Jim Hooker, Executive Director of Academic Events

APEX, N.C. (Feb. 22, 2024) – The Special Event Company, a leading global agency specializing in experiential live events and strategic communications based in North Carolina, is set to elevate its renowned academic event division with the appointment of distinguished producer Jim Hooker as the Executive Director of Academic Events.

With a rich event background spanning 27 years at The Walt Disney Company, Merv Griffin Productions, and as Associate Sr. VP for Cultural Relations and Events for the University of Southern California and Executive Director of Events at The University of Texas at Austin, Hooker is poised to lead the expansion of the company’s 25-year legacy in delivering exceptional domestic and international academic programs.

In addition to his role as Executive Director, Hooker will assume the position of Chair at the forefront of AEP, the premier academic event planners conference that serves as an annual gathering for campus planners from across the United States. The announcement of this key role was made during the highly successful sold-out conference held recently in Austin, TX.

Drawing from his extensive experience, Hooker garnered multiple awards as an independent producer, notably for his work on strategic initiatives, including the closing celebration of The Campaign for Boston University, Break Through – The Caltech Campaign, the “Bright Past. Brilliant Future.” 50th Anniversary for UC Irvine, and the kick-off of the Leading With Purpose: The Campaign for University of the Pacific.

Matt Franks, CEO of The Special Event Company, expressed enthusiasm about the newest addition to the team, stating, “We welcome Jim to our growing company. His expertise and vision will play a crucial role in shaping the strategic direction of this division, ensuring the delivery of exceptional and impactful experiences for our academic clients.”

Jim Hooker shared his excitement about the role, stating, “I am honored to lead the academic division and thrilled about the opportunity to leverage my experience in creating impactful academic events. With the vast creative resources of our new parent company, DRPG, we are well-equipped to expand our service offerings and provide institutions with the strategic and messaging support they need to achieve their goals.”

This significant appointment follows closely on the heels of The Special Event Company’s recent acquisition by the globally acclaimed communications agency DRPG, boasting a team of over 400 creatives poised to enhance support for academic programs.

Jim Hooker welcomes the AEP (Academic Event Planner) Conference attendees on February 11, 2024 in Austin, Texas

About The Special Event Company:

For over 35 years, The Special Event Company has been a leading force in the event planning and communications industry, renowned for its innovative approach and 40+ international awards. Acquired by communications group DRPG in January 2024, the company is now powered by a global team of 400 creatives. From its North American headquarters in Apex, N.C., the company executes global events and communications, with turnkey services for strategic design and delivery of live and virtual events. For more information, visit http://www.specialeventco.com.

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