Personal Summit Experience By Valeria Quezada The annual Carlsbad Mayor’s Energy Summit was held this year on October 21, 2021. This event brings together members of the community and the energy industry to learn about and discuss important issues that are important to everyone. As an observer in the crowd, this event may appear seamless but behind the scenes can become chaotic. Personally, this year was my third year working at the Energy Summit. There is a lot of work that starts as of January to prepare for such a large event. Weekly meetings with the committee, phone calls, hundreds of invitations, hundreds of emails, and plenty of stress. When I arrived at 7 a.m. at the Carlsbad Civic Center, there were already a handful of City Workers and other committee members giving final touches. In less than an hour, the Civic Center would be filled with hundreds of people. Being one of the first people to arrive is incredible because you get to observe the exciting energy that fills the room once more people begin to arrive, and the hour arrives for the event to start. Every year there is a system, the sponsors with booths arrive early to finish setting up, the workers from the rec center are fixing the decorations or simply making sure everything is in its place, the facility maintenance workers set up any heavier equipment, etc. The Mayor’s Public Information Officer is running around making sure we are on schedule and all the guest speakers have arrived and Danny Fletcher (the MC) is reading over his script testing the sound. At times everything goes according to plan, but usually, there are one or two surprises that we don’t really expect. The great thing is that all the workers behind the scenes jump to fix an issue or solve the problem we confront. This year I had the privilege of working backstage with Former Pro Football Player and Hall of Famer, Tony Dorsett who was this year’s guest speaker. I was handed the job of making
sure Dorsett felt comfortable and welcome in the environment he was in. Every year we have a special guest speaker, whether it’s an NFL Pro, MBA Pro, etc. Each year, a few people and the Energy Summit sponsors can take pictures and meet our guest speaker. In the first few hours of the summit, while I awaited the arrival of Dorsett, I got to see everyone running around between the main area and “backstage.” For a second I thought, “wow this year seems pretty calm and collected.” Was I wrong, immediately the chaos began backstage when Dorsett arrived. The other city employee and I, responsible for helping and accompanying Dorsett showed him to his break room. I was amazed by the kindness Tony Dorsett had towards everyone he met. He wore a smile the entire time we introduced him to a few of the City Employees and showed him the set-up he would be working in. In a matter of an hour, Dorsett was in front of the backdrop, ready to meet people, take pictures, and sign memorabilia. I began to go into a slight panic, worried that he felt crowded or overwhelmed, but he kept calm and met everyone who lined up to see him. Of course, people react how they do anytime they meet someone famous, but for being quite famous Dorsett acted like he had known us all for years. Especially when the photographer played some groovy tunes on the speaker, and he began to dance joyfully in front of us. He even gave a few people a twirl and encouraged them to dance along with him. I scurried back and forth between the backstage and the main room, walking through the maze of tables to locate the sponsors for pictures with Dorsett. After about an hour and a half of pictures, we escorted Dorsett over to the stage, where he was introduced to the hundreds of people in the crowd. Dorsett sat down on stage and proceeded to answer questions from a group of Carlsbad High School students. His life story was both touching and overall encouraging. Despite the discouraging words, others would tell him during his career, Dorsett
overcame the challenges and became one of the greatest American football running backs in the NFL. During his interview, I got to join everyone in the main room for a lunch break. Just before he finished, I rushed backstage to help with the work coming after the summit concluded. Around noon, mostly everyone had exited the Civic Center. All the workers began to clean tables off, put away chairs and tables, etc. Backstage we cleaned up the food line, put away memorabilia, etc. We walked Dorsett out back to the exit, where I had the opportunity to talk to him more. He was very grateful for the opportunity to speak at the Energy Summit and work alongside us. It was an amazing experience to have helped with the special guest speaker this year. Just like that, as fast as the event had started that morning it had ended. The main room was completely bare, all the tables and chairs were gone. I might’ve felt drained by the end of the Energy Summit but participating in this event is always the highlight of my year!