Davie County officially entered the glitz and glam world of show business this month as Special Event Services (SES) dedicated its new headquarters in Mocksville.
Founded in 1986 by Jim Brammer and Jeff Cranfill in Brammer’s Winston-Salem garage, SES is an industry leader in audio, lighting, video, design, staging, and live event production for businesses, religious organizations, and major recording artists.
SES counts 18 Grammy-Award winning artists among its clients. It worked on 46 tours and more than 850 shows in 2019 that entertained more than 7.25 million attendees. The company’s star-studded line-up includes Avett Brothers, Luke Combs, Zac Brown Band, Darius Rucker, Hootie and the Blowfish, Ed Sheeran, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Franklin Graham, Joyce Meyer Ministries, and many others.
Despite the devastating effects the pandemic has had on the entertainment industry, SES is still moving forward. “I’ve been very fortunate over the last 40 years to watch this industry grow into what it is and now we are reinventing the wheel again,” said Cranfill “I never dreamed that I would be sitting around talking on conference calls to people about drive-in concerts and how to get people to watch shows from their cars. That’s what I’m doing every day because that is the only way we are going to get back rolling.”
Located on a 15-acre site at 216 Angell Knoll Avenue, the cavernous 52,000-square-foot pre-engineered metal structure includes conference rooms, offices, and warehouse space. The move from its former headquarters on Indiana Avenue in Winston-Salem makes room for growth, provides greater efficiency and frees up space for one of its affiliated companies, Special Event Transportation (SET).
Future plans at the site include a rehearsal facility that will allow artists and productions to rehearse in a space set up to simulate the venue where they will be performing.
The company expects to create 14 jobs and invest $8,850,000 in this expansion project.
The future development capacity of this area is a double-win for Mocksville.
“We have wanted to open up that site for the past 20 years,” said Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission. “I want to thank DOT and the Town of Mocksville for adding the infrastructure to pave the way for this expansion to take place while opening additional industrial sites in this area. The continuous coordination among local and state governments is exactly what the public should expect to help bring new jobs and corporations to our community in today’s competitive environment.”
Michael Brammer, Jim’s son, and the second generation of the company’s leadership team kicked off the evening by thanking attendees, beginning with employees.
“… I’m sure it is no surprise to anyone that 2020 has been the hardest year our industry has ever had. We’ve had to ask difficult things of our staff members and never once have they questioned our leadership or judgment. It has always been how can we help? and what can we do for you? That has just reassured us that we have the right guys working at SES. I’m very proud to call them friends and co-workers.”
“I have to thank our amazing clients whose continued support and loyalty have made this building a reality.
“Lastly, I’d like to thank Davie County and the amazing people who have welcomed us and really rolled out the red carpet to help us make this place home. We are so happy to be here and call this place home for the next 30+ years.”
The dedication ceremony highlighted the company’s commitment to faith and family.
Jim Brammer shared a quote from Steve Jobs, “‘My model for business is the Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.’”
“That couldn’t be any more true than for me and my three compatriots, (Jason Farah, Bogie Cates, and Jeff Cranfill). These guys are like my brothers,” he said and shared stories about each.
“As I look back at the history of this company, I am reminded of a verse found in 2 Corinthians that I will paraphrase ‘We are surrounded on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed or broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t quit. We are stalked by our enemies, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again, and again, and again and keep going.’ That has been our mantra since our beginning in my garage in 1986…”
“The next generation of SES is this young man (Michael) and the team he has assembled, and we win again. We may be in the middle of a global pandemic, but that isn’t going to keep us down or beat us.”
“I will end with a verse from Proverbs; ‘Where there is no vision the people perish.’ I don’t think we have ever lacked vision or faith. We have faith in the One who brought us here and will lead us on even in a global pandemic.”
Cates added, “The building you are in right now began 21 years ago with Jim’s vision and a dream. We began planning for this building on another property but for financial reasons, we decided we couldn’t proceed. Several years later, we decided again to build the building, and we had the property, but once again, it wasn’t God’s time for us to make that move. Then we came here, and this was God’s plan for SES all along. As you can see, it was well worth the wait.”
Cranfill also spoke, saying, “Relationships and family are everything about this business. It’s never been about being the most popular or the most famous or making the most money. It has always been about family. It’s really great that we’ve gotten to be here this long and seen this growth. We’ve talked about our dream building since the day we moved into the first one. We came from a garage and went through different buildings, and nothing was ever exactly the way we wanted it. This building has been a vision and a thought we’ve had for a long time, and seeing it happen has been amazing. But even more amazing than that is already hearing you talk about how we will grow and expand and how things will just keep getting bigger and better.”
Pastor Kyle Mercer of Two Cities Church in Winston-Salem completed the dedication with a message and prayer. “Why do Christians dedicate things? We view everything as a gift from God, and dedication is the idea of stewardship.”
Mercer shared a message from 1 Kings 8 in which King Solomon built and dedicated the temple his father King David began and drew a parallel with the Brammers and the legacy they have created.
He ended with prayer, “… We thank God for the past 33 years, we recognize God in the present, and we trust Him for the future.”
Special Event Services and its 11 affiliated companies employ around 300 people worldwide and have offices in Winston-Salem, NC, Nashville, New Jersey, San Diego, and Boston. The company plans to expand to Las Vegas, as well.