Member Spotlight

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David E. Merrell

AOO Events


Lounging by the pool or on beach?
Living in Southern California, the novelty of the beach wears off pretty fast. . . I mean, beyond always being challenged trying to find parking and then never being able to go into the ocean because it is frigid cold, nothing beats a civilized place to lay out that also offers nice bathrooms, bars and all the modern conveniences without sand in the crack of you’re a*#!  Pool every time!.

Must have clothing or accessory item while working an event?  
A long sleeve shirt or sweater. . . it’s always warm outside and freezing in the ballrooms with the AC!.

If you had one superhero power what would it be?  Reading minds.  Is that a superhero power? It sure would make things a lot easier than the guessing games we have to play with our clients!

Best advice for someone starting out in the events/hospitality event? It is an expression: “Be careful the toes you step on today, may by connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow.”  My mother always said, treat people the way you want to be treated.  You can get a whole bunch of people on your side if you do and create enemies if you don’t.  And this industry is small enough, that you will always come back around to folks you have worked with before.

Favorite cocktail?  Anything with Tequila in it!

Must visit venue/landmark for out-of-towners?  
If you have never seen anything in Southern California/Los Angeles, you have to see Hollywood Boulevard and Venice Beach. . .  unique energies to SoCal.  But, after you have seen it once, you don’t need to do it again.

Salty or Sweet?  Both, mixed together!

Spirit animal?  Lion.

If you could be one age forever, what age would you chose and why?  Whatever age I am now. . .  I keep thinking this is the best it is ever going to get. . .and then it just gets better.  Physically however, it would be nice to be 35 forever. . . it sucks health-wise getting older.   LOTS of maintenance.

Dream client/event?  I’ve had lots of both. 


What's one skill anyone in the industry should have?  Patience.  And the ability to look ahead for every decision you make, there is always a ripple effect to consider.

Fun fact no one would guess about you?  In the 80’s and early 90’s, I was a very well known aerobics instructor. . . did it at at the same time I started my business.

What is your greatest achievement - personal or business?  The fact that I am now in business over 30 years (officially 2 months ago), and still on an upward trajectory.


What are you going to do when you retire?  In the next 8 years, I will start to back of and power down.  At the same time, I am empowering my staff to take ownership and take over..