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June 14, 2007 - Image 28

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-06-14

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knack for being able to take an event
to a higher level and always integrate
every aspect of a program into our
larger strategic agenda. They know
our business as well as they know
their own; it's an excellent company
that's always right on target with
everything they do for us, such as
customer receptions and industry
events."
Many of the Star Trax and pulse
220 executives are young and Jewish,
and some are partners in the firm,
such as Chief Operating Officer David
Jaffe of West Bloomfield, Executive
Vice President Sheri Wagner of
Birmingham and Geoff Kretchmer
of West Bloomfield, president of
what's now called Star Trax Event
Productions (which is growing at a
rate of 10 to 12 percent a year).
Some other Jewish employees
are Creative Directors Faya Gene of
Birmingham and Gayle Friedman
Gold of Huntington Woods, and
Jennifer Shane of Birmingham, an
account manager who once worked
in entertainment public relations,
handling such clients as actresses
Jennifer Lopez and Drew Barrymore.
Kretchmer and Erlich point to
Jimmy Wolk of West Bloomfield, a
University of Michigan theater major,
as the rising star of the party dancers
and emcees, in big demand now.
"Our employees all have incredible
energy and ideas, which are musts
in this type of business;' remarked
Craig. "Faya started First Trax, a pro-
gram to teach youngsters dancing
and etiquette."
"We arrange about 20 to 30 out-
of-state bar or bat mitzvahs a year,
in places like Miami Beach and
Manhattan:' said Kretchmer. "We
really wow the local people when we
sometimes spend 18 hours decorat-
ing a hotel ballroom, turning it into
a jungle or a palace. And I often visit
party planners in large cities as we
seek to expand our business deeper
into this market."

Shifting Sands
"By making a complete transfor-
mation to pulse 220, Star Trax is
undergoing a real evolution from the
local entertainment business to the
national corporate event business,
but if anyone can make a success of
it, Renee and Craig Erlich certainly
can: said Fred Marx, partner in
Marx Layne & Co., a Farmington
Hills-based marketing and public
relations firm.
"Having their top executives buy in
as partners is very important because
it gives them a big stake in the firm's
success. The Erlichs are to be admired
for building a top-notch organization
and achieving such national presence
in a tough market."
Renee has curtailed her work
schedule to three days a week and
is spending more time at home in
Bloomfield Hills with the Erlichs'
three children, ages 4-9.
The family belongs to Oakland
County-based Congregation Shaarey
Zedek. Renee serves on the Hillel
Day School of Metropolitan Detroit
school board. Craig is president
of Farmington Hills-based JARC.
He has participated in several
Federation-sponsored missions to
Israel.
Renee oversees the company's
civic and charitable activities —
usually about 40 free parties a year.
Beneficiaries are local organizations
such as JARC, ORT, Berkley-based
Yad Ezra, the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit and various
synagogues.
"Every summer, we provide enter-
tainment for the children at Camp
Catch-A-Rainbow in Jackson, which
is a very rewarding experience for all
of us:' she said.
Concludes Craig: "One of our
biggest challenges now is finding
enough time to do everything. It's
exciting to be continually growing
and keeping extremely busy. But you
just can't buy time."

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