Level5 Events By The Expo Group



More than just our name, Level5 Events by The Expo Group is a way of thinking about our clients and propelling them to greater levels of success. Innovation, imagination and creativity are the tools of our trade. We design strategic experiences and events to engage audiences in a whole new way.


Click to open these one-page recaps of our impact on these communities.

Auburn University

Johns Hopkins University

University of Kentucky

Virginia Tech

US Naval Academy

University of Illinois

University of Maryland


Sarah Winkler



With over 25 years of experience in event strategy and program design, Sarah creates long-term strategies that move audiences to deeper engagement. In addition to serving clients in industries as varied as corporate, national defense, and the professional sports fan experience, she has developed a nationally renowned university practice. Sarah has helped both public and private institutions realize the full potential of such milestone events as campaign launches, regional tours, centennial and sesquicentennial celebrations, and campus visit experiences.

Sarah co-founded Educe with JoAnn Peroutka in 2013 to focus on higher education. She has been published in national and regional press, has been a frequent speaker at professional association conferences, and has been recognized for her work by both PRSA and CASE. She is a graduate of Loyola University Maryland and achieved the rank of Certified Special Events Professional. Sarah chaired the 2017 CASE National Conference on Special Events and served on the 2014 CASE Summit Advisory Team.  She has recently completed her term on the CASE Industry Advisory Council and the board of Business Volunteers Maryland.

JoAnn Peroutka



Specializing in creative strategy and communications, JoAnn focuses on helping clients understand their most important audiences and how to engage with them successfully. She brings more than 25 years of experience as an expert in marketing for such diverse industries as commercial banking, sports marketing, and higher education. JoAnn has written for industry and institutional publications alike and has presented at conferences for the Public Relations Society of America, CASE, and the American Marketing Association.

She co-founded Educe with Sarah Winkler in 2013 to assist colleges and universities in creating long-view event strategies that are authentic, intentional, and effective. JoAnn holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, graduated from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College), and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She volunteers her time for initiatives focused on animal welfare and community health and wellness. She is an associate trustee on the board of Sheppard-Pratt Health Systems.

Michael Preston



Michael Preston, EVP, National Accounts, has dedicated his 20+ years in the communications industry to digging deeper and truly understanding the critical issues facing his clients. A passionate advocate for the power of face-to-face engagements, Michael has applied his background in journalism and media production to helping create successful engagement solutions for Sprint, Hospira and JP Morgan Chase in the corporate space.

Most recently, Michael helped guide The University of Chicago’s $4.5B capital campaign launch and the University of Washington’s $5B comprehensive campaign launch, and is currently partnering with the University of Florida on the public launch of their campaign scheduled for October 2017.

When not on the road with his clients, Michael and his family- wife Kim, sons Koby and Joe, and daughter Emma, love to tour baseball stadiums around the country.

Gary Wokas



Working on both the client and agency side with brands like Intel, Walmart, Chase, Dunkin’ Brands, National Association of Broadcasters, NACS and Prudential, Gary really understands what it takes to deliver a program on time, on budget and on message.

Gary’s been able to move the conversation beyond gear, using his unique insight into combining strategy, creative and his production knowledge, to create fully-integrated audience experiences.



Level5 Events helps forward thinking institutions craft their most inspiring stories and determine the best way to share those stories with their donors, alumni, faculty, students, staff and the local and global communities they impact.


Using the latest storytelling techniques, theatricality and technology, Level5 Events designs experiential programs that connect emotionally, deepen engagement and inspire actions.


From design through delivery, Level5 Events partners with schools to ensure coordination of every aspect of the project including audio/visual and media production.

“Level5 has helped us deliver programs in truly powerful and authentic ways.
From multiple in-person campaign events to a virtual Presidential Announcement, we hear over and over that the impact of our events, the clarity of our content and the professionalism of our delivery has risen to an entirely new level.”

- Grinnell College -

“I really enjoy partnering with you on these events, and I feel like this one took us to the next level.”

-Yale University-

“Can’t begin to thank you all for making it HAPPEN!
Thank YOU does NOT begin to capture it, but it’ll have to do. No words! Wow!

– University of Washington –

“This is absolutely one of the most amazing productions I have ever seen for a university. Wow.”

– University of Kentucky –

“From the initial conversation all the way through the actual kickoff, our experience with Level5 was Level 6!
When we say Go Gators, Go Greater, Level5 helped us Go Greater.”

– University of Florida –

“You not only set the standard for campaign launches, but you changed the entire perspective
on what an event should look like and how to capture storytelling in everything we do.”

– University of Illinois –

“Thanks to each of you for rallying together to create and implement an awesome Bicentennial Opening Ceremony event. I am receiving so many texts and emails thanking all of us and saying how impressed they were… it was all because our amazing teams came together and pulled this off.”

– The George Washington University –

“You were the right partner to create an authentic, memorable evening for our top donors and campaign volunteers. You accomplished what we asked with just the right level of professionalism, energy, passion and festivity. It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment for Auburn.”

– University of Illinois –

“From the load in to today it’s just absolutely amazing.
The confidence, the professionalism, hearing the schedule, the lack of problems
— it’s unlike anything I have ever experienced.”

– Virginia Tech –

University of Illinois Campaign Kickoff Moves People, Perceptions

The most ambitious campaign in the history of the University of Illinois featured an inspiring and memorable live event that left audiences proud, excited and committed. Our team is often called on to consult, collaborate, design and deliver high-end, high-touch events for collegiate institutions, and this project easily proved to showcase what U of I had to offer.

Level5 Events understands the challenges facing institutions of higher education in areas of fundraising, engagement and support:

  • Capital Campaign Launches and Concluding Events
  • Global and Regional Road Shows
  • Presidential Inaugurations
  • Alumni & Reunion Programming
  • High-Level Donor Events
  • Permanent Exhibits and Installations