How I know Scott?
This is me with my friend Scott, founder and visionary of the company we now call Accel Events & Tents. I first met Scott in early 2018 when I was getting ready to launch the Alohilani Resort, Waikiki Beach. The hotel grand opening was positioned as a highly anticipated property launch and our event needed to be outrageously packed with “WOW”.
One of the keys to that “wow” factor was a plan to have the DJ perform from a stage in the middle of Alohilani’s infinity pool. Given the natural current of the pool, this was a tricky ask. Seasoned Oahu event planner Melissa Blake claimed there was only one guy in town she’d trust to manage the job: Scott Rabe from Accel.
Scott showed up to discuss the challenge flanked by his then 7-year-old daughter, Peightyn. From speaking with him, I came to learn Peightyn was just one of 5 Rabe keiki (yes, you read that correctly). While Peightyn dawned her iPad in one of our cabanas, before I knew it, Scott had jumped into our pool. A few measurements later, he was out and efficiently on his way to design the stage he eventually pulled off flawlessly. My first impression of Scott and Accel: this was clearly a family operation, and they were obviously willing to go the extra mile for their clients.
At the time, I didn’t realize how much of a family operation Accel actually was. The company was locally founded back in 1996 by Scott’s dad, Michael, with then 14-year-old Scott leading the charge behind the scenes. During Accel’s 25 years of operation, most of the Rabe family siblings have been engaged in the business at one point or another. Many of our clients will have had contact with Jordan, Beau, Ryan and Joanna as well over the years. What started as a small business in the back of Ko’olau Ballrooms, has come to span three huge warehouses across Oahu and Maui. Accel is now Hawaii’s largest event rental business; servicing a whopping 6700 events in 2019 alone.
In the years following that first meeting with Scott by the pool, I’ve worked with Accel on many occasions, at various venues. From destination weddings to NYE parties, Accel consistently came through for me and my clients, and we each enjoyed being a part of a thriving events industry in Hawaii. Then came COVID.
In March of 2019 my hotel leadership role was eliminated as hospitality closures widened. Meanwhile at Accel, the frenzy of daily activity quickly halted, and a team of over 150 associates across two islands was reduced to only a handful. While heartbreaking for Scott and the Rabe family, this period ultimately led Scott to make the decision to fulfill a longtime promise to his wife and move their family to the East Coast.
And so begins my chapter at Accel Events & Tents. It’s incredibly humbling to be asked to succeed a company leader of 20+ years, let alone someone with Scott’s charisma and industry reputation. I look forward to honoring the Rabe legacy by returning the company toits pre-COVID health, while also positioning us for a bright new future. My hope is that, as a former client, I can continue to harness Accel’s customer-centric values, while also bringing new and bespoke offerings to the forefront of our business. And who knows?, It may turn out that I jump into a pool or two in the process.