It seems impossible that I am writing my 16th “Letter from the Editor,” but I am! Four years have passed since I first sat down to compose this letter to our readers, and since then, we have seen many changes in the meetings and events industry in Missouri.
Our first experience with dramatic change came with the grief and shock of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country. People were afraid to travel, and meetings and conventions were cancelled altogether or moved closer to home. And now, we are experiencing the impact of a natural disaster. Hurricane Katrina unleashed its terrible destruction on the Gulf Coast and sent the nation reeling. Contributor Bill Beggs Jr. explores how emergency bookings have been handled in Katrina’s wake.
Positive changes are abundant also. In St. Louis, billions of development dollars are being spent downtown. My Leadership Profile on St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay delves into the many exciting projects slated for the city’s central corridor.
Changes are also evident on the Missouri Meetings & Events masthead, where readers will see some new names. Of note is the addition of Patti Curran as the publication’s new assistant editor and graphic designer. A graduate of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Patti brings fresh ideas and energy to the magazine. Welcome, Patti!
This issue provides us a chance to explore two great Missouri towns, Columbia and St. Joseph. Both offer planners unique locations for meetings and events. College town Columbia has maintained its fresh and funky downtown, and St. Joseph’s history continues to fascinate visitors of all kinds.
We explore three great facilities, Kansas City’s Business and Technology College Exhibit Hall (BTC), Branson’s Chateau on the Lake, and St. Louis’ World Trade Center. Each of these venues offers you a different experience: the BTC, with its adaptable and vast space; the Chateau with its elegant demeanor; and the World Trade Center with its international flair.
We meet two terrific chefs, Joe Gisi from the venerable Harry’s in St. Louis, and Brent Hammer from the esteemed Phillips Chop House in Kansas City. Both chefs learned their skills in some of the best — and most interesting — kitchens around the country.
We also find out what’s in and what is not in our Events 101 on high-end children’s parties. Stephen Lindsley notes that the under-four-feet-tall group may be the toughest audience you will ever try to please.
Finally, we take a look back at the 2005 MM&E Kansas City Expo. With its celebrity theme, bustling trade show and outstanding educational seminars, it was a terrific opportunity for planners to laugh, get to know suppliers and learn a little something along with way.
Editor in Chief