Our Team

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Hank Zemola

Founder & CEO

Early in his career Hank worked in a management role at UPS®, which he believes gave him exposure to the high intensity work required in event production. After UPS, he owned nightclubs and managed music venues which included TUTS, Stages (now the Metro) and the Vic Theatre. A musician in his youth, he easily transitioned to an events-related career by becoming a skilled buyer of national entertainment talent. He later served three years as Executive Director of the then-nascent Chicago Area Runners Association. Hank founded Special Events Management (SEM) in 1988, which now produces more than 70 annual runs & walks, art & street fests, and concerts and also provides assorted services to scores more, becoming the largest full-service producer of special events in the Midwest. As an active member of several Chicago area civic and professional organizations, one of Hank’s primary visions has been to produce events that raise money to benefit nonprofits, community and neighborhood groups, chambers of commerce among many others. He is a lifelong Chicagoan.

Q & A with Hank

What’s your favorite activity to do outside of work?
Traveling is my passion.

What’s your favorite part of working at SEM?
Helping not for profits raise money for their goals and missions.

What’s your favorite event we manage and why?
Northalsted Market Days because of its music and diversity.

What are your three favorite foods?
Chocolate, New York steak and cheeses

If you were a superhero, what would your name be?
The Shadow

Would you rather be the funniest or smartest person in the room and why?
Smartest because of worldly experiences.

Name the best place you’ve visited in Chicago.
Orchard Street between Armitage and William Streets. Beautiful architecture and facades.

Cubs vs Sox?

Favorite Type of Pizza
Pats Pizza thin crust