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CPCE Spotlight: Brett Ihde

Our CPCE Spotlight is where professionals share their motivation behind earning the Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE). This month we are featuring Brett Ihde, CPCE, Director of Sales at Magnificent Events in Chicago, Illinois.

If you are interested in being featured, please contact cpce@nace.net.

Q. How did you first learn about the CPCE program?

A. After joining NACE and going to Evolve and Experience, I began to make new friends and colleagues in the industry. One of them was Linwood Campbell, CPCE, DFS. He was the NACE National President at the time. After speaking with him and understanding his journey to the role of president, he explained to me that one of the necessary credentials to sit on the NACE National Board is to be CPCE certified. I had heard that term thrown around so many times, yet had no idea what it was. So, he explained it to me, and I became very interested.

Q. Please provide some background on your current position and company. How long have you been there, what is your role?

A. I am currently the Vice President at Magnificent Events and Entertainment. I have worked in entertainment since I was 16 and have always been in and or around music in some way. After touring for a few years, I knew I couldn’t do that lifestyle forever and hope to make it out alive. I sought a better way to enjoy entertainment and have a healthier lifestyle. Many years later, I have a bachelor’s degree in Arts, Entertainment, Media Management, toured internationally as a band manager, and now work for an award-winning company in one of the largest cities in the United States.

Q. Any tips for future applicants of CPCE?

A. You’ll need to know food allergens as much as you need to know how to how to set up a timeline to run an entire event. It’s a broad exam, but for a reason. It does test your job knowledge not just inside your own field, but in all aspects of an event. Study, and I strongly recommend taking the CPCE Fast Track Class. It covers loads of exam content!

Q. What might fellow CPCEs be surprised to learn about you?

A. One of my main reasons for becoming a CPCE was to one day sit on the national board. This organization has a lot of amazing people in it. It’s an honor to have been a local chapter treasurer and president. It’s been a further honor to have sat on the NACE National Membership board, and to currently sit on the NACE National Governance committee. There’s so much to learn and understand the inner workings of our organization. I’m really enjoying it and hope to continue to learn. Hopefully someday when I feel ready, I’ll throw my hat in the ring to run for the slate.

Q. Do you have a favorite CPCE memory?

A. Michael Testagrossa, CPCE, CHE, CMP, CGSP and Adam Rineer, CPCE, CMP were my CPCE Fast Track trainers. It’s a hard exam, but having them as tutors beforehand was definitely a huge help. Thank you to both of you!

Q. What is your favorite part of the catering and events industry?

A. The sense of family and comradery. It’s not all about aggressive marketing to bowl over your competition. It’s about smiling, enjoying your friends, and branching out to experience different sides of our own cultures.


Get to know Brett a bit more: 

Brett Ihde, CPCE, is currently Director of Sales at Magnificent Events. He is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He graduated from Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois with a Bachelor’s degree in Arts Entertainment Media Management in 2013. Brett began working in music from the age of 17 with his band Every Day Use. He has played and managed tours across the United States, England, and France. He spent two years working at The Chicago House of Blues in the production department, working with national tour acts. Brett has served on the Chicago chapter of NACE board from 2013 with 2 year terms as Treasurer and then President. He has also served for a year on the NACE National Membership Committee and is currently on the Governance Board. In 2018, he acquired his CPCE Certification (Certified Professional in Catering and Events).

Fun Facts:

  • Favorite Musical Group: The Copyrights from Carbondale, Illinois
  • Favorite Food: Wine & Cheese
  • Favorite Restaurant: Kopps Frozen Custard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Oranjestad, Aruba
  • Favorite Out-door activity: Anything that involves a firepit
  • Favorite In-door activity: Ask me about my Xbox Live Gamerscore
  • Favorite Actor: Bill Murray
  • Favorite Quote: “No job is too big, no fee is too big.” – Peter Venkman
  • Favorite Book: “Demon’s Don’t Dream” by Piers Anthony
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Crystal Irwin


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