New Summit company is helping businesses staff up for events despite labor shortage

Shakey Graves plays a sold-out show at Dillon Amphitheater on Friday, Aug. 6. Innovative Team Partners has provided staff for several amphitheater shows throughout the summer.
Photo by Jenise Jensen / town of Dillon

A new event staffing startup aims to hire locals to fill in the labor gaps at large-scale events.

The founders of Innovative Team Partners developed their own “dynamic staffing model,” allowing trained workers to serve the variety of needs an event organizer might have. Workers can do anything from ticket scanning to merchandise sales, bartending to ushering, and parking management to event cleanup.

Miranda Fisher — marketing, recruitment and business acquisition manager at Innovative Team Partners — said the organization’s model aims to make staffing for events more cost effective by not hiring as many people.

“All of our team members are trained in a multitude of different areas, so the idea is an event could bring on five people working for Innovative Team Partners that normally might have taken 15 people that maybe aren’t trained in so many different areas,” Fisher said.

While this is the first year the organization has been up and running, Fisher said the idea has long been in the minds of its four founders: Fisher, Phil Kubiske, Holly Robinson and Lisa May.

“We were built by event professionals for event professionals and just recognize that there had to be a better way to do things from the event-planning side of it,” Fisher said. “Most of our core team, we all have planned events before and had experiences with some lackluster staff brought in from other companies, and so we just decided that there had to be a better way to do things to make it a little more cost effective for the event planner, more fun for the team member working the event and then ultimately just a better overall guest experience.”

Events the organization works include concerts, festivals, conferences, rodeos and more. Its first event was the Western Colorado Outdoor and Sportsman Expo in May. Since then, it has provided staffing for shows at Dillon Amphitheater and festivals in Keystone. Fisher estimated the organization works about three events a week in Summit County.

Fisher said the organization also aims to help residents in mountain communities get some extra cash. She said Innovative Team Partners isn’t necessarily designed to be someone’s full-time job, so the hours are flexible, and folks can work as little or as much as they’d like.

There is no minimum number of events or hours employees need to work; they just sign up for an event if they’re interested. Pay ranges from about $15 to $25 per hour depending on the event and the role the staff member fills.

Innovative Team Partners employees work a position scanning tickets at an event.
Photo from Innovative Team Partners

Krista DeHerrera, an event producer for Valley Events, has worked with Innovative Team Partners on two events: the sportsman expo in Eagle and the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo in Steamboat Springs. She used the company’s services to fill employment gaps in parking lot management and front-of-house services.

“They’re the boots on the ground, and they have great staff for that,” DeHerrera said. “In a last-ditch effort, we contacted them for some volunteers for that parking lot management for the Hot Air Balloon Rodeo in Steamboat, and (Fisher) came out in a pinch, and it was so helpful and so great. I couldn’t believe how quickly they whipped together staff, especially in this climate when labor is at a premium.”

Innovative Team Partners includes a supervisor to coordinate staff at all the events it works, which DeHerrera said took some weight off her shoulders.

Sara Skinner works for Innovative Team Partners as one of those supervisors, mostly working events at Dillon Amphitheater. She started working for the organization while she was still employed full time with the town of Frisco. Now, she is transitioning into her new roll as owner of Alpine Dance Academy and is working with Innovative Team Partners when she can.

“I kinda love the idea that I can pick and choose when I work, because everybody has a full-time job and another job and another one on top of that around Summit County,” Skinner said. “It’s a little bit different than what I’m used to — I’ve never worked concerts before — so it’s kind of just fun, new and different.”

Town of Dillon spokesperson Kerstin Anderson said the town had worked with some of the Innovative Team Partners founders prior to the organization’s creation and appreciated their expertise and experience in events.

“We feel like the inclusion of (Innovative Team Partners) into our overall team has been really successful this summer,” Anderson said. “They’ve always been able to meet our needs. The people that they bring in have really been great.”

Anderson said the town often needs friendly professionals to work events, but those events aren’t consistent enough to hire someone full time, making Innovative Team Partners a desirable option. She said it is also beneficial to have paid staff at the event on top of the volunteers they use.

Fisher said the organization has about 200 people on its roster who can sign up for gigs as they come up. Of those 200 people, more than 60 have worked for the organization in its first summer.

“We really haven’t struggled like I thought we would, and I think it’s mostly due to that flexibility piece,” Fisher said about staffing. “I thought it would be really hard to hire going into this current hiring landscape, but it seems like the flexibility has been what people are really drawn to.”

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