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Rose Parade 2013: Newbie pro float builder wins Director's Trophy

PHOTOS: Rose Parade float maker

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

The Rose Parade's first new professional float builder in nearly two decades won the Director's Trophy Tuesday.

Charles Meier's float for the city of San Gabriel's centennial anniversary, "Celebrating Our Journey,"  featured mission bells, dancers, nodding oxen and woven baskets overflowing in grapes. The Director's Trophy honors outstanding artistic merit in design and floral presentation.

PHOTOS: 2013 Rose Parade

Meier, 34, was recently profiled in The Times. Meier broke into the float-building business with his Paradiso Parade Floats firm when a smaller company went out of business. For decades, three companies -- Phoenix, Fiesta and Artistic Entertainment Services -- have dominated the local float-building business. Last year, the three firms combined built 38 of the 44 floats.

As a newcomer, Meier was at a disadvantage in trying to drum up clients. He waited for months waiting to hear back from possible customers. He didn't have a contract despite cold calls to 90 prospective clients.

Rose Parade 2013: List of float award winners

Meier's business partners were thinking about moving on when Meier finally got the call back from San Gabriel.

He still keeps the voicemail from the city, telling him that he was hired.


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-- Rosanna Xia and Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: Volunteers help with the City of San Gabriel float at the Rose Bowl on Sunday. Credit: Christina House / For The Times

An earlier version of this post listed Charles Meier's first name as Chris.

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