For, I don’t know, maybe the last six years or so, I’ve had the honor of documenting the Awards and Installation Banquet of the Carrollwood Area Business Association in North Tampa. My job consists of creating business portraits of each of the eleven or twelve board members, a group photo of the board, a group photo of The Gavel Club (the Past Presidents), candids of the event, and the awards presentation throughout the evening.

This year’s banquet was an incredible display of patience, understanding, perseverance, and rolling with the punches like the troopers these business owners are. As an event photographer, I’ve seen my share of events and things that can “go wrong.” As a result, I’ve also seen how people react when confronted with the unexpected-particularly when the unexpected is unwelcomed. It’s often not very pretty.

This year, as Florida weather often has it, a nearby transformer was hit by lightning just a few hours before the event was to begin. I arrived early to set up a portable studio to create the board photos. I have battery backup lighting equipment for just such emergencies, but oddly enough, the part of the building I was set up in still had limited electrical power (there was more than one line into the building). We didn’t have A/C, only emergency lights overhead, and the kitchen was completely without power.

Everything moved forward with the hope and expectation that power would  be restored in time for the food to be prepped and the A/C to cool the place down before the main body of 100 guests began arriving. The owner of the venue (Paula DeBlasio, Hollywood Venue), was calm, collected, and had more class than you could ever expect from someone in her unfortunate position. When it became evident that power would not be restored in time to prep dinner, she did what a great member of the Carrollwood Area Business Association does… she called another CABA member, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza, and ordered dinner for 100!

Dinner arrived shortly, after which, we adjourned to the back patio (where there was a bit more light), and continued with the awards presentation. You know what? It was hot and somewhat muggy, but no one complained. CABA is made up entrepreneurs, business owners who deal with uncontrolled set backs every day. They know it wasn’t anyone’s fault, and they know it could happen to them. Being that Tampa is prone to lightning storms, there’s a good chance it already has!

By the end of the evening, every task assigned to that banquet was completed. Kudos to Paula, Anthony’s, the CABA Board and membership, and the patience and understanding that was on stage all evening. I’m honored to not only be a member, but to know each and every one of you.

The new Board of Directors of the Carrollwood Area Business Association.

The new Board of Directors of the Carrollwood Area Business Association.

Immediate Past President, Kristen Votta of Fitness Tek.

Immediate Past President, Kristin Votta of Fitness Tek.

Incoming President Rob Cunningham of ADT.

Incoming President Rob Cunningham of ADT.

Anthony Brooks of Capital Finance Advisors.

Anthony Brooks of Capital Finance Advisors.

Board Members, Sean Dimas of Elmcroft Senior Living, and Kristen Votta of Fitness Tek.

Board Members, Sean Dimas of Elmcroft Senior Living, and Kristin Votta of Fitness Tek.

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