I got into the event industry because I wanted to do something completely different. I had spent over 15 years working in the business and industry sector for Compass Group and when the opportunity came along to run Express Cafes the timing for me was right to make a career change.
I have worked here since I started at Express Cafes in April 2009.
I was attracted to this particular role because it looked exciting and challenging. I was attracted to a new industry and we are fortunate to work with some great clients and fantastic venues. My first introduction to the events industry was our contract at Twickenham stadium, the scale of what we did there amazed me.
Not many people know that I know all the words to The Sugarhill Gang’s Rappers Delight (the long version).
My worst experience at an event was Great Yorkshire Show and Suffolk Show being cancelled after just one day due to rain and mud. A lot of work went into both events setting them up in poor conditions and to be told the show is cancelled after one day is devastating for us and the visitors who were looking forward to it. In both cases we had trouble pulling trailers out of the mud and were having to use the biggest tractors to help us.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s not to panic when things go wrong. I am fortunate to have a great team around me and whatever logistical and operational challenges are thrown their way they seem to always find a suitable solution.
The best event I’ve been involved in was the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in 2010. We vinyl-wrapped all our trailers in The Ryder Cup colours and they looked great. Despite the very difficult conditions, readers may recall it rained so hard that an extra day was added to the competition so it could be completed and we did a great job. It was amazing to see Graeme McDowell win the cup for a Europe win by a one point margin on the extra day when the sun actually shone.
If I could do it all over again I would start in the event industry even earlier than I did. I am a comparative latecomer to the industry and feel that I could have contributed more had I started earlier.
The one thing I can’t stand is rain and mud. We’ve had so much rain this summer and the weather has affected many events throughout the country.
Outside of work I spend my time generally keeping fit with plenty of running, cycling and gym work. I have also recently completed a few duathlons, I’m not quite ready for a triathlon yet.
If money were no object I’d buy a helicopter so that I don’t have to drive 50,000 miles a year, although this probably wouldn’t be any good for my carbon footprint.
The one thing I can’t do my job without is my wife, she keeps things going at home while I am away which means I don’t have to worry.
If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be Michael Eavis. Glastonbury is such a great event and he gets to meet some interesting people from the music industry.
If I ruled the event industry I would reduce the concession rates that companies such as ours have to pay event organisers.
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