Dec 17, 2018

A View From the Summit

don billings

Broadmoor Hotel

December 19th, 2018

This fall in the Mix along with iMi Agency produced and presented our fourth B4 Summit, and our base camp was the iconic Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. Beverage industry professionals from around the country came to explore the trends, factors, emerging technologies and other “market disruptors” that will shape the global beverage business over the next two years and beyond. This was an opportunity to network with leading beverage chain marketers, operators, suppliers and allied partners as they enjoyed the invitation-only, information-packed Vision 2020. Judging by the response we received, it was a tremendous success and we will continue to support the B4 Summit into the future, with great enthusiasm.

On another note, when scaling a summit, the mountain climber’s lifeblood is a rope and it’s the centerpiece of the safety-line for the team. As we wind down to the end of the year, I would like to recognize the lifeblood of our rope team at ITM – my partner in the pursuit of excellence for this magazine and media services, Mike Raven. To achieve such a goal takes a very special person.

don billings and mike ravenMike is the Managing Editor of the magazine and has been at my side for the past 11 years. He came onboard just before the economic downturn poured water on everyone’s parade. So, it wasn’t a walk in the park or an easy climb to the summit, to keep the magazine relevant and moving forward. One way he accomplishes this is by having very little in the magazine and media operations that he does not touch. One of his great virtues is patience, and although we don’t always agree and sometimes even bark at each other, we always pull together to work through the magazine content and layout. He also possesses an eye for design and vision, clarity and a passion to see each magazine edition through from beginning to end.

Mike’s background has served him well in this endeavor. He started out in 1982 with Southern Wine & Spirits and worked his way up the ladder to On-Premise Sales Manager in central Florida, over a 14-year career. He then went on to be President/CEO of Lion Wines and Spirits in Deerfield Beach, Florida where he spent several years building that business. Following that, he then moved across the state to Tampa to work for Premier Beverage Company for a few years. I met Mike in Atlanta and immediately felt a connection with him. I brought him into the company and eventually he took over managing the magazine, which was only four years old at the time he took over in 2007.

Mike has been my safety-clip for our rope team and I am happy he joined us on this adventure.


Quote: The summit is what drives us, but the climb itself is what matters.

– Conrad Anker