Legacy Member Q&A: David Freeman
Friday, July 14, 2017
David Freeman joined the event planning industry in 1986 purchasing Accent on Cincinnati, Inc., a Cincinnati DMC. In 1988, he founded Accent on Indianapolis, Inc. which was later sold and renamed Accent Indy. Both companies are leaders in event planning in their respective markets with their professionalism, quality and creativity. During his 31 years in the industry David served on committees of numerous industry associations including Treasurer and President of the DMC Network, the MPI Ethics Committee, the Certification and Accreditation Board of ADMEI, and was twice honored as supplier of the year by the Ohio chapter of MPI.
ILEA: Looking back over the course of your career, what has been the most influential factor that has shaped the direction of the events industry?
Freeman: Over my 31-year tenure by far the biggest influential factor shaping the direction of the industry has been technology. So many internal and external changes have been developed solely due to rapid technological advances. Computers, LEDs, miniaturization, just to name a few, have made the process from proposals through to the finished events dramatically faster and improved over the years. At the same time technology has vastly improved our connectivity with clients, vendors and peers. Keeping up with the technological changes has been vital to success.
ILEA: What is the one piece of advice you wish you had at the beginning of your career?
Freeman: I did get the best advice from a mentor at the time. She told me “Do not just join associations, get involved in the industry. When you join professional organizations like ILEA, MPI, PCMA, ASAE, NACE, and others attend meetings and volunteer to serve on committees. You can learn so much from working with your peers on committees or projects. The more you get involved the better you know them and the more they can help you learn and grow. The best way to learn is to get involved and actively listen and participate.” But she went on to say “Pick one or two to really focus your time and energy on. You can serve better by focusing your time and energy into one organization instead of doing a little for many.”
ILEA: Looking forward, what do you anticipate will be the most significant trend to shape the future direction of this industry?
Freeman: Probably two main drivers will be technology and regulatory. The trajectory of technological changes will grow exponentially in the future. Technology no longer changes every year or so, it happens daily with new programs, new applications and new devices available for operations and events. Changes dictated by local, state and federal government keep increasing in so many different areas--in regulations, taxes, rules for labor, safety, health or delivery of events. It is increasingly complex and challenging to own and operate a business successfully.
ILEA: What does it mean to you to be considered a mentor or leader in this space?
Freeman: It is humbling to recognize how many people have helped my company and me grow personally and professionally over the years. I believe it is my duty and an honor to give back to others new to the industry. I am honored when asked for assistance or advice and it is also a great opportunity to contribute to the continued growth of our industry.
ILEA: Please describe the value of being a member of ILEA and what this has meant to your career.
Freeman: Being a member of ILEA provides an opportunity to network with and learn from my peers in this industry. With its large membership base to connect with through local chapter meetings, national meetings or simply with other industry members for advice or as potential suppliers to work with on a project, is an invaluable resource.