Entertainment services company breaks ground on Triad headquarters
WINSTON-SALEM, NC – From humble beginnings in 1986 in Jim Brammer’s Winston-Salem garage, Special Events Services has grown into an industry leader — both in form and function — by flying under the radar. Literally operating behind the scenes, those who attend a Zac Brown Band or Hootie and the Blowfish concert, or a Franklin Graham or Joel Osteen ministry event experience the company’s work.
Special Events Services (SES) is an audio, lighting, design, staging and live event production company, serving major music and event clients. For 30 years, it has provided the glitz and glamour for an even mix of secular and non-secular performers out of a nondescript set of buildings along Indiana Avenue in Winston-Salem.
To make room for growth, provide greater efficiencies and free up space for one of its affiliated companies — Special Events Trucking — next November SES will move into new space under construction near Interstate 40 in Mocksville.
Located at 216 Angell Knoll Ave., SES broke ground in early December on a 52,000-square-foot building on a 15-acre site. The company currently occupies only 30,000 square feet. The new, pre-engineered metal building includes conference rooms, offices and warehouse space. The general contractor is Fourth Elm Construction of Kernersville. The project architect is CJMW Architecture and engineer is Stimmel Associates, both of Winston-Salem.
SES Director of Touring Operations Michael Brammer, who represents the second generation of the family business, said the total investment in the project is about $5 million. He called the building “a little more flashy” than the current space, but remains true to the company’s mission of drawing attention to its clients rather than itself.
“We will have room to store all of our equipment in one place and spread out so we can lay our hands on it more easily,” said Brammer. “It will increase our efficiency and enhance the quality of product that we provide.”
That product includes a la carte services for concerts and shows — or transportation and set-up of the entire production — including lighting, rigging, video and audio. Unlike the current space, Brammer said the height of the new building will better allow technicians to fully assemble and test stage set-ups, then disassemble and load them onto the company’s trucks.
Until 1994, SES worked the Southeastern corporate theater market and festivals, growing at a gradual pace until its big break when Hootie and the Blowfish became a client. The Brammers’ deep commitment to their faith also led them to Joyce Meyer Ministries, later becoming the production company for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. By 2000, SES was touring with artists such as Coldplay and 3 Doors Down.
SES counts 18 Grammy Award-winning artists among its clients. It worked on 46 tours and more than 850 shows in 2018, entertaining more than 7.25 million attendees.
All that businesses requires room to grow. Brammer said about 50 employees will move with the office, two of whom have already relocated in anticipation of the move. Special Events Trucking employees will remain at the Indiana Avenue location, which will also serve as storage for some clients’ equipment. SES employs about 300 worldwide among 11 affiliated companies.
“This provides opportunities for us to grow,” said Brammer. “Not too much growth because we want to control it, but we want to have the room to do so.”
As the next generation of management and staff move into leadership roles with the company, Brammer said the time was right for a fresh start in new space.
“It’s exciting and I think that excitement is shared among most of our staff if not all of our staff,” he said. “It’s something that we’ve needed for awhile, and to finally see it come to fruition in the midst of the next generation of team members coming up, it’s like a big shift companywide that’s really taking off and taking shape in a nice way.”
SES clients include:
3 Doors Down
Hootie and the Blowfish
Joel Osteen Ministries
Joyce Meyer Ministries
Zac Brown Band
SES affiliated companies:
Special Event Transportation (trucking for tours, Winston-Salem)
G2 Structures (large stages for shows and festivals, La Vergne, Tennessee)
G2 Mobile Structures (mobile staging, Hoboken, New Jersey)
Musical Coaches (tour buses, Winston-Salem)
Field Protection Agency (turf protection systems, Sutton, Massachusetts)
Concert Chairs (temporary seating, Winston-Salem)
Fabrineering (fabrication, Mooresville)
Guardian Barrier Services (crowd control, Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
SES Integration (audio, lighting and acoustics, Concord)
SES Creative (solutions for local churches, Winston-Salem)
Spot Rental (spotlights, Manheim, Pennsylvania)