One Woman’s Story of Recession Loss to Divine Success

By Gael Hees, special to bizNEVADA

A Passion for the Possible.

Most people are lucky to find one job they love. Pam Howatt has had two careers that she adored. Right out of college, she started working in the casino industry. For more than 20 years, she worked for several companies doing everything from lottery management to sales, to financial analysis to marketing.

“I was laid off from Bally’s, the CEO changed, and a lot of people went away, and I was one of them,” said Howatt. “I had quite a severance package, so I decided I didn’t want to join another gaming company, I wanted to try the entrepreneur thing and buy a business.”

Howatt’s gaming industry experience included event planning and management. She planned events all over the world for a range of clients including golf tournaments, beach parties, and cruises. “We did all kinds of other crazy things,” she said. “That was really what I loved. I truly loved doing the events.”

IN 2005, Howatt purchased You Name It Events, primarily a catering company that produced employee appreciation picnics and company holiday parties. With the purchase came event paraphernalia including tables, tents, chairs, inflatables – everything to do a proper holiday picnic. “We had things in 14 warehouses,” said Howatt. “It was really wild.”

Howatt jumped in and immediately started making changes, doubling the previous year’s revenue in just six months and doubling it again the second year. Then came the downturn in 2008. By that time, Howatt had leased a 25,000 square foot warehouse with a commercial kitchen, nice offices, and a large monthly rent. “By fall of 2008, our business was off 40 percent,” said Howatt. “By 2010, I walked out of that building for the last time with nothing but my purse.”

But that didn’t stop her. Howatt had the catering contract for the show, “Tony and Tina’s Wedding,” and that gave her a kitchen for her work. She also provided the lunches at Las Vegas Day School,and had contracts with other clients who had been with her for years. She started a new company, Divine Events, where, according to Howatt, they didn’t miss a beat, and except for a name change, her clients didn’t see anything different in the level of service or quality of the product.

Today, she holds the contract for catering and running the restaurant–the Divine Café–at the Springs Preserve. Here she hosts cooking, mixology, and decorating classes,has a special happy hour on Thursdays with live music, and has online cooking videos featuring her top chefs. In addition, Divine Events is the preferred caterer for The Mob Museum, Meet Las Vegas, The Neon Museum and many other venues.

With more than 150 employees, Divine Events is continuing to grow and thrive. Providing impeccable service and offering “divine” foods, Pam Howatt is looking to the future and loving every minute of it.

 

Pam Howatt

Founder and President

Divine Events

Pam@divineeventslv.com

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