Finalists Named for South Florida Readers’ Choice Awards

March 19, 2013, 7:00 AM EDT

BizBash has announced the event and meeting professionals who have been named as finalists in our South Florida Readers’ Choice Awards. This group of nominees across 12 categories—including Fund-Raising Event Planner of the Year, Entertainment Act of the Year, Corporate Event Planner of the Year, Event Designer of the Year, and Venue Manager of the Year—was endorsed by industry peers in a call for nominations that recognize individual contributions to the South Florida event and meeting industry.

Voting closes on Sunday, April 7, and the winners will be announced at the BizBash IdeaFest South Florida at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center on Wednesday, April 10. To cast your vote, visit For tickets to BizBash IdeaFest, visit

And the finalists are:

Association Planner of the Year
Eric Combast, International Game Fish Association
Jeff Gold, M.P.I. South Florida
Suzanne Neve, Florida Festivals and Events Association
Kimberly Wander, Tampa Bay Technology Forum

Caterer of the Year (In-House)
Nicole Briggs, T Pepin Hospitality Center
Steve Jayson, Universal Parks and Resorts
Eddie Maddox, The Peabody Orlando
Peter Vauthy, Red, The Steakhouse

Caterer of the Year (Off-Premise)
Brian Aaron, Aaron’s Catering
Karen Bassham, Mai Oui Gourmet
Peter Key, Thierry’s Catering
Gary Lampner, Eggwhites Special Event Catering
David Schwadron, Chef David Schwadron

Corporate Event Planner of the Year
Valerie Bihet, The Vibe Agency
Alba Carreras Vazquez, University of Miami
Victoria DeSilvio, Forté Events Inc.
Sarah Penhallegon, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Alyssa Ramos, Que Belle Events L.L.C.

DJ of the Year
Richard Martinez (DJ Madison Taylor), Luxury DJs
Charles Miles (MilesDJ), MilesDJ Productions, Mix On Wheels
Carl Williams (DJ Carl), L.L.C.

Entertainment Act of the Year
Circ X
Drum Cafe
Salvador Live!
Sons of Mystro

Event Designer of the Year
Amanda Allen, MMD Events
Karla Dascal, Karla Conceptual Event Experiences
Sean De Freitas, Designs by Sean
Jose Graterol, Jose Graterol Designs
Angie Nelson, Koncept Events

Event Producer of the Year
Matt Allen, MMD Events
Gladys Mezrahi, Indigo Events
Bruno Miranda, Evoga Event Productions
Katherine Phillips-Chaplin, Coconut Grove Arts Festival
Marly Quincoces, StarMar Events
Nick Toutoungi, Twilight Features Inc.
Monica Varner, Elan Event Studio
Keith Watson, Keith Watson Events

Fund-Raising Event Planner of the Year
Zachary Allen, Martin Health Foundation
Laurie Hoffman, Humane Society
Ethel Lipoff, Museum of Discovery & Science
Scott Tracy, Best Buddies

PR Professional of the Year
Michelle Bergstein-Fontanez, Beat Creative
JennyLee Molina, JLPR
Durée Ross, Durée & Company Inc.
Nancy Vaughn, White Book Agency

Social Event Planner of the Year
Erica Berman, Jane Layne Events
Susan Jaffe, Pieces of Dreams
Jamie Lipman, The Absolute Event
Anna Noriega, Alorè Event Firm
Paula Wyatt, PoshAble Events

Venue Manager of the Year
Courtney Armen, Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
Dave Gold, Hard Rock Casino Live
Alan Villaverde, The Peabody Orlando

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