The Crusader Newspaper Group

Black-owned company ready to help stage Democratic National Convention

The Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks are done for the season at the United Center on the West Side. For organizers of the Democratic National Convention, it’s the perfect time to step up preparations, as the arena remains empty for the biggest event Chicago has seen in decades.

In four months, the iconic stadium will be packed again, but not with sports fans. There will be thousands of delegates from America’s 50 states. The Democratic convention will thrust Chicago into the world spotlight, and behind the speeches and political pageantry will be Show Strategy, a Black-owned firm that’s been hired to help stage the big event.
It will be the first time in history a Black firm will be tasked with putting together a massive production as a primary contractor. The mastermind behind Show Strategy is its president and CEO, Glenn Charles, Jr.

Born in Englewood, he is a graduate of Simeon Vocational High School and has a degree in architecture from Harold Washington College. Next August, decades of hard work and experience will come full circle for Charles as he and his company and other contractors work to transform the United Center into a showcase where President Joe Biden is likely to accept the Democratic nomination for a second term in office.

The pressure is on to make the four-day event sparkle at the United Center, where politicians and celebrities will take the stage during nationally televised broadcasts during prime time.

During a recent interview on WVON1690, Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison said it costs between $70 million to $100 million to put on a political convention.

It’s unclear how much Show Strategy will be paid for its role as a primary contractor that will serve as an event manager and provide exposition services for the Convention. The Crusader reached out to Show Strategy for this story but hadn’t heard back before Crusader print deadline on May 1.

The pressure is on them and other firms to establish the perfect setting that will hold thousands of delegates, viewing areas for an army of print, digital, radio, and television journalists from around the world.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s the first full-blown political convention since 2016. That year, Hillary Clinton received the Democratic nomination while her opponent, eventual winner Donald Trump, was crowned the Republican nominee.

Charles founded Show Strategy. Seven of his 11 top executives are Black. According to his LinkedIn Account, Charles said his company produces some of the largest trade shows, art fairs, live events, and experiences in the world. His company has provided exposition services to the Black Women’s Expo at McCormick Place, World Business Chicago, Expo Chicago and other events at Navy Pier.

For the Democratic National Convention, Show Strategy will partner with Juan and Only, a WBE-certified events and logistics company, on this project. Another Black firm, Powers & Sons Construction Company, will help provide construction services in a joint partnership with McHugh Construction.

NBC5 Chicago interviewed Charles for its Black History Month segment in February where he described the Convention as a life changing experience.

“I’ve been ready. We are about to show the world and the city, what a small young Black guy from Englewood that’s been rooted here since day one, how it’s supposed to be done.

“I think by getting this opportunity, it exposes people,” Charles said. “You can’t be what you don’t see. So, it exposes people who didn’t even know my career existed to start considering it.

“When the DNC leaves, and I’m riding around in the city and I’m going to restaurants, I want to see people that actually support me on the project and working for other opportunities in the city.”

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