2019 EXPO | August 11-14

Expo 2017 updates

flag 1446423A police chief, a congressman and a state liquor board member walk into an EXPO seminar ...

At EXPO 2017, this scenario is no joke — it’s a reality! For the first time ever, three key governmental positions are represented at an EXPO seminar, as the “Government Relationships You Need For Your Club’s Future” session will feature Charles Wilson, retired commander of the Detroit Police Department, Scott Ellis, Executive Director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA), and Michigan State Representative Harvey Santana.

Years ago, the only things necessary to ensure an adult nightclub would thrive were cold beer and hot dancers. Unfortunately, those days are gone. Today, club survival must involve developing and maintaining positive community, law enforcement and legislative relationships.
So how does a responsible club accomplish this and protect its right to do business and provide work for dozens, if not hundreds of workers and entertainers? Become active with their state adult nightclub association and proactively develop the necessary key association relationships with law enforcement and legislators. Partner with other hospitality trade groups that can give adult clubs credibility they could never achieve on their own.

Scott Ellis MugshotACE of Michigan, that state’s pioneering adult nightclub association, long ago realized the value of such relationships and has worked diligently for 18 years to cultivate and nurture them. And those relationships have paid big dividends in keeping Michigan clubs free from over-regulation and able to prosper. But how do you develop such relationships in your state?

EXPO is very pleased to present ACE of Michigan Executive Director Larry Kaplan and three invaluable resource people who have helped to keep the world safe for ACE of Michigan members. These four panelists will demystify the process of developing and maintaining key legislative, law enforcement and strategic partner relationships and what to do to improve and maintain a positive image for adult club associations and their member clubs.

larry kaplanDuring his distinguished police career, Greektown Casino & Hotel Vice President Charles Wilson served 20 years with the Detroit Police Department, retiring as Commander and Chief of Staff for Police Chief James Craig. (Then) Commander Wilson worked closely with ACE of Michigan’s leadership to develop “best practices” to improve the community standing of adult nightclubs.  By conducting open forums, supporting ACE workshops and ensuring that ACE members operated within police guidelines, Wilson created a standard for law enforcement and adult nightclub owner collaboration.

Scott Ellis is the Executive Director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA), the state’s influential association of bars and other liquor establishments and a strategic partner of ACE of Michigan. Ellis is a 17-year veteran of the Lansing Police Department who retired as a detective. Ellis has more than 15 years of consulting experience in the hospitality industry, helping hundreds of bars, restaurants, distilleries and breweries, and adult nightclubs. The MLBA gives legislative battles for ACE clubs the same import and effort it does those of its less controversial members. Ellis has given ACE members an important showcase in its annual state Lobby Day and enabled adult clubs to be seen as legitimate businesses.

Santana HarveyUntil he was recently term-limited out of office, former Michigan State Representative Harvey Santana was the most powerful Democrat in the Republican controlled state legislature, in charge of the state’s $53-billion budget. Santana has played a key role in the passage of legislation benefiting Detroit and his district. Santana built a reputation for his direct approach, passionate speeches and willingness to work across the aisle in a bipartisan manner. Santana has long been a great friend to the adult nightclub industry, unafraid to stand up for adult nightclubs at city council meetings and liquor board hearings. Santana recently accepted an important position with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder as the tri-county deputy at Michigan’s Office of Urban Initiatives. Santana will work with the governor and Detroit’s Mayor to bring new economic development opportunities to the city and surrounding area.

Larry Kaplan is the Legal Correspondent for ED’s Club Bulletin, founder and Executive Director of the ACE of Michigan adult nightclub state trade association, a governmental affairs consultant and a consultant in the sales and purchase of adult nightclubs and adult stores. Kaplan has bachelors and masters degrees in Social Work with a specialization in community organizing and was the first executive director of the ACE National trade association and for seven years, commuted between Michigan and California working as executive director of both state’s adult nightclub associations.

The “Government Relations You Need For Your Club’s Future” panel session is scheduled for Wednesday, August 30th, from 11 am to 12:30 pm.

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