Industry leader in event rental retires
After 18 years in the event rental industry, John Campanelli, CEO of InProduction, Chicago, and former executive of Classic Party Rentals in California, decided it was time to retire.
Campanelli’s last day at InProduction was January 1, 2022. Jason Tedrow, President and COO of InProduction, now assumes the role of CEO of the company.
âI’m 65 in March. I always intended to retire around this age. Jason joined InProduction in 2018 with the idea that he would take over from me at the appropriate time, âsays Campanelli. âAfter working with Jason to successfully guide InProduction through the dramatic slowdown in events following the pandemic, we are now heading into a year of record sales. I decided there was no better time to make the transition and let Jason lead our sales and operations teams to drive InProduction to new levels of success. The team know and respect Jason. He is well educated, very intelligent, hardworking, extremely organized and a good leader. We are fortunate to have this transition smoothly as we continue to innovate and gain traction in the industry. “
Campanelli leaves a legacy of thinking big and acting boldly. This trait was evident when he was at the helm of RR Donnelley & Sons Co., where he created a billion dollar logistics company within the printing giant.
In 2004, he turned to an entirely different industry – event rentals – when he became CEO of Classic Party Rentals. For Campanelli, this movement was not so exaggerated. âBoth were service companies. Each job was different. Even in the printing industry, every job – every magazine and every catalog – was different. You don’t produce widgets. You are providing a service that is very perishable, so to speak. I saw a lot of common attributes in the event rental industry, âhe says.
Under Campanelli’s leadership, Classic has grown into the largest event rental company in the United States. He led Classic’s sales growth to $ 250 million, growing the business from its two-state operations to more than 35 outlets in California, Southwest, Southeast, Florida, New York and Washington. He left Classic in 2009.
Campanelli is the proudest of two things of his Classic years. âOne is to build the business and the people. Many are still in the industry and hold leadership positions within the industry. The other thing was to combine and integrate the tent function. Classic was on the whole a table business. In 2005, we acquired Aztec Tents from Chuck Miller and then from Prime Event Group. We have added a lot of tents and structures to have a more national tent business. We could then lead the trend of full-service rental companies. It was a big deal at the time. The acquisition of these tent companies has given us a larger and larger level of inventory to serve a greater variety of events. I am very proud of the development of the staff and the tent component, âhe says.
Then, in 2015, he reunited with investors Dubin Clark to start working on InProduction. âWe started with the acquisition of SGA Production Services in October 2015, then added and integrated T&B Equipment, CommuniLux Productions, Nussli US and Seating Solutions into a one stop shop for most of what is needed to serve the end markets that we serve – business, entertainment, golf and all other sports, âCampanelli said in a September 2021 article on rental management. âWe renamed our old companies – many of which date back 40 years – to InProduction in 2017.â
This area was a space that Campanelli had previously considered, âbut I felt the seating and the staging – those components are more enduring and more important assets. As with Classic, I enjoyed bringing the big tents and structures – bigger living assets. I thought there was a good opportunity to consolidate and take advantage of the trend, which was more hospitality and premium seating. The entire hospitality industry – from simple wooden bleachers to the premium reception seating offered in the entertainment industry – got me thinking of the app to concerts and outdoor events. Looking at Woodstock, this was the first outdoor event. Looking at the trends on how to create temporary infrastructure for spectators to enhance their experience, I thought there was an opportunity in this particular business, âCampanelli said.
Bringing all of these assets together has been a boon for the company, especially during the worst of the pandemic.
âThe strategic acquisition of the assets that we have made to better serve all markets including golf, other sports, business and entertainment, and the addition of structures and modular stadium concept, I think , is what has allowed us to continue to operate the business profitably. during the pandemic. We had diversified the business and manufactured additional products and services and were able to serve a multitude of markets. These strengths that we added have played very well in the outdoor arena. Think about today’s events and the tendency to move more events outside. We were in a good position to take advantage of it, âsays Campanelli.
Being such a figure in the event rental industry has allowed Campanelli to see the industry evolve, change and even shape its existence. This point of view made him very optimistic about the future of this team.
Of the industry.
âYou go from Woodstock to what you have today. The outdoor concert thing was just beginning. You see the trends. We had a hard hit in 2009 and then over the last couple of years, but this industry has seen constant growth and expansion, âCampanelli said.
âIt was marked by increasing attendance, participation, constant growth and premium venues, seats and premium experiences. People will continue to find ways to improve these experiences. It will continue to grow. Besides the entertainment, the wedding market, etc., well, these are life events, the fabric of the community. For the most part, these are exciting and fun events. Yes, every 10 years or so the industry does experience a slight downturn, but it is coming back stronger than ever. It is a very strong period for events. What we’re seeing for this year – overall, social, entertainment, and sports – is coming back in full force. The business market is still a little weaker, but it will come back too, âhe said.
Despite all the success he has had over the years, Campanelli admits that what he will miss most of his time in the industry are people. âWhen I left, these were the people and the clients I worked with. This is what I will miss the most, âhe says.
But as he retires to Florida to perfect his golf game, he won’t be leaving the events world entirely. âI’ll be staying on multiple boards – basically the boards of event rental companies,â he says.