MPI Potomac FYI

MACE Sponsor Spotlight: Derek Suminski

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Derek has been in the hospitality industry since 1996 and has served in many different roles. Early in his career, he served as the Director of Event Technology for the Hyatt Regency Buffalo before transitioning to BAV’s Director of Operations in 2001. He moved into Business Development in 2004, he loved it, and has been there ever since. Throughout his 24 years, he has served as a committee member and co-chair on countless MPI Potomac committees and wrote technology articles for the Greater Midwest Chapter of PCMA. The articles were a Q&A style ‘Ask the AV Guy’ format where members could submit questions on event technology deployment.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

The best career advice I received was to always look at a project through the eyes of the customer. Each of us naturally develops into subject matter experts for the industry or niche we work and advocate for. As such, it’s easy to assume that friends, colleagues, and customers inherently understand what is in our head, our presentations and our assertions. In reality, different levels of Industry experience and differences in regional nomenclature, and even culture, can act as unintended filters to garble or confuse the message. Ensure you communicate in a manner that everyone can understand.

What is your favorite vacation spot, food, music?

When it comes to vacationing, I enjoy taking the family to beach locations during the summer months. Authentic and/or cultural experiences like taking in a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, and spending a few days amidst the Cherry Blossoms in DC are also spread throughout the year.

I am a classic rock aficionado and gravitate to Led Zeppelin and The Doors whenever I have the opportunity to do so. If I need a respite while finalizing a client proposal or working on a financial report, I’ll play some classical music to keep me level headed while also preventing random acts of air guitar and terrible pen tapping drum solos.

Where is your hometown?

I was born in, raised in, and still call Buffalo, NY my home. I am very proud that my daughter Abigail is following in my footsteps and very proud of her recent acceptance into her high school’s Academy of Hospitality & Tourism. She’ll eventually spend a semester in Disney and will then be looking for intern opportunities. Subtle hint to my Hospitality colleagues around the country!


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