Zed Brings Events to Life

first_img“We don’t do anything normal.” That’s the attitude Robert Zed takes toward projects with the Zed Group. Zed is chairman of the group of companies, based in Halifax, that is involved in a variety of businesses including event planning and production, investments, real estate and even health care. The busiest arm of the group is ZedEvents, which handles everything from dinners to conferences. It looks after every detail of an event including team responsibilities, schedules and budgets. It has staged events for the Nova Scotia Business Inc., Geared for Growth conference, Different Stage of Mind Event for the Nova Scotia Mental Health Foundation, Atlantic Chamber of Commerce Atlantica Conference, Halifax Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament, Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEOs in Atlantic Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee Hall of Fame Induction Gala: Road to Excellence. It’s a long list, especially when you add numerous golf tournaments and private functions, but it doesn’t stop there. ZedEvents not only has a strong presence in Nova Scotia, but it is expanding from coast to coast in both Canada and the United States, and even moving into the U.K. Zed says the company has clients in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, California, Florida, Texas and England. How did a company that is only two years old grow so quickly? “We wow our clients,” he says. “We try to deliver strong service and set realistic objectives. We have people with creative minds, out-of-the-box thinkers who are very, very good at what they’re doing.” One of those key employees is Jane Davies, executive producer of the company. Zed says she is really the secret of success. Zed says his colleagues also love living and working in Nova Scotia. “The passion of staying here just gives you a whole different perspective. I can go an hour and be at my cottage. I can go an hour from anywhere in Halifax and be in the country. When I go an hour from Montreal or Toronto, I’m still battling traffic and battling high costs.” While Robert Zed’s enthusiasm for the area is clear, he has plenty of fans here, too. In 2005, he was inducted into Atlantic Business Magazine’s Top 50 CEO Hall of Fame and he’s only 46 years old. Zed was also the recipient of the prestigious Top 40 Under 40 in 1996. While he doesn’t shy away from trying novel approaches to projects, the Halifax entrepreneur does have a few rules and questions he sticks to when embarking on a venture. The first step is to have an expectations meeting with clients to go over goals, keeping in mind some key points. “What does success look like? Will people walk away and say, ‘wow?’ Will the client walk away and say, ‘that was really impressive?'” Once the event wraps, Zed needs to hear a couple of comments before he considers his work a success. They are, “Thank you for delivering that promise. Thank you for taking it to a different level.” But why do people come to Nova Scotia to do business? Without a pause to gather his thoughts, Zed says, “Expertise. Experts live here, and we have the best ones in the country.” He says ZedEvents has a full-time staff of 10 at the Halifax office. But leading up to an event, the staff could number 30 to 40 employees. There are also practical things that complete the package,like having strong, dependable access into, and out of, the province by air, road and rail. He says easily getting into, and departing the province is critical for doing business. “It’s an easy stop point and dash-off point.” One man, who plays a key role in staging events in Nova Scotia, is a huge fan of the company. Fred MacGillivray, president and CEO, Trade Centre Limited, which operates the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax says Zed is a professional entrepreneur who understands clearly what it takes to be successful. MacGillivray says one of the chief reasons for Zed’s success is that he hires good people. “All of the people at Zed have an ability to look at an event and do the event in a unique way so that the customer and the client are able to showcase themselves in a very professional manner.”For MacGillivray there is no doubt that when Zed and his colleagues are signed up for a project, the end result is a foregone conclusion. “We know there is going to be a successful event when the Zed Group is involved.” MacGillivray says the success of the Zed Group is not only good for the company, but boosts one of the strongest industries in the province. “They are helping us build tourism opportunities into the future.” MacGillivray says the WTCC has done about eight to 10 major events with the Zed Group and there are at least three major events planned for the future. The Zed Group, has also been branching out into health care, for which Zed draws on his past experience in management at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. Some of the work includes building P3 hospitals in Canada, representing a British health-care client in Nova Scotia and strategic health-care consulting in hospital services such as laundry, food services and sanitation. Zed Group’s concierge wing, Consider It Done, also keeps him busy by providing people with tickets for big events like Wimbledon, the Masters and the Super Bowl. In other words, if you’re looking for hard-to-get tickets, call Zed. “We have access to things that are not necessarily available commercially.” Not satisfied with all that to keep him busy, Zed is also active in the local property market. He realizes not all is perfect in his line of work, and has some suggestions to make it better. He says Nova Scotians have to get better at welcoming change, looking at different ways of doing things, and promoting ourselves. So what’s he up to these days? He says stay tuned because it’s on the same level, or bigger, than the Rolling Stones concert last fall in Halifax. And right now, that’s all he’s saying about that event. -30-last_img

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