Carey Hargrove began his career in the event industry at age 14 as a pilot for a Carey Hargrovetractor-pulled float in Philadelphia’s Fourth of July parade. This might seem like a big responsibility for a young boy, but for Carey it was just a part of everyday life. He grew up on a farm in Southern Maryland, and as soon as he was big enough, he developed a knack for driving the family tractor. His father, Earl Hargrove, was a professional float builder, and he quickly recognized his son’s budding talent. Before long, Carey was piloting floats in Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving parades, and later, he even served as lead float driver in George H. W. Bush’s inaugural parade.

As a third generation member of a family that has been putting on events since the 1940s, Carey has been surrounded by the business all his life. When he was a child, he observed first hand as his family’s company produced and decorated some of the largest and most influential events in the country. Carey remembers his mother being called to help at the last minute on events, and of course, he would have to go, too. She would find him a comfortable spot on a table or chair where she could see him and tell him to “stay put!” He would then sit and watch dozens – sometimes hundreds – of people scurrying to prepare for what he remembers as “doors,” the moment when the doors of an event are opened.

Carey spent his teen years, and later his college breaks, working his way through the many departments of his family business. He recalls sweeping floors, loading trucks, making signs, building props, glittering floats, swagging drapes, skirting stages, driving trucks, and helping to make phone calls for accounting. Once he graduated from college, he started working full time in the Special Events department under the guidance of his sister Carla Hargrove McGill. During his time there, he worked on some of the largest events in the country – and some events outside the country – including presidential inaugurations, economic summits, and White House press events with presidents, first ladies, and every other VIP type imaginable. Carey’s time at his family business helped him understand how important it is to integrate both the aesthetic and technical aspects of an event. He learned how to balance the intricate details involved in designing and managing a large project, how to deal with the unexpected, and how to deliver results even with extremely short turn around times. Most important, his experience has helped him understand what it means to provide exceptional, one of a kind, professional customer service.

In 2001, Carey left his family business to make a name for himself. As a result, Produce It Now, LLC was born. Carey teamed up with his brother Chris Hargrove, a seasoned event designer and planner, and devoted himself to becoming the “go-to” person for project implementation. Carey compares his time working with Chris to “going to a college for special event design. The time we spent working together was invaluable, and it gave me the kind of experience I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.” As Carey also recalls, “My brother Chris is a perfectionist, and I’m a realist, so our partnership was beneficial for both of us.”

After five years of working in close partnership with Chris Hargrove, Carey’s business spread its wings and took on a special niche of clientele. With its extensive knowledge of design and production, Produce It Now is perfectly suited to what Carey refers to as high-end VIP style events. “I love the red carpet treatment. Who doesn’t?” says Carey. “When clients know that they don’t have time to waste, they call me.” Carey loves his job and loves making his clients look great. He’s a backstage person who doesn’t need recognition: “I just want to make people happy.”

The fact that Carey is a Hargrove simply says it all. His stories about growing up in the industry demonstrates his deep commitment and love for his work, and it is quite apparent that he is proud to have been such an integral part of so many special events.

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