• Meet Arturo Gomez, Lessons in Passion and Prioritization

     
    POSTED August 13, 2019
     

    Nightlife and hospitality guru Arturo Gomez returns to The Underground with a few new enterprises under his belt.

ILM+E: How did you get involved in the hospitality and nightlife industry?
AG:
My first hospitality gig was at a nightclub in Chicago called the Dragon Room. That’s actually where I met my business partner, Billy Dec. We realized very quickly that we had a lot of the same passions and interests in terms of how we wanted to run businesses and what we wanted the customer experience to be like. We continued on a path for the last 20 years, building and owning restaurants and nightclubs, including The Underground.

ILM+E: You briefly left The Underground to pursue a couple of independent projects. Could you tell us a bit about them?
AG:
The first is Big Game Air, which is a luxury game day travel company. We create custom packages on private jets for groups to go to sporting events around the country. The second is Evoke Agency, which is a consulting agency focused on marketing, lifestyle and hospitality. We have clients across different industries. We’re doing everything from very specific hospitality-focused operational strategies to marketing.

ILM+E: Do these projects inform the work that you do at The Underground and vice versa?
AG:
Yes, definitely. There are a lot of new trends and behavioral things I’ve seen happening on both the agency and highend luxury experiential sides of the business that have really brought new clarity and focus to the things that we’re doing at The Underground.

ILM+E: You’ve clearly got a lot going on—how do you stay organized and productive?
AG:
For me, it’s having my calendar very strictly organized and making sure I’m tackling the things that I find real value in and that will have the highest impact. Each night, I establish the goals for the upcoming day. If I can get beyond the goals for the upcoming day, I’ll move onto the upcoming week, and if I get through the upcoming week, I’ll get into the upcoming month. I’m also up roughly at 4:30 a.m. most days.

ILM+E: What is your favorite kind of experience to create?
AG:
That’s so hard to answer. I really find a lot of enjoyment across the board. It can be as simple as producing a birthday event for a client or as crazy as doing an international trip on a private plane that’s at the absolute highest level of luxury. Oftentimes, it’s the littlest things. As long as people are smiling, I’m smiling.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a better champion of Amarillo than Hope Stokes, director of brand management for the Amarillo Convention & Visitor Council. Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle city, she graduated from nearby West Texas A&M University and her first job in the tourism industry was as an intern at the council. Stokes shared with us her love of her hometown.

What is your favorite thing about marketing Amarillo?

 

Ken Hayward has spent nearly his entire career serving at one hotel. But when you start your career at one of the most iconic and historic hotels in Michigan— even the nation—it’s hard to see yourself anywhere else. Hayward, executive vice president and managing director of Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, was recently named Hotelier of the Year by Historic Hotels of America. This honor comes decades after Hayward was given an unexpected opportunity.

 

A lifelon New Yorker, Emily Schmalholz was a TV producer at VH1 before moving into the events industry and landing at Westchester’s The Capitol Theatre. As director of special events at the historic space and its bar, Garcia’s, she says creating events and working in television have lots in common. “The ultimate goal for both is to tell a great story and create memorable moments.” Schmalholz, a self-described “event therapist,” had more to say about her work.

What’s the biggest difference between producing for television and producing events?