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The Right Thing To Do


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October 12,2015 was the 21st annual Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic held at the St. Ives Country club in Atlanta, GA. I have been fortunate to attend 8 or 9 of the events and each year I have some similar observations.

First, what a great way for the industry to pull together to help its own. The mood for the day is about the industry, helping, caring, and doing the right thing to raise money for those in need.  Many of us, if not all there had a connection in some shape or form – if you have not gone or are not aware, please watch the video as it is very touching.

I do want to make two special references for tremendous ongoing support. First to Czarnowski – Jim Malinowski and the Czar Atlanta team were voted Sponsor of the Year. Czarnowski has dedicated time and money over the years and sadly has had employees and or family members who have been recipients. Kudos to the team for doing the right thing year over year. Within the RSMGC, sponsor of the year is a pretty cool award – money does not simply get the award – effort and dedication do.

The second special applause is for Rich Johnson. As co-founder of the event / event director / event MC over the years, he deserves a round of applause from everyone who has ever been involved or attended. I have watched Rich hustle around the course, the banquet, work the phone before and after the event and I admire him for the dedication and tenacity to ensure the event goes well. Author I can’t speak for his ongoing motivation, but this event must be more than a second job for him and appears to be a labor of love. The thing that Rich does which is nothing short of amazing is how he cares for and counsels the recipients who are at the event.

The format of the day is – go play golf and then attend banquet dinner, hear who won golf stuff, and then the recipients or families of will get up and speak for 5-10 minutes each. They recant their stories, share their fears, and tears of joy. There was a young dad this year, Jason Martin who told the story of his young son, Logan which as a father I found difficult to listen to. When Logan was two years old, Jason experienced his son die in his arms, BUT and I say but, was resuscitated, spent some tough years on dialysis, and after a kidney transplant in June is now “strutting” his stuff around the house “because he can”( Jason and I shared a great laugh over Logan’s new found mobility and confidence post banquet).

Through that entire day Rich is on and pulling strings making it happen. Where he shines on like a crazy diamond is when the recipients or families are getting up to speak. Most are nervous, many don’t feel they can retell awful stories, and almost every single speaker has shed a few tears. Standing over their right shoulder is Rich. He speaks in a calm comforting tone, reinforces they can do it, puts a hand on the shoulder to show support and gives a genuine hug when needed. Being involved is one thing, directing traffic is one thing, but showing empathy and guiding the recipients through those speeches in a genuinely sincere and masterful way is not taught and is the uber definition of being involved. Rich demonstrates such a high level of character that best case, all we can do is hope to have a smidgeon of what sits underneath his skin and in his heart.

It is never too late to donate to the RSMGC or plan to be a volunteer next year or at one of the offshoot events, but give Rich a high five the next time you see him – Rich understands the right thing to do when people are in need – thanks Rich.

About the Author

Dave Brown is the Vice President of Sales at Optima™.
He has been in the Trade Show industry since the early 90s.

  1. October 23, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Great article David, nicely done!

  2. Gary Camarato
    October 23, 2015 at 11:23 am

    “money does not simply get the award – effort and dedication do.” Very cool Czar team!
    I was recently at an event where a very wise man said, it’s easy to say Thank You and far more difficult to Show It! Effort and dedication – Well Done!

  3. Reid Sherwood
    October 23, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Dave is correct. Richie has a heart the size of the earth.

    The Randy has been helping our industry for over 20 years, and is always my favorite day of the year.

    If you think you should be involved, you’re correct

  4. October 26, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Well done Dave. You’ve captured, and shared, what I believe makes the RSMGC the greatest event of the year in the events industry.

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