In December 2014, Global Experience Specialists (GES), a global full service provider for live events, lost an industry pioneer. Nort Rittmaster, who joined what would become GES in 1957 and opened the Los Angeles office in 1971, passed away after a short illness.
Promoted to president and CEO in 1981, Rittmaster was honored several times by then parent company Greyhound Corporation, later the Dial Corp., for the results produced by his business division.
Julia Smith, senior vice president of national sales, GES, penned a tribute, recalling when she worked with Rittmaster on internal communications during a period of heavy acquisitions in the late ‘90s.
“I could not have asked for a better year of business school,” Smith said.
Working with GES for over 17 years, Bob Lessin, regional trade show director, Painters DC 36, shared special memories.
“Nort was the leader when I started working. He led by example and included everyone in the process. He taught us by making us part of everything that the organization did,” said Lessin. “This style has led to the cooperative nature of the industry in Southern California. It was only much later in my career that I learned this was not the norm, this was the exception by an exceptional man. His impact will be felt by all and remembered by those who knew him.”
Rittmaster retired in the mid-1990s, and had a very active and full retirement with his wife Jeanne, his son and daughter, grandchildren, friends and many activities.
“While his day-to-day influence ended years ago, all of us at GES have benefitted from the legacy left behind by Nort and those he led, and he will be missed,” remembered Smith.