Walter Kinzie is kind of busy today.
Kinzie is CEO of Encore Live, a Fort Worth-based events company that is co-producing seven official inauguration events, including the swearing-in ceremony, Freedom Ball and Armed Forces Ball.
“We’re real excited it’s finally here,” Kinzie said Thursday from Washington, D.C., where he and his team have been ensconced for the past eight weeks. Encore Live is bringing some Texas flavor to Washington for the inauguration events like local North Texas singer-songwriter Josh Weathers, who will headline the Salute to Our Armed Services Ball and perform during the President and Vice President’s first dances.
“It’s been a great eight weeks,” he said. “It’s been a lot of hard work and we’ll be very excited to get back home to Fort Worth and sit down at Joe T. Garcia’s and have some margaritas.”
The company got the nod on Nov. 30 to work the inauguration. “I was in Las Vegas with my wife and in-laws at the National Finals Rodeo when I got the call,”” said Kinzie. “I got the call and I was in the car and I had to put it on speaker phone, just so others in the car could hear what was being said to validate what I was hearing, so yeah, I was excited.”
In a short time Kinzie and his team were in New York City working from Trump Towers and then in D.C., he said. “Since then, other than coming home for one day – our company did the Cotton Bowl in Arlington – we’ve been working on this,” he said.
Encore Live, an events company, was founded by North Texas entrepreneur Kinzie in 2010, with just a few hundred dollars to his name. Since then, he has transformed Encore Live from a one person company to an industry leader with a team of about 30 North Texas employees.
Kinzie credits his company, his team and his customers for ultimately landing the company on its biggest stage. “It’s our track record of the work we’ve done that got us here,” he said. “We’ve got great customers and they spoke well of our work and some of them were influential in Donald Trump’s election.”
Inauguration day is a special day for the company, as Kinzie knows. “We have a track record of doing highly complex events in Fort Worth, from high society events around town, to charities, weddings, corporate functions,” he said. “And we do big events too, like the Cotton Bowl, but this one will have a lot of eyeballs on us.”
Kinzie says the biggest challenge is that “everything is brand new for us here.
“This is a whole other animal.”