Volunteer Management 

Trevor Lane, Assistant Professor, Community and Economic Development Director, Washington State University

Recruit, retain and serve – those are the key messages that you will hear in this session. Learn from someone who has managed over 1500 volunteers, and emphasizes that you have to manage them but be respectful, especially of their time.

Creative Sponsorship Activation in Event Marketing
John Thorburn, Marketing Director, Bold Hat Productions

Sponsors and partners are looking for creative methods to engage with your event guests. Explore ways to involve sponsors in event marketing, festival activities and post-event promotions to keep sponsor dollars flowing and improving sponsor renewals while still creating fun guest experiences for your audience.

Music Partnerships/Bookings Entertainment  
Michael McMorrow, Event Producer/Entertainment Manager, Seafair 

Discover how to understanding best practices in planning event entertainment.  Explore different techniques in booking your event entertainment and the pros and cons of each.  Learn how to better understand different techniques after booking.

Guerilla Fundraising
David Williams, Executive Director, Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum
Fundraising is at the very heart of every successful event.  A few big organizations have large, well staffed departments, but most festivals and events aren't that lucky and have to depend on a small group of volunteers to get the job done.  After 21 years of grassroots, street level fundraising, David Williams will share his secrets for getting the most from a small volunteer staff.

5:30 PM

Shuttle Departure

Transport to Tin Can Alley for WFEA Gala Auction & Dinner. Hotel Lobby

WFEA GALA - Auction Dinner & Entertainment 

Renew old acquaintances and make new ones at the incredible venue of Tin Can Alley in Tacoma.  PJ Hummel founded her prop-filled venue in an old tin can factory bordered by an alley - thus, Tin Can Alley was born. PJ Hummel and Company's world headquarters is a re-purposed century-old factory located in the transportation hub of Tacoma known as the Dome District.  Tin Can Alley is a facility for human connectivity as well as a celebration of art, culture, tourism and business.  You'll be amazed by the PJ Hummel decor collection itself - where else can you find a life-size gold elephant?  Thematic propping - PJ Hummel and Company calls their inventory "Event Magic" - is their specialty.

8:30pm - 10:30pm
Hospitality Suite -  Networking After Hours

Sponsored by Western Display Fireworks

Continue learning and networking with some of the industry's leading experts. WFEA board members will be available to answer any questions that you might have.

Friday, March 16, 2018

 8:00am - 9:15am

Pacific Northwest Summit Awards
Champions by Design

Jon Stone, Chairperson, Washington Festivals & Events Association

Sponsor:  Honey Bucket

9:30am - 10:45am
Professional Event Budgeting and Forecasting
Jon Stone, CEA Partners; Susan Den, On the Boards

Study the mechanics of proper budgeting and forecasting.  Explore the myriad of ways these powerful tools can be leveraged across your endeavor.  You will be surprised by simple functionality that you may have been overlooking.          

Event Branding Through Imagination
Todd Korb, Blue Ink, Ileigh Reynolds & Brock Rylander, Animate Objects

From ground stickers to glitter signs, come learn about new ideas in event branding, unique media creation and print. Explore the benefits of a branded name and image for your event through consistent event campaigns and themes. Learn to bring your event marketing to life from imagination to production.

Also explore the world of entertainment. It’s not always what entertainment you choose, it’s the how, the when and the why that can make or break your event. Learn from the entertainment experts how to apply choreographic tools to your overall event flow, and craft the theatrical journey your guests will experience.

We’ll also walk you through important elements to consider at key stages of creating a spectacle with entertainment.

  • How to the select the right entertainment
  • Strategize best uses and placement of performances
  • Leverage technical components to enhance the experience
  • How to weave entertainment into your event timeline effectively
  • Engage your guests and get the most value from your entertainment.


Relationships:  The Secret to Increasing Your Sponsorship Bottom Line
Bruce Skinner, Executive Director, Washington Festivals & Events Association

"Everything being equal, people will do business with a friend.  Everything being unequal, they still will do business with a friend"  This quote from legendary IMG found Mark McCormack sums up how you can network and develop partnerships that can significantly increase your bottom line.  Here from the former CEO of the Fiesta Bowl and the International Festivals and Events Association and the author of Event Sponsorship.


Events and Tourism

Mark Abshire, Executive Director,  Port Angeles Regional  Chamber of Commerce

Port Angeles believes in supporting events financially and otherwise.  Learn how they've been able to increase room nights, economic impact and great events for local residents by doing so.

11:00am - 1:00pm
"Active Shooter" Training
Seattle Police Department
It saddens us that training sessions like this are a necessary part of doing business, and hope you never need to use these skills.  However, preparing now could save lives.  We present this training without conflicting programming as WFEA believes this is so important that every member should attend.  The Seattle Police Department presents a leading edge session which will outline strategies and cover best practices to help all individuals working at festivals and events of any size.  Attendees will learn how to protect themselves, their staff, and their patrons from potentially deadly acts of gun violence.

Officer Leroy Outlaw

Office Outlaw has been employed with the Seattle Police Department as a Police Officer for over 13 years. He has worked with Anti-Crime Team Units and spent 10 years working with the Education and Training Unit. He is a subject matter expert in the fields of Tactics, Firearms and Tasers. Prior to his career in law enforcement he graduated Psi Chi from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology.

Officer Edward Anderson

Officer Anderson serves as a subject matter expert in Tactics & Firearms and Active Shooter Mitigation with the Seattle Police Department. He has 23 years of law enforcement experience and is assigned as a Tactics & Firearms Instructor with the Education & Training section. He functions as his departments UASI Coordinator to manage regional Counter Terrorist and Active Shooter Response training. He is a U.S. military veteran. Outside of SPD, he has trained with the U.S. Department of Defense, State & Federal Agencies, and U.S. allied nations to provide Tactical Training for law enforcement officers, military personnel, and dignitary protection details.

                                         Agenda Subject to Change



Bruce Skinner, Executive Director
Washington Festivals & Events Association
Mailing Address
1015 Georgiana Street
Port Angeles, WA 98362

Membership Rates

We offer 3 different membership rate levels. For students, individuals and organizations - each based on annual budget.

$75 / $100 / $150

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