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New Industry Organization Shaking Things Up For Caterers & Event Planners

Press Release - Elite Catering & Event Professionals (ECEP)

A new industry organization for the hospitality sector has announced their official launch. The Elite Catering & Event Professionals (ECEP) is a collaborative network of leading catering, events, and hospitality companies, with members based in the United States and Europe. Together, the sixteen inaugural members represent more than $615 million in annual revenue, and employ tens of thousands of workers domestically and abroad.

Susan Lacz, CEO & Principal of Ridgewells Catering based in the Washington, D.C. metro area and one of the nation’s largest privately-held catering companies, is a founding member and the inaugural President of ECEP. After a tumultuous year of uncertainty and disruption caused by the COVID-19 virus, and its devastating effects on the global hospitality sector, Lacz and her team of co-founders knew they had to take action to begin the arduous process of lifting up the battered industry.

“If it wasn’t for this group, I wouldn’t have made it through the pandemic,” says Lacz. “Our industry is in dire need for advocacy, leadership, and collaboration. We formed this organization, joining together with other top caterers and event professionals from around the globe, to meet those needs. I’m honored to be a founding member and serve as the inaugural President.”

Other founding members include John Crisafulli, President of Behind the Scenes Catering & Events based in San Diego, California; Adam Noyes (President & Owner) and Ben Witte (Chief Operating Officer) of Proof of the Pudding located in Atlanta, Georgia; and Brandon Maxwell (Co-Founder, President & CEO) and Michael Stavros (Partner & Director of Business Development) of M Culinary Concepts headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. They are just a few of the big names who have come together to help reshape the future of an industry that is poised for a massive post-pandemic recovery.

“ECEP is bringing together diversified, resilient businesses and their innovative, resourceful leaders in the catering and live events industries,” says Michael Stavros of Phoenix-based M Culinary Concepts. “With shared purpose and a unified voice, ECEP members are strengthening our respective businesses while advocating for our entire industry.”

The organization held its inaugural meeting in Miami this week, where leadership from all sixteen member companies gathered to discuss the state of the industry, tactics for a collaborative advocacy approach moving forward, and growth strategies that look beyond the pandemic. You can follow their journey on their website and social media.

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