Successful Meetings - April 2008 - (Page 24)

Planner Spotlight > Lorraine Rodman National Aviation Heritage Invitational, Reno, NV Meet the Fokkers Lorraine Rodman works for Rolls-Royce. So what’s she doing organizing an airplane show? “We sold our car division years ago,” explains Rodman, conference and events manager in the company’s civil aerospace division. “Now we make plane engines.” And to build relationships with companies that buy, or might buy, those engines, Rolls-Royce invites their representatives to a customer event held during the National Aviation Heritage Invitational, a vintage airplane show that Rolls-Royce sponsors every year in Reno, NV. The company isn’t the only Invitational spontheir owners compete in several different categories: Antique (pre-1935), Classic (post-1935), Military, and People’s Choice, plus an overall category. There are five judges, all affiliated with the Smithsonian. Entrants cover their own expenses, which are considerable—making Rodman’s biggest challenge convincing people to enter. “But it’s becoming a prestigious event, so that’s getting easier,” she notes. A group of 30 on-site volunteers receives the planes and sets them up for display— “they work all year long putting this together”— while Rodman and her team handle logistics and NATIONAL AVIATION HERITAGE INVITATIONAL, 2007 sor—the others are the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the Reno Air Racing Foundation, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum—but Held since: 1999 Attendees: Thousands Customer attendees: 200 Entries: 23 “we basically do everything” to organize it, says Rodman, who handles both the customer event and much of the Invitational. Indeed, it was Rodman’s boss, Ken Perich, who dreamed up the Invitational in the first place. Perich, an avid attendee of the Reno Air Races—the country’s only venue for plane racing—was inspired by the vintage aircraft he saw there. He devised the Invitational, a display of antique planes held during the Air Races, as a way to encourage the preservation of these “national treasures” via a friendly competition. FLYING DOWN TO RENO To be eligible for display, vintage planes must be at least 45 years old, restored to their original condition, and airworthy, meaning they must be flown to the venue (Stead Airport, a disused airfield in Reno). Once there, VIP transportation arrangements from their Virginia office. Meanwhile, customers (whose expenses are covered) get a welcome barbecue, hospitality tent, gift bags, and a thank-you plaque at the end—not to mention guest speakers, joyrides in B-17s, and a sky-box view of the show. SURPRISE GUEST Though Invitational winners don’t get all the booty that customers do, they do receive trophies (except for the overall winner, who gets his or her name printed on a plaque displayed on the Rolls-Royce Aviation Heritage Trophy, which resides at a branch of the Smithsonian). They also get to meet the first guy to walk on the moon—Neil Armstrong himself, who’s there handing out the trophies. —Sara J. Welch Does your meeting deserve to be in the Spotlight? Write us at, and you could be profiled in SM. APRIL 2008 SUCCESSFUL MEETINGS PHOTOS: STEVE GANOE 24

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - April 2008

Successful Meetings - April 2008
Editor's Note
Industry Trends
On the Record
Planner's Spotlight
Technology Talk
Personal Success
Websites of the Month
Food & Beverage
On Site
Professional Development
On Site
Professional Development
Miforum Q&A
Beyond the Flames
Reservation for—21,000
Casino Riches
Entertainment Jackpot
Who Needs a Passport?
The International Swing
Around the World in 18 Holes
Places & Spaces
Puerto Rico
Show Special: Washington DC / Frankfurt, Germany

Successful Meetings - April 2008