On Assets And Liabilities

By Philip Richardson
Wednesday - July 08, 2009
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By Philip Richardson
President of Current Affairs

People often ask what was the source of inspiration for establishing Hawaii’s premier event planning and production company. My answer is easy. It came from a book by Tom Peters called In Search of Excellence, and more specifically an underlying message within it: “Take inventory of your assets and liabilities.”

This is exactly what I did when I quit my restaurant job, without another job to go to, more than 25 years ago. I took a self-evaluation: my likes and dislikes, abilities and disabilities, along with minimal cash reserves, no income stream and no job - these all made up my assets and liabilities. At least I did have the asset of knowing I liked working special events and I loved making each day different. So with the help of a mentor (asset), we wrote a business plan for my visionary event-planning business.

Our first major event was on the Big Island. This event was so successful that I received a call from CBS in New York to return to the Big Island and produce its event in three weeks’ time. Twenty-five years later, Current Affairs has earned a reputation for coordinating and producing extraordinary events, whether for 10 or 10,000 guests.

In 1994 we acquired a kitchen from which we could produce our own food. But this soon became a liability, as we found ourselves spending more time managing a restaurant than planning events. So we reevaluated and ceased the kitchen’s operations to focus on our goal: producing the entire event experience. Firstly we partnered with Chef David Paul, and soon afterwards we earned the trust of dynamic chefs such as Roy Yamaguchi, Alan Wong and Chef Mavro, with whom we continue to work with to this day.

Current Affairs staff (from left) Philip Richardson, Mary Ann Yeh, Kaleo Vegas, Bill Kernstock and Jaymes Barlos

These culinary partnerships are major assets, and combined with our entertainment network, our design creativity as well as our overall responsiveness and dependability, we have earned our clients’trust and built strong relationships, further adding to our growth. Not only do they still call on us when they need an event put together, but they also refer us to others who have the same high expectations. Talk about assets!

In the beginning, the company was called International Catering Concepts, which was right for the time, as event planning was not yet really a recognized business track. But by 1997, after successfully producing great events that touched all five senses, we took inventory yet again and recognized it was time to implement our next growth phase. Our new name, Current Affairs, reflected our projected growth and helped to broaden clients’ perspectives on our scope of service offerings.

Today, we continue to reassess, and we now count four companies among our assets: Current Affairs; Spandex USAHawaii, event linens; EventAccents, a virtual warehouse of props for film, wedding and event businesses, and HawaiiSpeakers.Net, a bureau featuring the best speakers in Hawaii.

Good management requires focus on one’s mission, re-evaluation of one’s assets and liabilities, and preparedness for the exciting growth ahead.

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