Mike Gehrs - Executive Director
With a restaurateur Grandfather it’s no surprise that at age 13, Mike began his career like so many other dedicated hospitality professionals…as a dishwasher. His passion for hospitality lead him to positions in upscale restaurants including Brennan’s in New Orleans and The American Restaurant, Bristol Bar & Grill & Fedora Café in Kansas City. Mike worked his way up in the restaurant industry as waiter, captain, trainer, wine steward and general manager before his eventual transition to special events.
As the first full-time salesperson for Food, Glorious Food in Kansas City, Missouri he was provided the creative support from owner and mentor Mel Bloss and Chef James Lilienthal, to design and execute stylized events for the social and corporate who’s who of the area.
With the experience he garnered from his mentor, Mike relocated to Chicago and worked with Calihan Gottoff Catering, climbing the ranks from cater-waiter and function director to event sales manager selling and designing high-end social and corporate events. With the clout of Calihan Gotoff doors were opened to work with the top clients and vendors in Chicago and execute events in the city’s finest special event venues. Mike soon emerged as the go-to guy for designing the company’s venue showcases and clients looking for something “outside the box”. (He says his work with Oprah Winfrey was some of the most memorable.)
That creative thinking lead to feature articles about his work in Special Event Magazine, Event Solutions Magazine and Kansas City Magazine. His last 2 years with the company as special projects manager, Mike negotiated contracts and designed and implemented full service hospitality systems for large corporate clients including Arthur Anderson’s “Office of the Future” and Sara Lee.
While in Chicago he directed the restoration and reemergence of the Dewes Mansion as one of Chicago’s most unique special event venues. The 13,000 square foot mansion finished in 1896 is the only example of its kind left in Lincoln Park, once home to many mansions but none so grand in its German inspired style.
Armed with a solid background in event planning and venue management, Mike returned to Kansas City and launched KC Site Finders and Gehrs Event Management specializing in venue search, marketing and sales consulting and corporate and social event planning. While in Kansas City Mike earned a Tourism Ambassador Certification and was awarded Meeting Professionals International’s “Rising Star” award and “Best Event” 2007 and 2008.
Mike moved to Los Angeles after securing a Sr. Sales Manager position with Wolfgang Puck Catering at LA Live, where he orchestrated the first events at the new Grammy Museum, the museum’s rooftop Target Terrace and the Event Deck that was home to the American Idol and American Music Awards after parties. Mike served as Director of Special Events for Los Angeles original- The Farm of Beverly Hills where he secured several accounts with CBS including the greenroom for The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, On-Set food styling for The Young and the Restless and The Bold and Beautiful. and cast and crew events for FOX including TV shows; House and Glee. After 5 years in California Mike returned to the KC area and teamed up with Wayne McDaniel to create Arterra Event Gallery; a full service special event venue in Lawrence, KS.
After accepting an assignment as restaurant reviewer for Chicago Holistic Magazine and attracting a readership, Mike’s love of great food and passion for all things healthy lead him to create a series of workshops and classes based on his 25 years experience researching and experimenting with health foods. With a local cable show, facilitating weekend workshops and teaching an eight week nutrition course designed for the busy urban professional, Mike realized his dream of transforming his hobby in to teaching others how to improve their lives through better nutrition.
Aaron Webber - Assistant Director
Born in El Paso Texas to parents in the coast guard, Aaron travelled the US extensively. At 12 years old he became a 'cart boy' for Dune Grass Country Club in Maine. Aaron's hospitality career began after moving to Lawrence in 1999 and securing a Server, Bartender then Fine Dining Manager position at Lawrence Country Club followed my Bar Manager at Wayne & Larry's. Aarons love of golf lead him back to country clubs and he served as Food & Beverage Director at Alvamar. Aaron's creativity, passion and attention to detail earned him a loyal following of the Who's Who in the Lawrence area.
A self proclaimed 'people person' Aaron thrives on creating sight, sound, smell, taste and feel to ensure a total event experience for his clients. Whether it's a wedding or a business meeting, Aaron approaches every event with unmatched passion and genuine care for his clients.
Aaron accepted the position of Assistant Director for Arterra Event Gallery prior to its opening in the Fall of 2013. As Assistant Director, Aaron oversees all operations at Arterra and assists with sales and marketing.
Aaron lives in Lawrence with his wife Whitney (a competitor☺) and their two dogs; Sammy & Bailey and spends his spare time golfing, fine dining and sporting events.