Martin A.J. van Keken, Jr., founder & CEO of MVKA (est. 1989), is a third generation hospitality and special event professional. Educated and trained in Europe, Martin held an executive position within the family-owned company for more than 15 years prior to his emigration to Canada in 1983.
A founding member of the International Special Events Society (ISES) and the past President of its Pacific Northwest Chapter, Martin was the first Canadian-based International President of ISES and spearheaded the organization’s “Code of Ethics”. ISES was founded in 1987 to foster enlightened performance through education while promoting ethical conduct. ISES is an organization that works to join professionals, focusing on the “event as a whole” rather than its individual parts and ISES has over 4,000 members in 32 countries.
Under Martin’s leadership, MVKA has become an award winning company. MVKA for six consecutive years has been amongst the Top 50 Event Planning Companies worldwide featured in Special Events Magazine. MVKA received the ISES Esprit Award for the “Best Event with a Legacy” for the outstanding production of the United Chinese Enrichment Services Society variety show, a for-broadcast production held at General Motors Place. MVKA has also won numerous awards including Gala Awards from Special Event Magazine for “Best Theatrical Entertainment Production” and “Most Outstanding Spectacle” for the Inaugural Celebration for GM Place, as well as the BC Event Award for “Most Outstanding Event $100,000 – $300,000” for the 2010 Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress Closing Reception.
Martin enjoys contributing to many of Vancouver’s charity and fundraising events. Annual contributions have included the BC Children’s Hospital Annual Crystal Ball and Telethon Launch, The Vancouver Symphony’s Lover’s Ball, the North Shore Family Services Winter Ball, The BC Cancer Society Diamond Ball, Southridge Secondary School’s Annual Fundraising Event, and The Canuck Place Children’s Hospice Gift of Time Gala. Martin also sits on the board of Canuck Place, a palliative care facility in British Columbia for children living with life-limiting illnesses.
Throughout his career, Martin has served and continues to serve as a keynote speaker at various international industry conventions and seminars for the Society of Incentive and Travel Executives (SITE), The Special Event, Meeting Professional International (MPI), ISES, and the Canadian Special Event & Meetings Expo. He has been featured on Singapore television, BC television, UK and Dutch television, and in several media publications.