About The Team

Meet the team behind your event:

Nicole T. Samolis, CSEP

President and Creative Director

I stumbled upon the Events Industry in 1996 while looking for a career change when my youngest son, Sean, headed off to school with his big brother Matthew. Not knowing what I wanted to do, I bought a couple of books to get the ideas rolling. Through that process, I discovered the up-and-coming industry of Special Events. This appealed to my love for gatherings with friends and family, my creativity as a fashion designer, and the challenge of business from the 9 years I’d spent in retail management. My first company, The Events Company, was born and since then I have spent time planning events for clients in all the other venues across CNY, the US, and even Cancun.

When planning events in other cities across the US, we would find unique venues that had great ambiance and got our clients and their guests out of the traditional conference ballrooms. I longed to have something similar in Syracuse and another idea started to percolate and a new business plan started to be formulated. I wanted a venue that was not only unique in its ambiance, but provided the event planning and offered exceptional food with exceptional service. We would customize each event to the needs of the client and the experience they wanted to create or allowed us to create for them.

As we crunched numbers, saw the increased demand for unique event space, and the need for more venue space in Syracuse, we realized that we’d be crazy not to pursue our idea – although I think everyone else thought we were crazy for pursuing it. What people may or may not know about me is that once I decide to do something, I will persist until I achieve it.

Fast forward from the germination of the idea and, voila! SKY Armory. The ‘voila!’ consisted of a lot of blood, sweat, and sleepless nights and the support of my father, whom I lovingly refer to as ‘the bank of Dad,’ for if it weren’t for his support, guidance, and belief in the project, the idea of SKY would have remained only an idea.

I’m so proud of the amazing team that I have; it makes coming to work every day such fun. I’m thankful for the clients who chose SKY Armory for their event and I promise that we will continue to wow! you and your guests with our beautiful space, fabulous food, funky cocktails, and our friendly event team.

Cheers.

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Amy Preble

Sales Manager

Before coming to SKY in 2013, I was the Senior Sales & Catering Manager at Vernon Downs Casino where I assisted in opening a 5 million dollar expansion and leading the sales team. Prior to that, I worked in Sales/Wedding Planning at the Hotel Syracuse. I worked with clients on designing menus, cakes, floor plans and the overall timeline for their event. I also assisted in helping clients find vendors and managed the overall planning experience. Before that, I lived in New Orleans, LA for eight years and worked at Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House in Sales where I planned weddings, corporate and social events. I started as a back waiter at their sister location, Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse, and worked my way up to sales manager for their largest location. I officially became hooked on sales, food and beverage after that. 

Everything about SKY made me want to be a part of it! Farm-to-table food, customized bars, turn-key service that ensures a flawless event, and the idea that nothing will ever be the same from one event to the next. My job is to inform people about how unique and different this property is and that there is nothing like it in Syracuse. I break down each of the details and let clients know of all their options. I love working with all different people and seeing that we can execute everybody's vision. I am so happy to be a part of something with an approach that is all about the client and what they are looking for. I love getting out there and just talking about SKY. My passion for the industry and SKY shows the minute I start talking about it.

In my free time, I teach spinning and love working out at Metro Fitness in downtown Syracuse. I also spend as much time with my family and friends and have just signed up for my first half marathon!

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Chelsea Brodhead

Event Planner

I have spent my entire professional career in the events industry, working both as a salesperson and an event coordinator. I am a naturally perceptive person who will listen to your vision for your event and then apply my creativity and experience to bring that vision to life. I also believe that outstanding customer service is the foundation of true hospitality, and will do what it takes to make sure you have the best experience possible.

I received my degree in Hotel, Resort, and Tourism Management from Paul Smith’s College, the College of the Adirondacks. But I am a native of Syracuse, and I am a firm believer in the part SKY plays in revitalizing our beautiful downtown. In fact, as a resident of downtown Syracuse, you could say that I am all in! 

In my spare time I enjoy baking, crafting, playing golf, and spending time with my friends and family. I also love spending time outdoors, especially when I can make time to take a trip back to the north country.

I look forward to working with you to create your ideal event.

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Jennifer Christopher

Decor and Production Manager

I got my floral design training at a shop during the summers of high school and college. After college I started a Marketing career, which was successful, but I missed the artistic and creative side of floral design and interior decorating.  After getting married and having kids, going back to floral was the perfect fit for earning a bit of part-time money while staying home to raise my kids until they reached school age.  I heard about SKY Armory in its beginning stages and that they were seeking a floral designer. I couldn't be more proud to fill that position. 

My role at SKY is to help our clients take the vision for their event out of their minds and translate it into our space.  I am a guide, with the help of our production staff, vast decoration inventory, floral talent, and dedication to detail, to allow our clients to realize all of their event’s decor potential.  It's truly satisfying to hear clients say that their event was "everything they dreamed of and more."

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Alyssa Kessler

Project Manager

After working for eight years (doing everything from bartending to marketing to coordinating a volleyball league) at a local family-owned chain of restaurants, I was ready to pursue my passion for event planning. I jumped at the chance to take on an internship at The Events Company. What began as an unpaid internship quickly turned into the start of a new career!

Being able to work for both The Events Company and SKY Armory is such a unique and amazing opportunity. I love being able to have my hands in so many different projects! Event management evolves juggling a lot of moving parts, but that's what makes it exciting. Coordinating all the details of a project and seeing it come together is so rewarding, I love watching people react and interact with the designs we've produced. My favorite part is playing with unique elements to create innovative and memorable experiences whether it’s a corporate event or an outdoor wedding.

Outside of work I love spending as much time as possible with my family and friends, traveling, and attending sporting events (Go ‘Cuse!). I also keep busy both playing and coaching volleyball.

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Janet Czornij

Event Coordinator

I have always worked in the restaurant industry.  I feel this type of customer service has given me an opportunity to thrive and to make an impact on people's lives.  I've sincerely always enjoyed all aspects of the business; my position now at SKY gives me so much more satisfaction.  Working closely with the clients really makes it possible to make an everlasting impression, personally and professionally.  This establishment is full of women and men that I look up to and constantly learn from.  It is a busy environment here at SKY, and I'm honored to be a part of it.

I have a beautiful little, growing family at home that fills my days when I am not working here!

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Sarah Gianni

Event Coordinator

After graduating with my Masters in special education, I took on the teaching world for a little while. Not too long after, I was fortunate enough to have SKY Armory come into my picture, where I started out as a dining attendant. I quickly fell in love with everything that SKY Armory is and does, and wanted more.

I have now taken on the exciting role of an event coordinator. It is very fulfilling to use my skills/assets from being a teacher, and apply them to all aspects of being an event coordinator. I'm very grateful that I get the opportunity to work with a fantastic team of people to help put together truly unforgettable events here!

When I'm not at SKY, I squeeze in as much family & friend time as I can. I also love going for runs/working out, and finding new adventures to go on!

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Amy Bleier Long

Social Media and Marketing Manager

I joined SKY Armory in December 2013. I had moved back to Syracuse a year and half earlier and began freelance writing for a local magazine, but was looking for something additional and preferably in an office with other people (freelancing can be a little solitary). Before moving back, I worked in New York at several national magazines including O, The Oprah Magazine, Traditional Home, and Real Simple as a home market editor. (A home market editor produces and writes décor and design stories and predicts trends in home décor.) I often miss the creative energy of photo shoots and being around interior and product designers, photographers, and stylists, but working at SKY helps fill that space, because I constantly get to witness and share the creative talents of our culinary team and our design/floral team. The modern New York loft-style aesthetic speaks to me and I love seeing each different vision come to life.

As a writer, my experience is more in storytelling, so that’s how I approach all our social media and marketing efforts.  To me, the experiences we create at SKY tell their own story enhanced by the design visuals, flavors of the from-scratch food, lighting, music and other entertainment, and the service of our proactive team. Whether it’s the story of a company and its employees, the story of a couple in love, or the story of life and its special milestones, we try to wow our clients and guests. I love being able to spread the word about SKY and share what we work so hard to do.

I don’t have much free time (I still freelance and I have a family that includes two young daughters), but I enjoy traveling, languages, music, volunteering, and learning new things.

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Lina Abu-Manneh

Social Media & Marketing Associate

What I knew for sure, at 15 years of age, is that English Literature would be my major in college. It was my favorite subject in school, and I always enjoyed writing; I love the quest for just the right word or the puzzlement over which way to arrange my sentence. After I graduated, I stumbled upon a career in Marketing, and found out that my love for writing and a career in Marketing is a match made in corporate heaven.  After I had my twins in 2011, I decided to be a stay-at-home mom. Fast forward 5 years, and I couldn’t wait to go back to a career that I thoroughly enjoyed. I started at The Events Company as a Marketing intern and was hired shortly afterwards. Here, I do what I love. I write blogs, social media posts, newsletters and press releases. When I am not working, I’m usually home with my husband and kids, who I beg to stop growing so fast!

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Meet Our Culinary Team