The 2013 Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting is a wrap. For the eighth consecutive year, we produced and directed a crowd-pleasing event that we, and the Chamber, could be proud of. And while it looked easy, there were countless hours of planning, legwork and installation that were necessary to make it happen. Exactly how much effort does it take to make a show like this look effortless? We can’t tell you exactly, because we started planning just after last years’ meeting. As we tore down the set and the staging, we discussed just how cool it would be if – And what would it look like if we did. To host a crowd and nearly 2,000 discerning members and their guests, impress them and keep them engaged is a daunting task, but at HenkinSchultz, we’ve been doing it for years. This is where we feel excited. It starts with finding a theme that inspires. For this year’s event, “Better. Together.” was chosen. Then our design team went to work on the visuals that would support this theme, spreading the message across save-the-date cards, invitations and the program. We then set about planning the show and the stage. According to Kirby Shultz, the brains behind the production, “We had a wide arena and had to find a way to make everyone present feel engaged.” Based on Kirby’s ideas, our crew produced renderings of the entire set to determine the building blocks of the stage. Making it easy for people to feel included, engaged and comfortable would require – A 216-ft. stage made up of 72 sections – Five 21 by 12-ft projection screens – One movable center screen – Two full semi loads of equipment (not including the staging) – And lots of lights But this was just the backdrop. This is where we feel creative. We had to put something on the stage, give people something to look at on the screen and set the right mood with music. On stage, lighting is the key to creating the right effect and setting the right mood. We planned the lighting so that every entrance, exit and change of direction in the show had a different lighting cue synced to the program schedule. Animation also played a big part in the show. We wanted to showcase the flavor of this city in motion with video and photography that reflected the community and its businesses. We shot and animated a ton video and matched it with the right songs to produce the right effect. This is where we feel anxious. Once the plan was finished, it was time to execute. Setting up for the Tuesday show began on Sunday at 6 p.m. and with the remarkable efforts of more than 25 people, was completed 48 hours later, just in time for the show to begin. When the doors opened, members and their guests were treated to a night of inspiration provided by the Miami Heat President Pat Riley, other featured speakers, musical entertainment, great food and refreshments in an atmosphere that said,”We may be a small city, but we have style.” Every year, this show gives HenkinSchultz the opportunity to push our ideas to the next level, to produce the unexpected, to show our flair and to give something back to the thriving business community of Sioux Falls that we have the great honor of working with every day. According to Kirby, “People won’t remember what they saw. They won’t remember what they heard, but they will remember how they felt.” This is where we feel proud. While the production may look effortless, there are hours of work, planning and execution involved in producing this annual show, but it’s an effort worth making when our friends and colleagues walk away feeling proud to be a part of this remarkable city.