There is a lot going into preparing for the Republican National Convention here in Cleveland next summer, and there are several organizations involved in making sure it runs smoothly.
Last issue, we talked about the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee -- the non-political organization in charge of raising the money needed to host the Convention and promoting our city to the 50,000 visitors (including 15,000 media) who will be here in July. Now, we'd like to introduce you to the Committee on Arrangements, a separate organization that is part of the Republican National Committee (RNC) whose purpose is to plan and execute the Convention itself.
Who is the Committee on Arrangements?
The Committee on Arrangements (COA) is an RNC organization with a leadership appointed by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and a staff of about 25 people currently employed. By Convention time, the number of staff members is expected to be about 120.
"We have a lot of ramp up that will take place over the next months as we hire individuals," says Sara Armstrong, Vice President for the Committee on Arrangements. "The majority of the staff will be housed here in Cleveland full time through the duration. They are moving in, living and working here in Cleveland."
What's the difference between Committee on Arrangements Leadership and Staff? The Committee on Arrangements leadership is made up of members of the RNC, with at least one member from each state, led by Chairman Steve King and Co-chairman Jo Ann Davidson. The leadership helps to set the direction and what the attendees are going to see here in Cleveland. They oversee the initiatives to make sure the staff executes the best Convention possible.
The staff works closely with the City of Cleveland and the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee to plan everything surrounding the Convention. They handle day-to-day operations, and work with the media and the state delegations to plan their visits. CEO Jeff Larson and Vice President Armstrong head up the staff, and are continuing to hire; interested individuals can apply for staff positions on the COA’s website.
What does the Committee on Arrangements do?
In short, they make the Convention happen.
The COA plans the event programming, the build out of Quicken Loans Arena to house all of the attendees, the build out of the Convention Center where the media will be housed, works with the delegates and media to make sure lodging and transportation are taken care of, and much more.
"The Committee on Arrangements actually does the production of everything required logistics-wise," says Armstrong. "We are truly the logistics organizers of the event and producing all of the details of what individuals will see on TV, but also the experience for the delegations who come into town."
It's no small task to secure all of the labor needed to pull off something the size of the Republican National Convention, and Armstrong is quick to point out that the Committee on Arrangements is looking for local vendors to help with the many tasks leading up to (and during) the Convention.
Want to be one of those businesses? Register your organization on the Host Committee's supplier guide to get your name out there for consideration.
"We do utilize the local businesses -- we use local businesses for printing, and we used a local business to produce our logo," Armstrong says. "As we continue down the path more and more, we'll be able to use the local businesses as long as they're able to register on the site and we have a need that matches the vendors that have signed up on the site."
Armstrong says the Committee on Arrangements is working closely with the City of Cleveland in an effort to involve the community and the businesses that are here locally that can be supported.
Armstrong says that part of the decision to come to Cleveland in 2016 was made because of the impressive show of support and coordination from the community. She says everyone has been extremely helpful to the Committee on Arrangements and making sure they're getting what they need to put on a world-class event in Cleveland.
But also, she says, Cleveland is a just all-around a great city.
"Clevelanders should be excited that their city is going to be showcased on the world stage in July. People around the world will watch this event, and they’re going to get to know not only the Republican nominee through this process, which is our main focus, but they’ll also get to learn a lot more about Cleveland," she says. "Our hope is that when we leave Cleveland next July, we’ve impressed upon so many people across the country and around the world that Cleveland is a great place to live and work, a great place to bring business, and a great place to bring conventions. It’s a fun city with a lot of interesting culture and food, and great restaurants and great sports and great activities, and it’s a destination for so many different purposes that we want to showcase while we’re here in town."
As a community, let's welcome the Committee on Arrangements and all of the visitors for the Republican National Convention with the Midwest hospitality that we're known for.