“We are excited about the acquisition of BKA, which will expand upon our overall offerings, add to our capacity, complement our creative and production service offerings, and strengthen our global presence to design, produce and execute world-class event experiences,” said Maureen Ryan-Fable, CEO Americas at FIRST.
“Our two companies share similar cultures and values – putting clients and our people first in all we do. We pride ourselves on both delivering outstanding service and experience to our clients.”
FIRST, which celebrates its 20-year anniversary this year, specializes in the design and delivery of high-quality, live events for some of the world’s most iconic companies. The acquisition will further complement FIRST’s offerings in strategy, concept development and creative direction, which are strengths of BKA.
“We have known and worked with FIRST for many years, and we have a shared vision of becoming the best in the industry,” said Jeff Kalpak, BKA President. “We believe the unification of our two companies will uniquely position us as a world-class creative and strategic partner that creates unforgettable event experiences that bring client visions to life.”
The acquisition also increases FIRST’s total workforce to approximately 185 employees worldwide, approximately 125 of whom are based in New York City. This summer, BKA will relocate its 30 New York-based employees to FIRST’s offices on 630 Ninth Avenue. Ms. Ryan-Fable will continue in her role as CEO Americas at FIRST, and Mr. Kalpak will assume the role of President and will join the FIRST Group Board.
Both companies have been recipients of the Crain’s New York “Best Places to Work” list for the several years, and also have common accolades from a number of professional organizations including Event Marketer’s Agency IT List, Special Events Magazine Top 50 Event Companies, BizBash Event Style Awards and more. Both Ryan-Fable and Kalpak have been inducted into the “Hall of Legends” in the International Live Events Assosciation (ILEA) New York Metro Chapter, an honor that recognizes event industry colleagues for their leadership, exemplary achievements and tenure in the special events industry. Additionally, FIRST has also been recognized by the British Government and awarded Investors in People Gold Status in the United Kingdom.
About Barkley Kalpak Agency (BKA)
Barkley Kalpak Agency (BKA) is an award-winning creative and experiential agency focused on providing event strategy, design, planning and production. For more than 25 years, top corporate brands have turned to BKA as a trusted partner to create experiences that connect emotionally, flow seamlessly and deliver messages intentionally. BKA provides creative solutions for experiential events including: business meetings, conferences, product launches, press events, marketing activations, NewFronts, upfronts, galas and awards shows.