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2024 BizBash 40 Under 40: Wes Peskin

Wes Peskin, 38, is founder and executive producer of NINE21 Productions.

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Wes Peskin, 38, is founder and executive producer of NINE21 Productions. He's based in Philadelphia. A quote from his nomination: "Not just a wiz with on-site production, Wes excels at developing the creative strategy behind events and helping to make the important bridge between strategy and execution. A natural-born leader, Wes thrives at bringing together teams across departments and has developed best practices for ultimate success."

My career journey: "My passion for events began during a PR internship in college where I organized a multiday visit for an NCAA championship team to Washington, D.C., including their ceremonial visit to the White House. After that experience, I spent the remainder of my college career working with a local DMC through graduation. This is where I truly learned where creativity and operations collide in events. 

Graduating college in the mid-2000s meant navigating a challenging job market in the event industry. I spent my time seeking out any industry-related position to gain those imperative first few years of professional experience. I landed my first job in events right after graduation with Starwood Hotels in Baltimore as a catering and group sales manager. 

After a few years there and a move to New York City, I found myself working for a nonprofit, managing a portfolio of approximately 75 regional and national events each year ranging from 100 to 6,000 attendees. I oversaw the development of schedules, operations plans, and contracting, and oversaw event logistics for each event. This experience, influenced by the many vendor collaborations I had there, fed my desire to learn more and find a professional opportunity in production management. This ultimately led me back to the mid-Atlantic, where I joined a local creative and events agency. This was whereI found my calling! I led and produced global events for prominent brands, including Apple, Indeed, MSC Cruises, and more."'Every client call we have is grounded in fun, innovative, and creative collaborations that lead to brand experiences that are sustainable, unique, and engaging,' Peskin says of NINE21 Productions' work culture."Every client call we have is grounded in fun, innovative, and creative collaborations that lead to brand experiences that are sustainable, unique, and engaging," Peskin says of NINE21 Productions' work culture.Photo: Ian Wagreich

My greatest career accomplishment: "NINE21 Productions. Building my own events company was never in the plans; I had no aspirations to be an entrepreneur, but as they say, 'Things happen for a reason.' I feel a great sense of accomplishment for breaking down the barriers the team and I have thus far—and look forward to possibilities that are to come. 

Every day I get to go to 'work' (it's cliche, but it doesn't really feel like work when you love what you do) with some of the most inspired and inspiring creative and production minds in our business who like to do great work and have fun while we do it. And we have grown a foundation of a client roster that loves to work that way as well."

The advice I would give my younger self: "Take advantage of every opportunity that gets thrown at you. No event is too small to start on, and every experience is a learning experience. That, and always have a contingency plan or rain plan in place for an outdoor event. 

The first event I was ever responsible for—a car show fundraiser during college—was, by all accounts, almost a complete flop. It wasn't a total fail; we still raised some money for a good cause. But, simply put, I learned so many important industry lessons that day, including the importance of contingency plans and rain dates. Also, get into the habit of jotting down ideas when they come to you. You never know when inspiration will strike for an idea that will benefit a future project."Peskin says he's a 'servant' leader. 'I believe the most successful executive producer is the one that is knowledgeable, compassionate, and supportive,' he explains.Peskin says he's a "servant" leader. "I believe the most successful executive producer is the one that is knowledgeable, compassionate, and supportive," he explains.Photo: Courtesy of Wes Peskin

What inspires me: "Personally, it's my family. My wife and kids are the reason I work as hard as I do. While I work hard, time spent with them is my greatest priority. It’s probably easy to understand why, but if not, my daughter just got her first camera—and if you've never seen the wonder of watching a three-year-old see the world through a literal new lens for the first time, that’s inspiring. And, of course, I don’t want to miss these special moments. 

Professionally, I find inspiration heavily in nature, the uniqueness of organic lines, and natural shapes. I also believe that the future of our industry ties heavily into being sustainable and innovating. The evolution of events will require a keen attention to what products and materials we use, and the ability to reuse or repurpose custom elements, finding innovative ways to reduce waste. I’m also continually inspired by the creative and production teams I work with each day. They’re the reason going to work doesn’t get mundane and is always fun!"

My ideal day OOO: "Summer days on the beach and winters on the slopes."


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