Backal Management Group, LLC brings exceptional event management services to Apella. CEO and Founder, Arthur F. Backal, has over 20 years' experience in the hospitality industry. Backal Management Group’s companies and affiliates include State of the Art Enterprises Inc., an elite event planning company, and TBar Restaurant. The Group has also had a unique and prestigious consulting partnership with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, New York, since the hotel’s grand opening in 2003. With intimate knowledge of the hospitality, lifestyle, and event industries, Backal Management Group brings an experienced, dynamic, and well-rounded events management team to facilitate the planning and execution of all conferences and private events at Apella.
Arthur F. Backal is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Backal Management Group, LLC. He is also the Consulting Director of Catering at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, New York. The hotel’s enormous success was credited by The New York Times to Mr. Backal in 2003. From the outset of his career, Mr. Backal worked with some of New York’s most renowned hoteliers from Leona Helmsley at The Helmsley Palace to Donald and Ivana Trump at The Plaza. He was in charge of the re-opening of the St. Regis, New York, overseeing the entire food and beverage operation, and was also credited with restoring The Pierre to its legendary grandeur during his time there as Director of Catering. In addition, Mr. Backal spent time at The Waldorf-Astoria and with the Cipriani Group. Mr. Backal has for many years enjoyed a reputation as one of New York's most experienced and talented food and beverage professionals, as well as an unparalleled artist in the arena of special events. He was inducted into the BizBash Hall of Fame in 2010 in honor of his major contributions to furthering the event industry's goals, as well as to personal philanthropy.
Rachel Huber is an Events Manager at Apella. Mrs. Huber manages event sales and logistics at Apella on behalf of Backal Management Group and serves as the main point of contact for her clients throughout the event planning process. Prior to joining Apella, Mrs. Huber managed mid- to large-scale meetings and conferences as Meeting Planner for the American Camp Association. Mrs. Huber graduated from The George Washington University with a B.A. in Communication.
Jaimie DeSantis is an Events Manager at Apella. Ms. DeSantis manages event sales and logistics at Apella on behalf of Backal Management Group and serves as the main point of contact for her clients throughout the event planning process. Prior to joining Apella, Ms. DeSantis directed the Food and Beverage/Catering department at the Quin hotel. Ms. DeSantis graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in Communication.
Mynor Ruano is the Director of Operations for Apella. Mr. Ruano is leading the operations team on behalf of Backal Management Group at Apella and oversees all events onsite. Mr. Ruano has extensive experience managing and servicing events, having previously held the position of Banquet Manager at the Gramercy Park Hotel, The Rainbow Room and the Russian Tea Room. In addition, Mr. Ruano has worked within the banquet service teams at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the Plaza Hotel, the W Hotel at Union Square, and the Regent Wall Street Hotel, all in New York City.
Jamie Dembeck is the Director of Technology for Apella. Mr. Dembeck manages all technological services and amenities at Apella and serves as the main point of contact for all AV and IT needs. Mr. Dembeck oversees the Audio Visual coordination for events from planning to execution. Prior to joining Apella, Mr. Dembeck worked as an independent AV consultant with various hotels and event spaces in New York City including Gansevoort Hotel Group, Andaz Hotels, and Grandlife Hotels. He also has experience working as a grip for Broadway theaters and concert venues.
Riverpark, a Tom Colicchio Restaurant located within the Alexandria Center, reflects Tom Colicchio’s overall vision as restaurateur, showcasing his thoughtful approach to dining.. The menus, developed by Executive Chef, Bryan Hunt, showcase seasonal farmers’ market ingredients. Buffet lunches, dinners, and cocktail receptions at Apella are catered by Riverpark.
Tom Colicchio made his New York cooking debut at such prominent restaurants as the Quilted Giraffe, Gotham Bar & Grill, Rakel, and Mondrian. He opened Gramercy Tavern with Danny Meyer in 1994, following that critical and popular success in 2001 with the equally well received Craft. Colicchio has expanded the Craft restaurant family to include Craftsteaks, Craftbars, and ’wichcraft sandwich shops* around the country, and he has recently opened Colicchio & Sons in New York. He is also the author of three cookbooks and the winner of four James Beard Foundation medals. Since 2006, he has appeared as the head judge on Bravo’s hit reality cooking series, Top Chef.
Bryan was raised in Tennessee and moved to New York in 1998 to attend the Culinary Institute of America. At the age of 20, Bryan had his first trail at Gramercy Tavern, which opened the doors to the world of fine dining. It was during his externship there that he first encountered acclaimed chefs Jonathan Benno, Marco Canora and Sisha Ortúzar. These three chefs would eventually help shape Bryan's culinary career, as he would work with each of them again – with Jonathan at Per Se, as Chef de Cuisine for Marco at Insieme, and Sisha at Riverpark.