Colleagues from across the Ilitch companies gathered at Detroit’s iconic Fox Theatre for an inspiring afternoon of reconnection with one another, updates from across the exciting, dynamic and growing businesses, and, of course, a lot of fun. Hosted by Chris Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., the Connect 2022: Ilitch All-Company Meeting featured engaging presentations from Ilitch company leaders and a special appearance from co-founder Marian Ilitch.
“Our colleagues are the heart and soul of our organization, and they’re the best in the business. We work together, support one another, and collaborate every day – and we are better and stronger because of it,” said Chris Ilitch, President and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. “I am grateful to be able to lead this remarkable collection of people, and excited to bring everyone together to celebrate our collective successes and the positive impact our companies make in the communities in which we operate.”
Leaders representing each Ilitch company enthusiastically shared business updates, news from their respective companies and countless examples of how colleagues give back to the local community, support one another and go above and beyond to give guests and customers memorable experiences. Interactive games and giveaways kept the audience lively and engaged, with cheers and laughs echoing throughout the theatre.
The event also provided the opportunity to celebrate a significant milestone – the first ever Ilitch company colleague to reach 50 years of service in the history of 60+ years in business, David Agius. During the past five decades, Agius has been a part of incredible company milestones, including four Stanley Cup wins by the Detroit Red Wings, five MLB playoff appearances by the Detroit Tigers, the construction of both Little Caesars Arena and Comerica Park and national and international growth of Little Caesars. Agius also played a key role in initiatives that positively impacted the community, from Ilitch Charities to Little Caesars Amateur Hockey. Many of Agius’ colleagues, friends and family shared heartfelt stories about just how much he had impacted their lives, including Marian Ilitch, Chris Ilitch, Lisa Ilitch Murray, Steve Yzerman, Kris Draper, David’s sister Donna and several other long-time colleagues.
“Beyond what you’ve done, David, it’s how you’ve done it. You’ve been so much more than a colleague to our family and our organization – you’ve been a friend,” said Chris Ilitch. “You embody our values in your work every day through your loyalty, your dedication, your humility, and your desire to make a positive impact not just on our businesses but on our community.”
Following the Connect 2022 program at the Fox Theatre, the event opened to the adjacent Columbia Street for food and beverage, live entertainment from Detroit native band, Killer Flamingos, games, prizes and perhaps most importantly, personal connection with fellow colleagues.
Current and future tenants of The District Detroit – Union Assembly, Frita Batido’s, Basan, JoJo’s ShakeBAR and Sahara – offered incredible tastes from their menus. Not only were the items delicious, they were also beautiful, and throughout the event guests were seen snapping photos of their share-worthy dishes. Additionally, the reception featured a raffle with prizes from other tenants such as The M-Den, Detroit House of Comedy and many more.
“The energy on Columbia Street was amazing, and we loved being able to interact with more than a thousand people who work right here in the area and share a little taste of our menu,” said Chef Eric Lees of Basan, which is slated to open this year in the Eddystone. “It got us even more excited about the upcoming opening of our restaurant!”
For some colleagues new to the organization, the event marked the first time that they met peers from other Ilitch companies in person. “Being in my hometown and having people from all the companies together under one roof was very cool. I wasn’t familiar with all of the companies prior, so to see firsthand how the businesses operates together was really interesting,” said Shawn Pittman, Jr., Ilitch Sports + Entertainment Inside Ticket Sales Account Executive. “There was so much good food, live music and it was great to mingle with colleagues who I’ve never met.”
In addition to the presenters on stage, dozens of colleagues across an array of departments worked tirelessly behind the scenes to bring the event to life. A core team led by Anna Murawski, Director of Marketing, Ilitch Holdings, included Tony Serra, Director of Fox Theatre Operations; Rob Kohn, Executive Producer, Ilitch Holdings; Michelle Bartos, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Ilitch Sports + Entertainment; and Brett Yates, Vice President of Human Resources, Little Caesar Enterprises. Colleagues from Communications, Human Resources, Operations, Security, Legal, Accounting, Corporate Sponsorships, Community Relations, Finance, Ticket Sales, Guest Relations and Cass Tech interns all played roles and provided support along the way.
Chris Ilitch recognized the time and dedication invested in making Connect 2022 a resounding success. “An event of this caliber requires the talent, hard work and contributions of many, as well as partnership across our companies. I want to extend my gratitude to everyone involved for accomplishing something unforgettable together. You’re truly the best of the best!”
A special thank you to the colleagues whose hard work and talent made the event a success, including: Anita Klopfenstein, Anna Kinnison, Anna Murawski, Audrey Gamble, Brett McWethy, Brett Yates, Brian Oldani, Bruce Dall, Carly Somers, Carol Toloff, Cassidy Shackelford, Chris McGowan, Cooper Abrams, Dan Vormelker, Dave Scrivano, Doug Kuiper, Ed Gleich, Ed Saenz, Frank Falco, Gabe Callery, Hannah Sickmiller, Haydon Dotson, Henry Boyer, Howard Handler, Ian Studders, Ian Tennenbaum, Jamie Langdon, Jecholiah Marriott, Jennifer Tompos, Jill Proctor,Joely Stevens, John Policicchio, Johnny Jackson, Jordan Collins, Jordan Payne, Josh Sanborn, Katy Gaertner, Keith Bradford, Kim Klein, Kyla Wright, Kyle Gustafson, Kylii Taha-Marks, Lara Zade, Lindsey Gunsorek, Lisa Elkin, Maddie Wojcik, Marc Hill, Marcel Parent, Marvin Wright, Meagan Spurr, Michele Bartos, Mike Harris, Paula Vissing, Phil Novak, Ray Johnson, Rebecca Smith, Rick Fenton, Rob Carr, Rob Kohn, Ron Colangelo, Ryan Harding, Sa’Mia Walker, Sandy Richmond, Shawn Pittman, Stan Berenbaum, Steve Yzerman, Taylor Jackson, Theo Piccirilli, Todd Beam, Tony Serra, Triston Wyer…and many more!