We had the good fortune of connecting with David Merrell and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi David, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
There is no question, that your product must be desired, consistent and absolutely outwardly focused on the clients goals. But the number on thing that keeps them coming back, is that they genuinely like and trust you. You can be a great designer, but if you are difficult to work with and inconsistent in the delivery, you won’t be sticking around. In other words. . . . likeability beats talent every time.

What should our readers know about your business?
I am self made. I started my business back in 1989 with only my money and enough knowledge and connections to get a catering company off the ground. Have added to my portfolio of offerings from the very beginning and have pivoted each time there has been a major disruption in the events industry, responding to the changing demand. Those pivots have come at significant times . . . . 9/11, the economic downturn in 2008/2009, and no COVID 19. Throughout those years, each time there was disruption in the world, i have to make hard decisions in order to survive. Here are a few of the most poignant decisions: 1) Never carry debt, it will be the noose that hangs you when income is decimated. 2) Stay humble. After three of these tumultuous situations, I have learned that the biggest roadblock will be MYSELF. Realize that nothing is forever, that you will have to need to get rid of everything that drags you down and doesn’t serve you, and be humble enough to know this can happen to everybody. 3) Have a great relationship with your bank, or multiple banks. Survival at times will mean being able to lean on financial institutions that can lend working capital. 4) Make sure you understand thoroughly your company books. What a P&L and a balance sheet is, you cannot run a company with long term goals if you don’t understand enough to make effective financial short and long term goals. We are NOT all blessed with the ability to understand, but make sure there is someone within your organization that does. . .that you trust! 5) As a manager, you have to constantly be aware of the current work environment. If your employees aren’t happy, motivated and thriving, you will be pushing the company “machine” up hill by yourself!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would most likely head to Palm Springs for some sun, hiking, and fun if we want to relax . . .and if we are looking for more adventure and activities, we would most likely head to San Diego. One of the biggest blessings of living in southern California is the weather. And I am an outdoor kind of guy . . . . so we would be doing some type of outdoor physical activity. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
ILEA is my shoutout. The acronym stands for the “International Live Event Association”. This is the professional organization that represents best my industry and my peers within it. It is absolutely responsible for my professional development and my existence within the Live and Virtual events industry. I wouldn’t be the polished and experienced event professional within their guidance and support.

Website: www.aooevents.com

Instagram: davidemerrell

Linkedin: davidmerrell

Twitter: @davidmerrell

Facebook: www.facebook.com/david.merrell.12

Youtube: AOO Events

Image Credits
one image of the cirque performers in air performing. .. . photo credit goes to Maya Meyers Photography. the rest of the pictures are owned by AOO Events.

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