Tomball Marketing Director Mike Baxter poses with Tomball’s first place marketing awards at the Texas Fairs and Events Association conference in Austin.
By Karina Brisack
The Texas Festivals and Events Association (TFEA), a Waco-based organization devoted to furthering the efforts of professionals in the events and festivals industry, awarded the City of Tomball with 11 first place awards at its annual conference in Austin as well as four second place awards.
The city has been participating in the TFEA competition for only three years now but has already amassed an impressive total of 33 first, second and third place awards. The plaques that have been won in previous years are displayed on a wall in the marketing division of Tomball City Hall.
“It’s getting to look pretty interesting,” said Tomball Marketing Director Mike Baxter with a laugh.
It was Baxter who first got the city involved with the TFEA in 2012. He was a member of the organization’s board of directors at the time, but has since left that position to more fully dedicate himself to public service. If the many awards that have been given to the city under his marketing direction are any indication, the decision seems to have paid off nicely.
15 of the city’s 17 applications this year were rewarded with first or second place awards. The honors range from Best Community Out-reach Program (which was won by Tomball’s 2014 Fourth of July celebration) to Best Event T-Shirt (the award which went to Tom-ball’s Bunny Run 2014 t-shirt design).
Tomball’s award applications were pitted against over 450 others from cities and other organizations around the state this year. The number of applications this year was larger than any the TFEA had ever handled before. To have succeeded against such tough odds, says Baxter, makes the city’s awards all the more impressive.
Tomball was also represented at the conference by Baxter in a panel discussion featuring himself and two other event and marketing professionals (Gail Holl of Grapevine, TX and Geoff Fairchild of the Texas Wildflower Festival) speaking on the subject of event sponsorship.
The panel was one of the TFEA’s professional education opportunities at the conference, which included options such as public safety seminars alongside classes that count toward the completion of professional certifications.
“People were there who were working (toward) their Certified Festivals and Events Executive Certification,” said Baxter. “I only have one more element to get mine. I’ve been working on it for six years.”
The conference also gave Baxter the opportunity to reach out to other organizations and spread city influence across Texas. The Tomball marketing department will mentor similar divisions in the Cedar Hills city government and the East Montgomery Chamber of Commerce in the days to come.