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Special Events Staff Enrich City through Large Community Events

Employees of the Week: Bree Ortiz, Nikki Peone, Eric Werner, Veronica Archuleta, Alicia Calderon, Ricky Garcia, Kristopher Legits, and Nicolas Meyer

September 1, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry recognized several employees from the City of Albuquerque’s Special Events Division as Employees of the Week for producing many of the large events that Albuquerque’s residents and visitors enjoy every year. The Special Events Division is in the City’s Cultural Services Department. This week’s Employees of the Week are Bree Ortiz, Nikki Peone, Eric Werner, Veronica Archuleta, Alicia Calderon, Ricky Garcia, Kristopher Legits, and Nicolas Meyer.

The Special Events Division is the lead organization behind the successful, yearly events that host hundreds of thousands of attendees. Among these events are the Freedom 4th celebration at the Balloon Fiesta Park, the Summerfest series, Central Avenue’s Twinkle Light Parade, the Renaissance Faire at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum, and the reoccurring weekend entertainment held in Old Town Albuquerque. This group of professionals ensures that each event provides quality entertainment for the greater community in a safe, family-friendly environment. Each of these staff strive to improve the operation and cost efficiency of each event, a process that takes months of strategic planning to properly see through.

Ortiz, Peone, Werner, Archuleta, Calderon, Garcia, Legits, and Meyer coordinate special, one-time events, as well as professionally execute new events and ideas. One example was the Holly Holm parade that took place in late 2015 that garnered over 20,000 people who all flocked to Downtown Albuquerque.

In 2010, Mayor Berry contemplated ways to stimulate the economy for the benefit of local businesses that were affected by the Great Recession. To create economic activity across the city, the team devised a plan to separate the Summerfest series into four main areas in Albuquerque. As a result, the Route 66, Downtown, Heights, and Westside Summerfests were established as individual, skillfully executed festivals.

While the Special Events Division is the lead on many of the City’s most recognizable events and festivals, the team also collaborates with numerous other City departments, some of which include Albuquerque Police and Fire, Environmental Health, and Transit. There are also community organizations and many neighborhood associations and local businesses, with which the team works closely to coordinate a successful, large scale event.

For the past eight years, this group of accomplished event planners has managed to launch numerous community events. Since 2010, attendance for all events overseen by the division was approximately 1,258,130. When attendance in 2010 and 2017 are compared, the data show the rate has increased by approximately 74%, an indication of how these events have grown in size and popularity. Their ability to work as a team is evident in the seamless coordination, setup and execution of events, proceeded by significant effort the day of the event. It is for these reasons that Bree Ortiz, Nikki Peone, Eric Werner, Veronica Archuleta, Alicia Calderon, Ricky Garcia, Kristopher Legits, and Nicolas Meyer were recognized as this week’s City of Albuquerque Employees of the Week.

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