My Event World - Steve Richards

Steve Richards, event director of the soon-to-debut International Outdoor Event Expo (IOEX), on owning his own art gallery, launching shows and having 25 years experience in the business.

My Event World - Steve Richards
My Event World - Steve Richards

I got into the events industry because I had experienced trade exhibitions as a young sales person, so when an opportunity came my way I jumped at it. It was love at first sight.

I have worked here since last year. I was approached by UBM to direct the International Outdoor Event Expo (IOEX), a new outdoor event production exhibition launching to the industry. I have been in the exhibition industry since 1986 – joining Blenheim in 1989 – but have worked mostly independently since 1995.

I was attracted to this particular role because it is a stand-alone event, recognising the scale and scope of the outdoor event industry as well as being the perfect complimentary partner for Confex. Together they offer a major sourcing and networking opportunity for everyone involved in the events industry.

Not many people know that I have my own art gallery.

My worst experience at an event was nearly being lynched (justifiably) by a group of exhibitors for creating the worst positioned temporary hall ever seen. This was to house 70 exhibitors at Harrogate and was an extension from the slope at the back of the Majestic Hotel. It looked great on the floor plans but I quickly discovered you have to think far more 3D when planning temporary structures. The visitors practically needed to use oxygen to climb the 35 steps to get in.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s the small details that make the difference.

The best event I’ve been involved in was the first years of the January Furniture Show (now Interiors) launched during the last recession it was great to get a whole industry pulling in the same direction.

If I could do it all over again I would do nothing different, I have enjoyed every aspect to date.

The one thing I can’t stand is arrogance.

Outside of work I spend my time entertaining the kids, climbing and sailing.

If money were no object I would be writing this from the deck of my 60ft yacht instead of an office.

The one event I will never miss is Confex of course.

The next 12 months will be as challenging as the last, but exciting to see the new exhibition taking shape.

If I could switch places with anyone else in the industry it would be no-one, I like who I am and what I do.

If I ruled the event industry I would decree that all exhibitors read their manual, all visitors increase their attendance time by 50 per cent and some very talented event organisers stop making it look so damned easy when most of us know it isn’t.

IOEX will launch at International Confex from 6 - 8 March 2012.

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