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February 6, 2016

Republican National Convention

Tampa 2012

The August 2012 convention should be a business bonanza for Tampa and Florida.

Amy Keller | 10/3/2011


'Corporate Theater'


Howard Spector's company, Ashley Events, produces special events for political conventions. Spector moved his company to Safety Harbor for the 2012 convention [Photo: Mark Wemple]
Over the past 17 years, Howard Spector has produced events for clients ranging from Burger King to Coca-Cola. His brand of "corporate theater," as he calls it, has landed him several contracts producing annual events and galas for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which ultimately led him into the niche of producing special events for political conventions.

Spector's firm, Ashley Events, produced more than 70 events at each of the party's five-day conventions in 2004 and 2008. His projects at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis included setting up and running then-House Minority Leader John Boehner's office and hospitality suite. He also designed and produced the House Republican Cloak Room, where members of Congress would go to check their e-mail, take a break from the convention floor and "keep up with the business of running the country." His company also designed and produced the media lounge sponsored by Diageo.

Spector's already gearing up for 2012 in Tampa. He recently relocated his business from Washington to Safety Harbor, just across the bay from Tampa, and he's been busy scouting out venues and conducting food tastings for client events. "We're just at the place now where people are figuring out where they want their headquarters to be," he says.

"Everyone in town is going to benefit from this," Spector says, "every car service, every hotel, every catering company. I mean, there are so many tentacles, so many moving parts that make up a convention of this magnitude that everyone can benefit."

Ashley Events
Ashley Events designed and produced the President's Dinner in 2007 Washington, D.C. [Photo: Ashley Events]

Tags: Politics & Law, Government/Politics & Law

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