The Charlotte Destination Group (CDG), which was awarded contracts for transportation staffing and a delegate welcome event for the Democratic National Convention (DNC), hired more than 230 mostly unemployed local residents and hosted a delegate welcome event with a focus on sustainability.
Tasked with staffing the airport, the Charlotte Convention Center, delegate hotels, The Music Factory, motor coach staging areas and convention venues for seven days during the DNC activities, The Charlotte Destination Group took a community relations approach to hiring. By targeting the unemployed, underemployed, minorities and church groups that give back to the community, CDG provided temporary jobs to many in the Charlotte community who needed it most.
CDG specifically partnered with Goodwill Industries of Charlotte, Charlotte Works, Jacob’s Ladder and the United House of Prayer. Those hired from those organizations made up 38 percent of the transportation staffing workforce with most positions paying more than two times the state minimum wage. Many hired who are not connected to these groups were also unemployed. CDG also reached out to Charlotte minority organizations making them aware of available positions. Nearly 68 percent of those hired were African American, Hispanic or Asian.
“We looked at the DNC as an opportunity to really make a difference within our community,” said Kymberly Brantigan, president of The Charlotte Destination Group. “When we first visited with groups such as Goodwill, Charlotte Works and Jacob’s Ladder, we were amazed when we truly understood what they do for those in search of work to support themselves and their families.
“We thought that the experience of the convention was going to be what we would remember most. But when all was said and done, it was working with and getting to know these amazing people who came out, worked on their feet for very long hours in the extreme heat and torrential downpours nearly every day that made the event so rewarding for our staff. They were very hard workers who were so happy to be there and, being on the frontlines with the delegates throughout the week, they represented our great city extremely well.”
Additionally, of the 12 delegate welcome events that took place on Sunday, September 2, The Charlotte Destination Group hosted delegates from Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin at the Carolina Raptor Center.
The focus was on sustainability and the beauty of the venue, with a Native American theme telling the story of the Catawba Indian Nation and even the Cherokee influence on the region. The Harvest Moon Grille food truck provided all organic food that was sourced within 100 miles of Charlotte while serving all local beer and wine.
All signage and the popular backlit eagle display were created by locally owned FABRIX which prints on fabric made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles. CDG was responsible for keeping 2,771 plastic bottles out of landfills with this one event.
CDG’s total woman and minority-owned business and individual service provider spending for the delegate welcome event was 60 percent -- far exceeding the goal set by DNC host committee to achieve no less than a 33 percent diversity spend.
“When the ‘Charlotte in 2012’ website posted the request for proposal for the 12 delegate events, we quickly realized the Carolina Raptor Center venue was a great fit for The Charlotte Destination Group,” said Brantigan. “We always look for sustainable solutions in all that we do to leave the smallest possible environmental footprint. And our long-held belief that there is strength in diversity being the reason why we have always embraced minorities and minority-owned businesses gelled perfectly with the host committee’s concentrated effort to provide opportunities for minority businesses.”
Delegates were treated to entertainment by an oral historian and legend keeper of the Tuscarora Nation of North Carolina, the Cane Creek Cloggers, the Lemonds Family Band and a live owl flight show presented by the Carolina Raptor Center. Guests also danced and interacted with a southern pow wow drum group representing the Lumbee, Tuscarora and Cherokee of North Carolina, and the Catawba Indian Nation of South Carolina.
The Charlotte Destination Group is a full-service meeting, event and destination management company specializing in corporate and convention meetings and events, and transportation management. As a division of Performance PR Plus Inc. – the biggest corporate entertainment agency at NASCAR race events over the last two decades currently celebrating 20 years of managing four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon’s public relations on behalf of DuPont – CDG also specializes in sponsor and venue promotion activation, events and hospitality.