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Safety, security topics highlight MPI-CAC Fall Education Program

By: Heather Warthen, H1 Marketing & Events | Oct 1, 2019

Fall2From planning for emergencies and understand types of risks to what’s covered by force majeure and communication plans, attendees of MPI-CAC’s Fall Education Program were treated to an informative safety and security panel discussion Tuesday, Sept. 17.

Held at the Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC, the program was attended by nearly 60 meeting planners and suppliers.

Panelists included United Center senior director of security Alex Hernandez and Barnes & Thornburg LLP attorney Matthew E. Misichko. The panel was moderated by Jim Grillo, CMP, of Here’

Both panelists spoke on the importance of communication at events.

“There’s strategy involved with communication as well,” Misichko said. “Let’s say everything is working properly. The time to be thinking about proper communication is not when the emergency is happening. You should already have an idea of when that is and you should already have that number or numbers stored in your phone ... who in this room knows what to call first? Do you call hotel security first or do you call 911? That’s key.”

Echoing the importance of communication, Hernandez said he likes to attend every meeting leading up to an event, regardless if it’s pre-con, a BEO meeting or transportation meeting.

“A lot of people that are my colleagues or counterparts think I’m crazy because I attend every meeting,” he said. “For some events I have to worry about 150 charter buses coming to my venue - how am I closing the streets? How’s security going to look? Normally I have 22,000 people trickling in, depending on the event.

“I’m not going to learn those things if I don’t attend those meetings. Not everyone is going to want to attend those, but you giving them that information then you’re not liable and your conscience is clean, and you know you actually provided all the information you needed to for that event.”

Both panelists also offered suggestions for what kinds of questions to ask for hiring security companies.

“When it comes to venues, first of all any company should be willing to provide a COI,” Hernandez said. “I would also ask if it’s a law enforcement company, as a lot of security companies are run by former law enforcement or current law enforcement. If they aren’t, ask what certifications or training they go through.”

Misichko suggested not only including the information in the RFP, but also making them representations in the contract, too.

“It’s critical to think about those qualities and qualifications that Alex had mentioned,” he said.

The education program was approved for 1.5 continuing education credit with the Events Industry Council.

Following the education program was a networking reception where many attendees shared their safety and security horror stories.

The next education program for MPI-CAC is the Signature Luncheon which will take place 11 a.m.-1:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the Marriott Marquis Chicago. Registration will be available soon at

About the Author: Warthen is Chief Events Officer and Chief Marketing Officer for 22nd Century Media, an award- winning media company specializing in hyperlocal content in Chicagoland. Hired as its first employee in 2005, she is a former award-winning journalist and photographer who now manages the planning, logistics, marketing and executing of more than a dozen community events and expos. She serves on the 2019-2020 MPI-CAC Board of Directors as Director Marketing & Public Relations.



Heather Warthen, H1 Marketing & Events
H1 Marketing & Events

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