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The Event Guys

Ep 01 // Rick Portwood // Display Group

The Event Guys June 1, 2021



Rick and The Event Guys discuss:

• The importance of finding & hiring the right people
• Building & managing a successful team
• Creating & implementing a system of management processes

They talk about music, the Bad Boys Pistons team from the late 80’s and a love for Downtown Detroit. It’s a fun, great conversation and Rick shares a ton of great insight and wisdom for entrepreneurs and Event Professionals.


Rick earned his BBA from Northwood University, majoring in Advertising, Marketing and Business Management.

Rick founded Display Group in 1991. He first gained experience in the display industry after working for a cousin who owned Display Creations, a business located in downtown Detroit since 1922. That business was known for providing display items for the famous window decor of the well-known Hudson’s department store. Following his cousin’s retirement, Rick decided to start his own company and the Display Group was born in Royal Oak, Michigan. In 1992, he moved the company into Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, operating there for 23 years. In 2015 Rick purchased a building attached to the renowned Packard Plant on the east side of downtown Detroit, and moved Display Group to their new home.

Beginning in 1992, Rick has purchased and renovated seven buildings in Detroit. In 2016, the three Corktown buildings were sold to Bedrock Real Estate. In 2020, another historic Packard building was added bringing total square footage to just under 500,000 square feet.

Display Group specializes in the design and creation of both temporary and permanent environments for a diverse group of clients. Display Group has perfected a core group of competencies for the event production industry. With an emphasis on quality and service, we offer our clients turn-key solutions for any event.

In 2015, Display Group started DG-3D, a digital creation studio. DG-3D creates custom properties for exhibit and experiential environments for clients throughout the country.

In 2018, Display Group formed a joint venture with Fairway Productions to create AVL Creative, a live event company handling Audio, Video and Lighting. In 2020, AVL Creative started bldg22, a new sound stage to host virtual events and shows.

In 2020, AVL Creative started bldg22, a live event broadcast studio inside Display Group’s facility. This state-of-the-art studio has produced a full range of virtual events including press conferences, book launches, award shows, corporate meetings and talk shows.

Rick is a recipient of the Crain’s Detroit Business 40 under 40 award, as well as Northwood University’s Outstanding Alumni Award. Previously, Rick served on the Karmanos Cancer Partners board, and currently serves as the Treasurer of the Pewabic Pottery Board.

Rick’s enjoys travel, swimming, water polo and live music.