We caught up with Jeff Whitney, president of Event Transportation / Atlanta. He possesses 32 years of experience in the meeting and events industry and serves as one of the instructors for our Meeting & Event Management Certificate program.
Who is the ideal student for this course?
This course is a great resource for anyone who has an interest in the meetings/events industry and who 1) is not sure what area of the industry to pursue; 2) is seeking a career change; or 3) currently works within the industry and wants to broaden their knowledge, understanding and expertise to strengthen their value and competence in a current position or interest in a future position.
What are the top 4 items students should expect to learn?
- A Comprehensive Overview of how a meeting is designed, budgeted and delivered, as well as quality overviews of key areas that comprise a meeting/event.
- Working as a Planning Team — Students will be assigned to a team that must work together to plan a case study meeting from start to finish.
- Direct Access To Leading Industry Professionals — Opportunity for direct access to those who currently work within the industry and can respond from personal knowledge and experiences.
- Hands-On Learning Experiences — Participate in planning visits to hotels and meeting facilities to experience what is required to research and select the meeting/event facility that delivers the best attendee experience given the meeting/event goals and budget.
Why are you so passionate about teaching this course?
I began my career in the hospitality industry in 1983 in New Orleans. In the years before the Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism college programs/degrees, we learned by on-the-job training through our supervisors and mentors.
I was fortunate enough to secure my first job in the industry with the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau. It was during this career position that I learned how the industry was structured (tourism, meetings/conventions and incentive); who the major players were (lodging, meetings facilities, air, show contractors, AV and destination management); how the pieces of a meeting came together; and how amazing it is to meet people from all over the world who are coming together to experience or learn more about a common interest.
I have this amazing career because I was willing to ask questions, and some very patient and knowledgeable industry professionals took the time to mentor me. It’s also because this industry can be measured beyond the profit and loss balance sheet. It’s an industry where you can regularly meet people from around the world who can — and do — enrich your life, where you can become knowledgeable about your own “backyard,” and become an ambassador for your town and community for friends and family who come to visit.
I enjoy sharing my passion and experiences, and love to identify other passionate people who can continue to strengthen our industry and the positive impact has on our city, state and nation — we’re a better industry because of the capable and passionate people we add to our “family.