Central Ohio Transportation Authority Internal Events

Elevating Employee Appreciation with Exceptional Event Management


Having worked with EMS on community outreach programs and helping customers transition to a mobile app for purchasing bus fares, the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) enlisted EMS as its trusted partner to provide event management, facilitation, and coordination services for their internal events.



The largest of those events was the annual all employee appreciation event, the COTA Roadeo & Family Fun Day, hosted for over 2,000 employees and their family members. The one-day event entailed food and entertainment plus, the “Roadeo”, a bus competition with obstacle course where five finalists competed for a chance to win cash prizes and chance to compete at the national Bus Roadeo contest.



EMS was presented with a few challenges that included:  

  • Event Revival: The event was canceled for a few years due to COVID, necessitating a fresh start.
  • New Project Team: Most of the project team members were new and had no prior experience at prior employee appreciation events.
  • Venue Transition: The event moved to the Greater Columbus Convention Center, which required coordination with new vendors, moving the bus competition to an indoor setting, and creating an entirely new layout.


EMS embraced these challenges as opportunities to innovate and elevate the event experience. They worked closely with the project team and leveraged their established relationships with vendors to ensure a seamless transition to the new venue. 


Key solutions included:

Comprehensive Planning: EMS developed a comprehensive event plan covering everything from marketing and activities to food and presentation programs. They worked closely with the COTA creative team to create signage and décor that aligned with the event’s theme.



Fresh Ideas and Vendors: EMS introduced an array of attractions, including roaming mascots, live animals, yard games, inflatable obstacle courses, caricatures, and photo opportunities. The food options were revamped including popular snack stations like Jeni’s ice cream, a local favorite! And pretzels that could be dipped in savory or sweet sauces were crowd pleasers.



Local Partnerships: EMS leveraged its community ties by collaborating with local organizations. The Columbus Crew SC brought Crew Cat and mini soccer, the Columbus Zoo hosted a PLINKO game with prizes, and COSI presented engaging science experiments.



Continuous Improvement: In the second year of event management, EMS used the initial plan as a foundation to create an even BETTER event. We incorporated feedback gathered from employees via post-event surveys, address all areas of improvement, and kept the most popular activities to ensure employees would return again the next year.



Since EMS took over event management, the COTA Roadeo & Family Fun Day experienced significant improvements:


  • Event registration and attendance increased.
  • Employee feedback indicated a greater sense of appreciation and satisfaction.
  • Attendees left the event with happy family members and positive memories.

This case study showcases how EMS’s event management expertise and innovative approach transformed an employee appreciation event, creating a more enjoyable and memorable experience for COTA’s employees and their families.

Services Provided
  • Brand Ambassador Staffing
  • Event & Vendor Management
  • Anecdotal Feedback & Data Capture

Client Category: Internal Events


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