In 1997, the largest manufacturer of carpeting in the world hired Ken Kragen to consult on the production of the biggest event it ever attempted. Interface wanted to bring together 1000 of its top executives, vendors and clients for week-long conference at the Grand Wialea Hotel in Maui. The theme was that running a successful business and protecting the environment could be integrated harmoniously into one strategy.
Ten of the most prominent environmentalists in the world participated in the weeklong conference, as well as a number of high profile speakers and performers. Working with the president and executives of Interface, Kragen crafted a week of events, speakers and entertainment that won the international award for best conference of the year.
Among other things, the attendees participated in a plan that dramatically personalized the theme of the conference. They divided into small groups and took specific actions to help preserve the island's limited natural resources.
- Each person turned of all lights and air conditioning upon leaving is or her room.
- The towels and sheets in each room were changed only every three days.
- Everything Interface and the attendees brought to the island, including waste paper, returned home with them.
For seven months prior to the conference, Kragen worked closely with the president and executive team. One week prior, Kragen was on site to make certain all necessary preparations were completed. On the first day, he delivered the opening speech, which set the tone and challenges for the event. Throughout the week, he gave four seminars on the subject of sales excellence.
The tremendous success of the conference brought a great amount of visibility to Interface and personal satisfaction to its executives.