Texas Meetings + Events would like to offer its sincere condolences to family, friends and colleagues of Monroe Jost, founder of Irving-based J&S Audio Visual (JSAV), who passed away on April 6, 2019.

Born in 1947, Jost was a passionate entrepreneur who was not afraid to take risks. In 1986, he purchased Hoover Audio Visual by taking out a loan that had to be paid back in 12 months. Unconcerned with the timeline, Monroe was confident that if he focused on one aspect of the business—customer service—he would be able to quickly grow a client base and generate enough revenue to pay off the loan. And he did.

Over the next 30 years, he led the company’s expansion into other U.S. markets and abroad, growing JSAV from a dozen employees to 650. As JSAV continued to expand, Jost stayed true to his core tenet that the business is all about people and relationships.

In 2014, Jost’s son Kevin became president of JSAV but Monroe Jost continued to lead the company as CEO. On March 21, he officially announced his retirement.

Jost promoted an open-door policy, encouraging employees at all levels to meet with him personally. He traveled the country, visiting the company’s branch offices and the many hotel and event properties where JSAV maintains on-site offices. He ran JSAV with the firm belief that if the employees enjoyed their jobs and were having fun, their happiness would be passed along to their clients and customers. His legacy will continue because of the core values he practiced and instilled in his team.

A Kansas farm boy who served in the Vietnam War, Jost also founded SGSO (Serving God, Serving Others), a disaster relief organization.

He is survived by his wife, Karen and his sons Todd and Kevin.

For Andrea Mokros, Minneapolis-based public relations executive and independent event consultant, the last decade has been a whirlwind. From serving as special assistant to President Obama and director of strategic planning for then-first lady Michelle Obama, to welcoming newcomers to the Bold North as the vice president of communications and events for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, Mokros shares the key takeaways that inspire her work today. 

 

Tony Michaels is no stranger to navigating choppy waters. The CEO and executive director of The Parade Company, which puts on traditions like America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Ford Fireworks, took the helm of the Detroit nonprofit during tough times, at the height of the financial crisis. “2008, 2009, are you kidding me?” says Michaels.

 

Originally from Ontario, Heather Odendaal got her start in event planning early, serving as her high school’s head of social events. She ended up on the West Coast, courtesy of her studies at the University of British Columbia, and launched her career in Whistler, working for the resort in marketing and events. Today, she’s CEO of Bluebird Strategy, a boutique event planning firm, and CEO and founder of WNORTH, a global community of women who have their sights set on the C-suite.