David Doxtater and Caitlyn Williams of The Workshop share what it's like to help create Seattle's most magical, memorable events.
Q: Who are you? Introduce yourself as you would at a dinner party.
D: I'm David Doxtater and I live on Bainbridge Island. I grew up in Flint, Michigan and I have lived here in the Northwest for many years. I'm practically a native now.
C: My name is Caitlyn Williams, I'm from Kent, Washington, and I enjoy a good dinner party- that means a great host, great food and great cocktails.
Q: What is your background? How does it differ from what you are doing now?
D: Seventeen years ago, I founded an event company called The Workshop, and we develop events to make things happen. I've produced events my entire professional life; I love what I do and have a love for the power in community celebrations. When I started, this love landed me as one of the original Bumbershoot Arts Festival planners, and an original One Reel Vaudeville Show producer. Today, I basically do the same event community building that I began 30 years ago.
C: My background isn't in events like Dox's, mine is in Marketing and Public Relations. I utilize these skills on a regular basis while marketing The Workshop and other outside events. When I'm project managing an event, it's important to stay organized, have a plan, and communicate effectively, three things that you must also do in the marketing and PR world.
Q: What are you working on right now?
C: We have a very fun gala coming up for Islandwood, an environmental education nonprofit located on Bainbridge Island. Our work on this project is non-traditional in a few ways, and it's an absolutely beautiful event that alternates locations every other year from the city to the island. This year the event will be in the city and features a built environment that brings the outdoors inside with amazing native plant displays. Most importantly it captures the essence of Islandwood, communicating their message and mission to donors. Last year they surpassed their fundraising goal and we plan to help them do the same this year!
D: In addition to the Islandwood fundraising event called "Dinner in the Woods", we are also prepping for several big projects coming up this year, including a Sound Transit extensioin project; an EMP Museum project; work with the University of Washington and several US Open golf events; consulting with an architectural team to develop a new park in the City of Redmond; the nonprofit Light the Night fundraising walk; and we're also preparing for a fan-experience event at each UW home football game; plus the coming Space Needle Fireworks show; and several projects with the Downtown Seattle Association.
Q: Why did you join Impact Hub?
D: It's a great thinking environment for us and helps keep me young. There's tons of entrepreneurial energy here at Impact Hub and this surrounding helps drive the innovation and creativity neccessary for our design method. As designers, we really thrive working in an energetic thinking environment and love the open space concept, and the flexibility that the space offers. I had a large office and staff for many years, but find the simpler lifestyle and lower overhead to be a boost to my company.
C: I agree with Dox, there's a really great innovative energy at the Hub that helps us on our creative work. It's also a fantastic meeting spot for us and the flexibility is exactly what we need.
Q: How do you make money?
D: We design live experiences for private and public clientele that help energize relationships that make business grow.
C: We do that by designing events that are strategically sound- that advance our client's message and help them grow their businesses. Not to mention our events are a lot of fun! We make magic happen for our clients and their guests.
Q: What is something that really excites you right now (a trend, life development, time of year, food, etc.)?
D: I'm excited by the deconstruction of large spectacle celebrations into smaller and more natural community owned gatherings that focus around the members of the community, rather than solely on bottom-line profit. Things like Burning Man, Doe Bay Music Festival, Timber Music Festival, WOMAD, etc.
C: Right now I get really excited by the stories about peoplewho push themselves incredibly far mentally, proving that physically we are capable of so much more than we think we are. I'm specifically in awe of ultra-runners. These people and stories are inspiring me to constantly be pushing harder and farther than I think I can go.
Q: Where do you usually hang out when you are at Impact Hub? How often are you here?
C: I usually prefer the Triangle or the common space back in the extension. These spaces seem more conversation-friendly when we need to have informal meetings with one another.
D: I like the Triangle and the common space in the extension. I spend about half my time in meetings around town and the rest of the time split between my home office and Impact Hub.
Q: What is something we don’t know? (Either about you, or something else)
C: The event industry is still very new to me, and making the decision to jump in head-first has been the best personal choice that I've made in the last year. There has been a lot of opportunity for me to learn and grow in a fast and furious environment.
D: The scariest event I've worked on is the WTO Seattle Ministerial; the saddest was producing the 9.11 memorial for the City of Seattle in 2001; the most fun was working on the Seahawks Super Bowl parade last year; the most artistic was developing Bumbershoot Arts Festival; the most patriotic was creating the Medal of Honor Ceremony for the Medal of Honor Society and the University of Washington; the highest profile was probably producing the All-Star Game Ceremonies for Major League Baseball; the loudest was developing the 4th of July Fireworks Show on Lake Union; and the craziest was developing WOMAD USA for Peter Gabriel.
Q: Give us your top three Seattle gems!
C: In ascending order: Rat City Roller Girls, Hugo House, and Chili's South Indian Cuisine.
D: The Washington State Ferry system, the preservation of Pike Place Market, and summers in Seattle.