Published in the November/December Issue of Business World Magazine, 2019 –
In recent years, the company’s growth has been particularly swift. In 2019, for the second year in a row, they appeared on the Inc. 5000 list, which recognizes the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. EES ranked no. 690, with three-year revenue growth of 632 per cent. The company also appeared on the Women Presidents’ Organization’s (WPO) annual ranking of the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies, where they were listed 45th.
In a statement celebrating their ranking on the WPO list, CEO Falon Veit Scott, CMM, announced that the company was “thrilled and honored to be a part of this esteemed group of women-owned businesses.”
In response to the Inc. 5000 ranking, she was similarly “excited to be named to this renowned list for a second year.”
“The EES team is dedicated to creating unique event experiences through collaboration and the development of a business strategy that meets our clients’ objectives,” she said. “Our continuous growth is a direct result of our clients’ growth and we’re excited and determined to play a role in helping them achieve their goals.”
Falon also credits the growth to the company’s team, she says now – starting with their leadership.
“From me down to my directors, we are a driven-group of women, and we don’t stop at “no,’” she says. “When we’re presented with a challenge, we conquer it. I lead the company that way, and my directors lead their teams that way, so that attitude trickles down through the ranks. Everybody has the same mentality to get it done.”
‘Getting it done,’ Falon explains, means “knowing what their clients want and thinking through everything.” It means always moving forward, learning as they go, and facing and surpassing every obstacle they encounter. “Events are really hard,” she says. “It’s known as one of the most stressful careers. It’s up there with neurosurgeon and firefighter, and there’s a reason for that. Having a wonderful team in place that has the drive and the expertise to push forward every day, to overcome all the setbacks we go through, and to make everything perfect – that makes it a little easier, and that’s why we’ve been successful.” Falon has personally been in the events industry for 20 years now, starting from her time in college. Prior to forming EES, she worked with another global company, producing events all over the world. She always intended to strike out on her own, however. On August 1st of 2012 she pulled the trigger. From there, EES itself evolved quickly, consistently growing their revenue and adding several employees per year
Again, Falon shares the credit for the company’s sustained success with those hires: “I can only lead so much,” she says. “I have wonderful people in place who follow my leadership and we do it together.”
When Falon started her own event production business, her goal was to provide a different kind of service than other companies in the space. She had both witnessed and experienced firsthand how those other businesses operated, and she had a different idea.
“I don’t know another event company that operates the way we do,” she says. “What makes us stand out is that we treat every event, meeting, conference, tradeshow, horse race, or festival – whatever we do – as a business. That sounds like common sense but it’s really not.”
Other companies, Falon explains, tend to adopt a laser focus on the one event they are responsible for, and they don’t think about how it impacts the rest of the client’s business. EES, on the other hand, starts by listening to the client – “another thing that sounds like common sense, that you would think other people do, but they don’t,” Falon says.
“We have very in-depth meetings with our clients. We talk about their goals and objectives for not only what they’re about to put on, but what they’re doing with the company as a whole. We embed ourselves as fully as we can in order to learn and glean all that information. We want to make sure we align all the decisions we make with their overall company mission, values and goals.”
“Then, the first thing we do is set up the budget,” she adds. “Most companies, and most people In general, don’t want to talk about money, but we want to talk about money first thing. We don’t want to put a meeting or event together and have the client blindsided because the event cost more than they thought it would. That’s not how we want to work. We want to make sure we’re open and transparent.”
The result of that understanding, openness and transparency has been a lot of satisfied customers, and a lot of repeat work. EES has not lost a client to date, and many of their clients have engaged them more than once. Some of their main clients have been working with them ever since the company first started – which is exactly the company’s goal.
“We don’t have the mindset of coming in and producing one meeting or one event and then we’re out,” Falon explains. “We want to have a long term partnership. And if they do more than one event a year, we want to eventually take those on as well.”
“We really partner with people in a very strong way,” she adds. “We have clients now who tell us that they couldn’t function without us.
THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Once again, Falon credits EES’ strong relationships with clients to the team members who support them – and those team members are always carefully selected. The company goes through a “very laborious hiring process,” Falon says, “because it takes time and money to invest in someone and we can’t mess it up.”
Over the years, that process has evolved. At the start, they believed they could hire anyone organized and teach them events. Since then, the company has grown so busy – and their standards have grown so high – that they require their applicants to have no less than seven years’ experience in the events industry.
Beyond experience, the company looks for “ambition and drive.”
“Those are the most important things to me,” Falon explains. “If someone just wants a 9-to-5, they’re not going to work for me. They’re not going to be on this team. Now, do I want to overwork my team? Absolutely not. But are events 24-7? Absolutely, they are.”
“So my team has to understand that they’re going to have to travel, they’re going to have to answer their cellphone at 10 o’clock at night – because they have to do the right things by their customers.“And therefore, they’re going to progress in their career,” she adds. “We have a lot of upward mobility at EES, even though we’re small. Most of our team has started at the bottom and moved their way up, and because we’re growing, there’s even more opportunity.”
EES team members, in return for their dedication, are also empowered to make decisions, as well as to provide genuine input on the operation of the company. They are also given different awards, bonuses, and compensation in recognition of their hard work.
“We try to do a really good job in giving back to our team,” Falon says. “We’re a truly a family here. We have a real family mentality. We go to war together, and for each other.”
The outcome has been that in seven years, EES has lost only two people – one who gave birth and wanted to devote time to motherhood, and another who didn’t want to do events anymore and is now very successful in another industry. That kind of retention is very significant for the events industry, where the turnover is typically much higher.
EES has created similarly strong outcomes with their supplier and vendor partners. Falon calls those people a “part of us.” She says “we respect them, we pay them on time if not early, and we rely on their valuable advice and impeccable service.”
The Clean Plate Club, for example, is one of Nashville’s premier full-service caterers, as well as one of EES’ most trust-
ed partners. They have over three decades of experience catering small and large events, and their expert team can handle up to the most complex of venues. No matter what’s on the menu, Falon knows she can rely on them to make the event memorable.
Once again, the majority of relationships like that are long-standing. Many date back to before EES even began.
“We don’t have to shop around,” Falon says. “They do what we need, and when things come up – as they always do on site – we know we can call them and they’ll respond, ‘Absolutely.’ They’re always going to help us when those little crises pop up. That’s invaluable.”
THE SKY IS THE LIMIT
Today, EES is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, their 12-person team works all over the country and even ventures abroad. Over the next five years, they even plan to add another office in Central America.
In the nearer-term, Falon says her goal is to double the size of that team and double the company’s revenue in time for their 10-year anniversary in 2022 – which they are already planning a big celebration for. Beyond that, she says “the sky is the limit.”
“I was one of those people that was lucky enough to realize in high school what I wanted to for the rest of my life,” she says. “I started doing it in college and I’ve never looked back. This is exactly where I want to be and what I want to do until the day I retire.”