Smart City Spotlight: JQuandrei Ellis – Event Coordinator

Smart City Networks’ JQuandrei Ellis is the Event Coordinator at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento. In his short time with our company, he has seen a lot of change and transition, but he’s shown resilience to adversity, and his commitment has been a true inspiration! We sat down with him to talk about his Smart City journey. JQuandrei, this is your spotlight!

Hi JQuandrei! So just to start, what’s your background? Have you always been geared toward Event Coordination?

J: I was born & raised in Los Angeles, California. I’m the youngest of 3 with twin older sisters. As an athlete/sports fan and music lover my whole life, those were the two spaces in which I initially got into the events industry. I’ve played a part in putting together dozens of concerts and more sporting events than I can count.

What first drew you to Smart City?

J: The initial draw for me was being part of a 3-venue city which meant a wide variety of groups we get to work with. I love that the convention business brings in so many new people from across the world.

What does your job entail? How would you describe your day-to-day activities?

J: My job entails working with show management for each event to ensure that their internet needs are met. That includes going on site tours with the city convention center staff as well as our tourism arm Visit Sacramento, creating initial quotes, ensuring receipt of all necessary materials ahead of move-in, and handling invoicing for services. I also attend pre-con meetings, when clients request them, as the representative for the company. I meet weekly with the team of event managers to update them on orders for upcoming events and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Do you have a favorite part of your job?

J: I would say site tours are my personal favorite part of the job. Getting to be the first person to meet prospective or contracted clients and getting them familiar with our services, as well as the quality of customer service they can expect, is always fun. Email and phone communication is an important part of the job, but being able to meet people face to face and engage in conversation is the key to building relationships.

I know you’ve only been here for a little over a year, and in that short time, there’s been a lot of shake-ups at your location. What’s that been like and how have you managed to keep your head above water?

J: It’s been a bit of a whirlwind in 2024. The biggest keys for me have been setting plenty of reminders in Outlook to stay organized and writing down the details of all phone and face-to-face conversations I have. It’s nice to have that backup reference just in case it’s needed.

How would you describe your team culture in Sacramento?

J: I love the team culture here in Sacramento. Everyone is willing to help without hesitation and take on new roles. My team here has been immensely helpful. Our technician Esteban was recently named employee of the month and deservedly so, he also carries a ton of weight.

What do you like most about your convention center and about Smart City?

J: I love how naturally lit the recently renovated portion (including the office spaces) of our building is. My favorite thing about Smart City is how helpful everyone within the company is. Anytime I’ve reached out to someone at a different location about a client or on our corporate team with an inquiry, I get a prompt and warm response. People here genuinely want to help you succeed.

Have you had a favorite event so far?

J: Last year, we had an electric vehicle symposium that was my favorite so far. Car companies from across the world took over our exhibit hall to display their new and upcoming tech, as well as concept cars that have yet to be approved for production. It was cool to see that luxury was not sacrificed even when being environmentally friendly.

Have there been any instances you can think of where you have used one of our 10 Business Principles in the Workplace?

J: Principle 8 – Customers Define Quality is one I have often used. There are conferences where customers’ needs change at a moment’s notice and it’s on us to make quick decisions to ensure they are getting the quality of services necessary to make their event a success. Constant check-ins have helped customers have a great experience at our center as needs evolved in the moment.

What advice would you give to new hires who are starting with Smart City?

J: Ask a ton of questions early and throw yourself into the fire when it comes to learning. You can watch others all day, but until you’re able to apply the skills that have been taught, it’s harder to build up the confidence to do it on your own.

To wrap things up, what is something fun that people don’t know about you?

J: Even though most people think I’m quiet upon meeting me, I had a successful run in broadcasting and as a DJ prior to my time here with Smart City.

Thank you to JQuandrei Ellis for the interview! For more Smart City Spotlights, check out our blog!

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