David Adler (@DavidAdler) is C.E.O. and founder of BizBash.
Before the concepts of “gamification” and engagement, there was Stan Levy. He ran a company called Unirec, which, according to his LinkedIn profile, means “unique recreation.” His intuitive knowledge of how to create a collaborative environment was uncanny and should be studied by all of us, especially an industry full of people that view themselves as programmers of human interaction.
I sadly heard this week that he had passed away after struggling with a long-term disease. The first time I met Stan, it was by chance; we sat together on a plane going to my first event industry trade show in Atlanta in 2000. We talked the whole way down about events and his perspective on how we should approach making a mark in the industry. His advice was very human and very practical, and included things like getting people to interact more—similar to making girls and boys talk to each other at a junior high school dance.
That trip was the ultimate bonding experience, and every time I met Stan over the next 14 years he put a smile on my face because of his exuberant personality and his welcoming charm.
I just saw him this past November at our BizBash trade show in New York, and he was so excited for me to meet his grandchild who was coming to the show. Despite his failing health, he was still as exuberant as ever—not only about the industry that he loved and the family that he adored, but also about every person that came in his path.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because in the last few years I have become very friendly with his son, David Levy, who is the ultimate “connector” and expert in the technology and product innovation community. We still meet regularly for a morning breakfast at some dive coffee shop to discuss the state of the world. What David doesn’t realize is that my mind always flashes to that first trip to Atlanta with his dad. It is part of the continuing thread that runs in all our relationships.
One of the greatest things about our industry—the hospitality industry, the event industry, the meeting industry—is that we meet amazing people and get to know not only them, but also their immediate families and their entire extended work families.
Stan was one of those people who made me realize how much I enjoyed the people in this industry and the fact that through the power of collaboration, we can make the world a better place.
The funeral is being held today at Bernheim-Apter-Kreitzman Suburban Funeral Chapel in Livingston, New Jersey.