Vice President and Chairman of Checkmate Advisory Board
James Burch served as U.S. Secret Service Agent for over 27 years during which time he served as the Agent in Charge of the largest Secret Office, the Washington Field Office (WFO). The Washington Field Office has responsibility for all Secret Service protective operations, protective intelligence investigations and criminal investigative activity in the National Capital Region. During his tenure at WFO, James was the lead coordinator of six National Special Security Events (NSSE). He also served as the Agent in Charge of the Special Services Division that had responsibility for the Secret Service armored vehicle program, the canine bomb detection unit and security of all Secret Service facilities in Washington, DC.
James also served as Deputy Assistant Director for the Office of Investigations of the Secret Service, which provided oversight and direction for all facets of Secret Service criminal investigative activity nationwide. After retirement from the Secret Service, James served for two years as the Assistant Inspector General, Office of Investigations at the U. S. Department of State, Office of the Inspector General. Following his service at the U.S. State Department, he served for six years as the Director of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.
Senior Vice President for Operations and Business Development
Spencer E. Geissinger is an experienced leader whose career has spanned politics, government, and the private sector. He has served in senior roles in multiple political campaigns, a Governor’s office, The White House, the Department of State, and most recently, the private sector. Spencer currently leads Business Development at Showcall, a nationally recognized event production and experiential marketing company, where he works with the company’s team to developing market strategy. Spencer has been responsible for growing top-line revenue in deep double digits since joining the Showcall leadership team in 2014.
After leaving federal government service in 2009, Spencer served as Director of External Affairs and Director of the Washington, DC Office for the Governor of Florida. In this role, he was the principal liaison with private industry, the U.S. Congress, and the Executive Branch of the Federal Government for the third largest state in the United States. Spencer was named to this role after serving as Deputy Campaign Manager for Governor Scott’s successful gubernatorial campaign in 2010. Following his service to the State of Florida, he served as the Chief of Staff to an ultra-high net worth family office overseeing a large and diverse staff and budget of in excess of $12m annually.
From 2007 until 2009, Spencer was the Deputy Assistant for Operations to the President of the United States. In that role, he oversaw the seamless integration of the dozens of military, security, and operational agencies and components involved in the execution of the Presidential traveling footprint – including the United States Secret Service, the White House Military Office, the Presidential Airlift Group, the Presidential Helicopter Squadron, the White House Communications Agency, and others. Spencer was frequently the principal U.S. government negotiator on some of the highest profile and most sensitive diplomatic visits overseas. Prior to joining the White House staff, he served as a Senior Diplomat in the U.S. State Department as Assistant Chief of Protocol for Visits and later as Deputy Executive Director of the 2004 G8 Summit, where he led nearly 500 employees and an interagency working group made up of nearly one hundred state, local, and federal entities in executing one of the largest international leader summit hosted in the United States at that time.
Spencer has traveled extensively to over 110 countries on official business and in direct support of the President of the United States as a senior advisor. He was hand-selected to plan and execute the President’s final trip to Iraq and Afghanistan, one of a small number of secret missions to a theater of war in the history of the Presidency. Earlier in his career, Spencer held several other positions in various consulting firms and worked on Capitol Hill as a staffer on the Senate Appropriations Committee for State, Justice Commerce and in the Senate Office of Paul Laxalt (R-NV).
Spencer resides in Dallas, Texas and attended the University of Nevada Reno and serves on the Board of Directors of the Federal Enforcement Homeland Security Foundation.
President & Co-Founder
Ajay Patil, co-founder and partner of Showcall Inc. began his career in the live event production business over 30 years ago. Patil has a varied skill set that he has developed over the years working in the live entertainment industry as a national talent buyer; a concert promoter; a tour manager and lighting director on a number of rock and roll tours; and finally as a sales executive/technical producer in the special events industry.
Patil co-founded Showcall with A. Blayne Candy in 2001, and has spent the last several years growing the company and producing a variety of high-profile, large-format events such as: Pope Benedict XVI’s Mass for 47,000 at Nationals’ Stadium; Pope Francis’ Mass at Catholic University; numerous U.S.-hosted International Summits; JFK 50th Anniversary; and the George W. Bush Library Dedication. Additionally, Patil traveled the globe for eight years, serving as a Senior Lead Advance Representative for the White House, where he was responsible for planning travel, events, and logistics for the President and First Lady of the United States.
Most recently Patil led the charge on the launch of Showcall’s newest company, Checkmate, which focuses on event security-related needs by supporting the law enforcement agencies in their efforts to secure high-threat, large-format events including the Presidential Inaugurations, International Summits, and National Political Conventions.
Patil belongs to the Knights of Columbus, serves on the board of St. John Regional Catholic School and spends his free time with his family of seven, traveling, hunting, skiing and cheering for the Baltimore Ravens.
Executive Vice President and Co-Founder
Blayne Candy, co-founder and partner of Showcall Inc., retains extensive experience producing and managing corporate, sports marketing, television broadcast and technical production projects, regionally, nationally and internationally.
When not producing or managing world summits, grand openings or product reveals he can be found speaking at industry conferences on the applications of technology in the event industry.
A student of the design philosophy that form follows function, Blayne immerges himself in the technical understanding and capabilities of the tools identified and ultimately selected to accomplish the project.
His list of national and international work includes designing and producing events for Pope Benedict, Presidents, Obama, Bush and Clinton as well as the country of the Republic of South Korea
His list of national and international work includes designing and producing events and live broadcasts in Baghdad, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Africa, across Europe and South America. Some of these credits include, technical director for the Opening Ceremonies of the 54th Presidential Inauguration, Technical liaison for the U.S. Center at the COP Climate Summit since 2009, Executive Producer Summit TV/AFDC for the G20-Pittsburgh Global Economic Summit, Executive Producer Summit TV/AFDC for the G40-Nuclear Security Summit, Executive Producer, Host Broadcast, APEC Summit Honolulu, Executive Producer NATO Summit, Chicago, Il, Executive Producer Host Broadcast, G8 Summit, Camp David, Executive Producer HALIFAX International Security Forum, Executive Producer Dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library.
Among his credits participating in world summits Blayne has also produced or executive produced, live broadcast entertainment celebrations, Papal Visits, multiple dedications for memorials such as the Air Force, New Jersey 9/11, Disabled Veterans for Life, among many others.
Blayne has leveraged his understanding of the media’s needs and workflow with his clients desire to attain expanded media coverage of their events to outline a host broadcast model with has been deployed over a variety of different event types and garnered multiple awards for the content delivered.
An avid cyclist and runner Blayne resides in Maryland with his wife Amanda and his two boys.
Senior Project Manager
Rebecca Kurtom’s experience in the event world is as diverse as the locations in which she has honed her talents. Rebecca joined the Showcall family as a full-time Account Executive in 2013, but she has, in fact, been a member of the team on and off since 2005, beginning by serving as Showcall’s Manager of Event Operations and Protocol at the U.S. Pavilion at the World Exposition in Aichi, Japan. Rebecca continued to serve in a variety of critical roles for Showcall on multiple notable events over the intervening years.
During her tenure at Showcall, Kurtom’s focus remains managing accounts and projects on a global basis, and leading critical projects under the Checkmate banner. Kurtom has led the charge to provide and install security assets supporting a variety of events including the 2017 Presidential Inaugural, the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH, and the 2015 Visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia, PA.
Immediately prior to joining Showcall full-time, Rebecca spent 5 years refining her large event and venue management skills working for Events DC as a Senior Events Manager. At Events DC, Rebecca managed myriad events ranging in size from 1,000 to 20,000 in three unique venues: RFK Stadium, the DC Armory, and RFK Festival Grounds (comprising more than 100 acres of event space). It was during her time at Events DC that Kurtom became an expert on large-format, outdoor events as she managed a significant number of premiere city-wide events.
Senior Project Manager
A DC-based event professional since 2003, Elizabeth Makkai brings a unique and varied level of technical, site layout, infrastructure, and logistics expertise to Showcall. In her role as a senior member of the team, Makkai oversees some of company’s largest and most complex events both nationally and internationally. Uniquely specializing in high-threat events, her experience includes asset allocation, large-scale perimeter build-outs, and threat mitigation utilizing tenting, staging, logistics, meeting management, and hospitality for events of all sizes.
Makkai’s solutions-oriented approach and superior customer service instincts enable her to deftly navigate events involving high-level dignitaries and complicated logistics with ease. Her client philosophy is rooted to one main principle: to provide exceptional customer service. Makkai’s unique ability to deliver innovative solutions and consistently exceed clients’ expectations has earned her an outstanding reputation in the events industry.
Makkai has enjoyed a long and successful track record of producing high-visibility, large format, milestone events. A sampling of Elizabeth’s recent and notable projects includes:
2016 Democratic National Convention; 2013 Presidential Inauguration; 2012 Republican National Convention; 2012 NATO Chicago Summit; 2010 Nuclear Security Summit; 2009 Presidential Inauguration; 2009 G-20 Pittsburgh Summit; 2009 G-20 Pittsburgh Summit; and 2008 G-20 Washington Summit.
Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Elizabeth has been in DC since 1993, and spends as much time as she can fostering dogs for a local animal rescue.
Senior Project Manager
Originally from Michigan, where she obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts in Theatre, Jaime moved to the DC area in 2000. Since then, she has worked in the theatrical world producing Broadway musicals, which have toured worldwide. As Associate Producer at Troika Entertainment, Jaime assisted in producing over 65 touring productions in various countries around the world. Some of the many highlights include: the first American production to tour China (Sound of Music, 2004); the first English speaking musical produced in Moscow (42ndStreet, 2002); the 2009 National tour of Fiddler on the Roof starring Topol; the 2006-2009 National tours of Jesus Christ Superstar staring Ted Neeley; and the North and South American National Tours of Cats from 2000-2012.
Joining the team in 2014, Alex oversees the company’s daily operations, including: project scheduling, travel management, event logistics support, data management, expense tracking, and equipment management. In addition to her regular duties, she has also taken on leadership roles in some of Checkmate’s major events, serving as Production Assistant for the 2015 Visit of Pope Francis to Washington, DC, the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, the 2016 Republican National Convention, and as Asset Administrator for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration.
Alex’s organizational expertise, coupled with her keen ability to focus on the big picture, while simultaneously homing in on the minute details, make her an invaluable member of the Checkmate team.
Director of Accounting and Finance
An accounting professional since 1995, Billie-Jo serves as Checkmate’s Office Manager, and is responsible for the financial management of all aspects of the company, as well as its affiliate companies: Showcall, Infinite Power, and MHA Audio. Billie-Jo’s responsibilities include: managing the company’s operational budget, accounts payable and receivable, payroll, contracting and procurement, vendor management, budget development, management and reconciliation, client budget oversight, and human resources management.
A native of Baltimore, MD, Billie-Jo earned her AAS in accounting from the Community College of Baltimore County. She is a single mother, and she and her son are avid fans of the Baltimore Ravens and Baltimore Orioles.
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