Blogs

InTents “5 under 40” Feature

InTents “5 under 40” December 1st, 2020 / By: IFAI / Feature An in-depth look at five young professionals who are helping the tenting industry move toward an innovative and vital future. by Pamela Mills-Senn You can’t discount the contribution of folks who have spent decades in the tenting industry, advancing it through innovation and hard work. At the same time, those at the start of their careers will be the ones to continue the forward momentum and carry on the good work. In keeping momentum from last year, InTents is once again calling attention to five professionals under age 40 who have decided that the tent and event rental industry is where they want to direct their energy, effort and passion. Although their stories are different, all share the same excitement about the industry and the same determination to not only get through the current challenges presented by COVID-19, but to thrive—now and in the years ahead. Attracted by the opportunity the rental industry provides and wanting to capitalize on his experience gained over the four years he spent working in the sports and entertainment industry, Darren Randle opened his business this January. “I was the contact who ordered tents and rental items for those events from the various providers around town—which ultimately led me to the industry,” he recalls. “I wanted to be the one others relied on for these rental needs.” The opportunity to learn more about this industry before diving in with his own company came in 2015 when he joined a rental business in the Houston area, overseeing many complex, large installations for sporting and corporate events, product launches and festivals, among others. “When people ask why I decided to go this career route I explain how much enjoyment I get out of helping planners, organizations, sports teams and schools host a successful event,” he says. “The tent and rentals equipment part of an event is important and with that, I’m able to get creative and use my marketing and operations background to create a fun experience.” Still, it was never his intention to launch his own tent and event rental operation from nothing—it’s a tough road to walk. Consequently, he advises those hoping to break into this industry to find a family organization, working hard with the idea of becoming a leader or partner within that business. IFAI is an important resource, says Randle, connecting him to other young industry professionals. And although the pandemic has cut into the number of events he’s done this year, Randle has still accumulated some memorable moments, one being showing off his newly opened warehouse to his wife and young daughter. “Watching my daughter run around the warehouse floor was worth all the hard work and time away from them over the last year to pull this off,” he recalls. “Who knows, maybe she’ll want to run the Houston Tents & Events business many years down the road.” Darren Randle, Owner Houston Tents & Events Houston, Texas www.houstontentsevents.com Employs: Six with plans to grow to nine Q: What’s the best leadership lesson you’ve learned? A: An important one was from Martin Luther King Jr. He said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” Sometimes the hardest thing to do as a leader is the right thing. It’s easier not to place importance on an employee or to undervalue a customer that only orders one small backyard part a year versus that client you work with every month. All should be a priority. There are many wrong ways to do things in our industry, but doing it right is what’s most important to me. To read more information on all five professionals featured this year, visit: https://intentsmag.com/2020/12/01/intents-5-under-40-2/a

Houston Tents & Events Named Winner of The Knot Best of Weddings 2021

15th Annual Best of Weddings Awards Honor Top Wedding Vendors Across America Houston, Texas/November 23, 2020 — Houston Tents & Events is pleased to announce that we have been selected as a 2021 ­­winner of The Knot Best of Weddings, an accolade representing the highest- and most-rated wedding professionals as reviewed by real couples, their families and wedding guests on The Knot, a leading wedding planning and registry brand and app. Despite COVID-19 interrupting many 2020 weddings and social events, wedding professionals around the nation continued to support to-be-weds throughout their wedding planning journeys. From adjusting future schedules to make way for postponed weddings, to helping couples host socially distanced weddings following state and local guidelines and restrictions with an increased focus on health and safety, wedding pros—and the industry as a whole—rallied together in 2020, ultimately helping couples continue to celebrate life and love. The Knot 2021 Best of Weddings recognition honors the vendors who went above and beyond to help to-be-weds navigate the global pandemic. In 2021, five percent of hundreds of thousands of local wedding professionals listed on The Knot received this distinguished award. In its fifteenth annual year, The Knot continues its long-standing tradition of supporting local wedding vendors with The Knot Best of Weddings 2021, an annual by-couples, for-couples guide to the top wedding professionals across the country. This comes as the industry prepares for an increase in upcoming celebrations due to postponed events throughout 2020. To determine the winners, The Knot analyzed its millions of user reviews across various vendor categories—including venues, musicians, florists, photographers, caterers and more—to find the highest rated vendors of the year. These winners represent the best of the best wedding professionals that engaged couples should consider booking for their own unique weddings. “It was a challenging year for everyone, including many vendors/businesses in our industry. Weddings were one of the only events that still continued throughout 2020, although many new safety measures had to be implemented to follow social distancing guidelines. We were able to put strategies in place to support those initiatives and have so many feel-good stories of couples we were able to work with last minute when their dream wedding plans had to change. Some were going to a Caribbean destination or Europe where their families are from, others just had to move away from a venue and host it in their backyards, driveways, etc. Whatever the situation or guest count, we appreciated the business now more than ever and had fun bringing the wedding couples’ visions to life – just under slightly different conditions. We appreciate the recognition by TheKnot and look forward to many more fun wedding experiences over the next year.” Wedding professionals who win The Knot Best of Weddings are members of WeddingPro, the leading B2B wedding brand. For more information about The Knot Best of Weddings and this year’s winners, please visit https://www.theknot.com/vendors/best-of-weddings.

Cougar Business Network

Houston Tents & Events is excited to be a part of the inaugural class of the 2020 Cougar Business Network, Cougars doing business with Cougars! We are proud members of the UH Alumni Association and look forward to our continued support of the University of Houston. For more information on the initiative visit: https://houstonalumni.com/business-network/

Partnership with Houston Cougar Athletics & Rice Athletics

Houston Tents & Events has agreed with Houston Cougar Athletics and Rice Athletics on a 3-year partnership with both organizations through 2022. Both schools have been supportive of our business as we’ve provided alumni tailgates, game operations rental equipment, tent structures, etc. in the past so this was a great opportunity for us to give back to the athletic programs through this sponsorship as one of their proud partners. Go Coogs & Go Owls!

Top 25 Young Event Pros Recognition

We’re excited to have the owner of Houston Tents & Events, Darren Randle, featured as one of the Top 25 Young Event Pros of 2020 by Special Events Magazine. It’s a prestigious honor for younger professionals in the events industry to be recognized. Every year, the Advisory Board of Special Events Magazine along with honorees from the past year share with us 25 young event pros—all under age 40—throwing the spotlight on their talents and futures. Thank you to the Special Events Magazine for all they do to highlight the future of the event industry. You can read the article here: https://www.specialevents.com/rental/25-young-event-pros-watch-2020-part-4/gallery?slide=1

Houston Work Safe Company

Houston Tents & Events is aligning our policies with a strategy from The Greater Houston Partnership that established the 10 principles below for companies in industries exempted from the “Stay Home-Work Safe” Order. As a business who understands what we need to do to remain safe and do what’s best for our communities we support around the city, we’re following this strategy so that we can continue on-site operations while working to ensure the safety of our employees and vendors. Allow all but critical on-site employees to work from home. While some companies must maintain on-site workers to complete specific business critical tasks, employers should allow all non-essential employees to work remotely. Employ video technology. To avoid unnecessary exposure, employers should implement tools such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or other such applications to conduct meetings. No one should feel the need to meet in person. Create a safe work environment for all critical on-site employees.Create physical separation. Health officials advise that all individuals should remain at least six feet apart to avoid possible transmission. Employers should establish protocols that require all on-site employees maintain a distance of at least six feet while working.Close communal spaces. Employers should discontinue use of any communal spots such as lunchrooms, break-rooms, meeting rooms and other gathering spaces to avoid unnecessary person-to-person exposure.Expand cleaning operations. Companies where workers must remain onsite should increase cleaning protocols of all high-touch and high-traffic areas throughout the day. Require sick workers to stay home. Require sick workers to stay home.To minimize exposure to other personnel, all workers who are experiencing even mild symptoms should avoid the workplace, report the situation to their supervisor and remain home. Adjust paid sick leave (PTO) policies. Employers should adjust policies to remove disincentives from people self-reporting illnesses. It is to your company’s advantage for sick employees to stay home. Encourage proper hygiene. Employers should provide sufficient hand sanitizing stations, guidelines for proper hand washing and soap at all hand-washing stations to ensure proper hygiene at the workplace. Create alternative teams. Employers where on-site staff remain critical should create alternating teams (i.e. morning/afternoon shifts, day/evening, every other day) so that operations may continue if one team becomes exposed and is required to quarantine. Restrict on-site access. Employee guests and other visitors should not be allowed access to any office or worksite. Discontinue work-related travel and require reporting of personal travel. Employers should discontinue travel by employees to other locations outside of the Houston region. If employees travel outside of the region for personal reasons, these trips should be reported to the employer should they pose an increased risk. Establish anonymous reporting. To maintain a safe work environment for on-site employees, companies should create an anonymous complaint channel for employees to report unsafe practices or violations of protocol during this period. It’s going to take all of us together to get through these challenging times and following this strategy of being a “Work Safe Business” is what we think is best for Houston.  

Clean Safe Essential Training

One of the amazing organizations that Houston Tents & Events is a member of is the American Rental Association. With new obstacles to stay safe while still conducting our event/rental business, they launched a training initiative “Clean Safe Essential for the Party Event Industry” to help prepare us for this “new normal” in the rental world. Many of these recommendations were already being followed by our team but it’s a great reference point to ensure we’re doing everything we can to continue having safe rental experiences and to reduce the spread of COVID-19. All of our staff and event team has successfully passed this training and received their certification for this initiative. The online training certificate program features a variety of learning modules to help ensure the cleanliness and safety of rental operations, employees and customers. Our industry is committed to developing solutions over and above what is expected to keep the rental process clean and safe. Training is based on expertise from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, rental operators and equipment manufacturers. While the training is based on medical science and operational expertise, we will always comply with the latest local, state/province, and national laws and government regulations, and to conform with guidance provided by government health agencies. If government guidance is more stringent than what is found in the training, Houston Tents & Events will follow government guidance and recommendations.