Spinning records and learning lessons: A surprise introduction to permitting and building codes

Before joining the team at CORE Planning Strategies, the chapters of my career were pretty diverse, from spinning records as a club DJ to working as an event planner to serving as a building official for the City of Indianapolis. As different as these roles may sound, a strange synergy among them inevitably led me to my position as a project manager here at CORE.

Scratching your head? I’ll explain. When I was in college, I discovered that I really enjoyed throwing big parties and themed events for friends and soon-to-be friends all over campus. I liked entertaining, had a knack for organization, and thrived by creating new and unique experiences for crowds, both large and small. This led to my life as a club DJ; if I could find a venue that was willing to let me host my events under their roof, it simplified event logistics and allowed me to focus on promotion.

After graduating from college, I decided to move forward in this direction. However, there was a lot more competition for venues in Indianapolis. So, I got involved with other promoters and creatives to host events in, shall we say, less-than-ideal venues: abandoned buildings, basements, and empty storefronts in strip malls, to name a few.

Our events continued to grow, drawing the attention of like-minded people, other DJs and musicians, and—inevitably—building inspectors and local fire marshals. Imagine the heartbreak of having an event you’ve spent weeks putting together get shut down by a city official for not having proper permits, or for a venue to be closed for not being made safe prior to use.

That heartbreak taught me several lessons:

  • Research your first steps.
  • Ask for permission from the appropriate authorities. In this instance, asking for forgiveness rather than permission doesn’t apply.
  • Plan properly for the safety of your customers.
  • Have others review your plans before you undertake a project.
  • Understand that engaging the authorities as early as possible leads to safer events. Safer events lead to larger crowds, and larger crowds lead to bigger and better venues, and even more success.

My later roles for the City of Indianapolis took me to the other side of the table, where I provided facilities coordination, project management, and building code analysis. All of these experiences have resulted in a diverse perspective I look forward to offering clients through CORE’s new services in permitting optimization and facilities coaching. Whether it’s a special event or a facility project, I’m excited to help others find solutions that allow them to complete their projects on a positive note.

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