By Nina Polien Light
“After graduation I worked in a hospital and ended up missing the events world,” Schwieterman, a native of Geneva (Ashtabula County), says of the facility management and customer service work she did at the hospital. “Once you work in events, it kind of gets into your blood. So, I ended up coming back to Northeast Ohio, and (that’s when) Noah’s was being built.”
For the past two years, Schwieterman (pronounced SWEET-er-man) has acted as event director at Noah’s Event Venue in Mentor, one of 37 locations of a Utah-based company that was founded in 2003, opened its first location in 2007, and has grown to become the country’s largest event venue, hosting 10,000 events annually. As of mid-November, the local facility had hosted 93 business events and 68 special occasions, with more on the books. In her role she oversees a five-person staff as well as sales, customer service, and facility management.
Noah’s hosts a variety of events, ranging from the social — such as baby or bridal showers, weddings, and retirement parties — to the corporate — such as conferences, training sessions, and meetings. Locally, about 40 percent of Noah’s business comes from corporate clients, such as Avery Dennison, Progressive Insurance, and Hondros College of Business.
“With business events, our rooms are flexible so that gives clients the ability to create whatever they’re looking for,” Schwieterman says. “We can change easily from one set-up to another.”
The facility offers four meeting spaces. The largest room holds up to 300 people, while a smaller conference room accommodates up to 70 attendees informally or 50 people seated classroom-style. A boardroom is appointed with a large table surrounded by 14 chairs, and a smaller room has capacity for eight to 10 people.
Schwieterman says the venue is ideal for business gatherings because linens, tables, chairs, state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, setup, and takedown are included in the rental fee. The open-vendor catering policy allows clients to bring in whatever food and beverage fits their budget or agenda. That means companies who have a longstanding relationship with a specific caterer — or who wish to hire a customer with whom they conduct other business — have the flexibility to do so.
“We also have that nationwide backing, which is very nice for larger corporations,” Schwieterman says. “If they use the Noah’s in Mentor and then have a business meeting at a Noah’s in Texas, they know they can expect the same excellent service and state-of-the-art facility there.”
Schwieterman’s background in business and marketing and her involvement with business networking groups puts her at ease when dealing with corporate clients. She is a member of Cleveland’s chapter of the International Live Events Association and the Mentor Chamber of Commerce, an organization she holds in high regard.
“(As) part of a national company, I get to travel to different locations and be part of their ribbon cuttings and grand openings,” she says. “The Mentor chamber has been extremely supportive in comparison to chambers in other places I have seen.”
In addition to the counsel she receives from her professional affiliations, Schwieterman turns to a network of mentors within Noah’s Event Venue. At times, other event directors call on her with questions about how to handle different situations.
“Every region is different as to what we go through in sales, management, and customer service, but we also have a common background,” she says. “It’s nice to have people to bounce ideas off of.”
Much of Noah’s management team is comprised of women, who Schwieterman says are hired for their competence and expertise rather than their gender.
“That being said, I do think being female gives us a good insight into our clients’ needs and wants, so we can make their events go smoothly,” she says.
Noah’s has a sister company called Noah’s Linens that recently launched a giving back initiative. When the specialty linens and satin tablecloths used at Noah’s Event Venue become stained, torn or frayed — and, therefore, can no longer be used at social or corporate functions — they are given to volunteer seamstresses, who turn them into princess ball gowns and superhero capes. The upcycled garments are then delivered to patients at children’s hospitals as well as to youngsters involved with organizations such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation and Little Dresses for Africa. The initiative began at Noah’s locations in Texas and Tulsa, Okla., and is slowly growing throughout the country. Schwieterman looks forward to the time when she can implement it locally.
“It’s really neat to be part of a company that supports giving back,” she says.
For more info: noahseventvenue.com