Politics & Government

The secret behind Donald Trump’s swearing-in ceremony: A Fort Worth company

As Donald Trump raises his hand to take the oath of office and become the country’s 45th president, know this: A Fort Worth company is hard at work behind the scenes.

Encore Live, which produces events such as the Cotton Bowl, was hired to put on a number of inaugural events this week, including Friday’s official swearing-in ceremony.

“People are pouring into Washington in record numbers,” Trump tweeted this week. “It will be a great Thursday, Friday and Saturday!”

That’s what Encore Live officials want to see happen.

After all, they’ve been planning parts of the inauguration since learning through a 3:18 a.m. phone call Nov. 30 that they got the job, company CEO Walter Kinzie said.

Kinzie soon was on his way to New York, where he worked until Dec. 7.

He and his team have been in Washington, D.C., ever since, although he did make it home for one day to check on the Cotton Bowl, since his company produced it.

“This is the experience of a lifetime,” he said of helping with the inauguration. “They don’t have a bigger event than this. It has been incredible.”

In recent weeks, Kinzie and his team — all eight who are in Washington right now — have had their fair share of 22-hour workdays and more than a few sleepless nights.

“We’re Fort Worth. We don’t sit here and pat ourselves on the back all day. We just get to work,” he said. “We have to slow down and remind ourselves of the magnitude of this.”

Encore Live, which hosts events ranging from corporate conferences to weddings, drew national attention last year for organizing an executive road trip on a bus for mattress companies.

Since they’ve been in Washington, Kinzie and his team have worked on eight inaugural events, including the Freedom Ball, the Armed Forces Ball and the swearing-in.

But they are far from alone.

Kinzie said his staff has been working with several great companies he’s a big fan of that also are producing inaugural events.

And there are North Texas companies and people — from the Schaefer Advertising Co. to Fort Worth singer-songwriter Josh Weathers — working on the inauguration as well.

“It was really important to us that we weren’t the only North Texans who came out here,” Kinzie said.

The Fort Worth company’s inaugural work wraps up at midnight Friday, when the Armed Forces Ball and Freedom Ball are over.

By Saturday, Kinzie and his staff will be headed home to Fort Worth.

“We have missed our families,” he said. “We skipped the holidays, New Year’s, even part of the Fort Worth Stock Show.”

As glad as he and his staff will be to come home, they will treasure the job they did in Washington this week.

“It’s such an honor to get to manage these logistics and be a co-producer on so many important events in history,” Kinzie said.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

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