Damion Angus, managing director of Montgomery, on bad navigation, squeezing into a Fiat 500 and celebrating the company’s 120th birthday.
What is the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?
Talent, and how we attract it to our industry. We need to be out there shouting about what we do and enticing school leavers, graduates and skilled individuals from other industries to come and join us. The AEO has talent as one of its core pillars and is actively looking to achieve this.
What are the three things you would change in the industry?
- Improving the visitor experience. I am still not sure we truly get into our visitors shoes and experience the journey they go through attending one of our shows.
- Transparency about visitor numbers and the acceptance of quality over quantity.
- More support from government. Be that through the Department of International Trade (DIT) when looking to run shows abroad or having senior ministers properly embrace our industry in the UK.
Which speaker has most impressed you at an exhibition?
In terms of passion, it would have to be the legendary ocean researcher Sylvia Earle. She spoke about the decline of our seas with such emotion and feeling that it has left a lasting impression.
Which member of the industry is least likely to get a round in first?
While our industry has a number of challenges, failing to get the first round in is not one of them.
Where is the best place for a nightcap and what would it be?
‘Bottles’ in Lagos on a Wednesday night has to be a contender. The frozen margaritas are legendary – just Ask some of our exhibitors!
What’s the worst idea you have seen at an exhibition?
I once worked on a consumer golf show where the trade association refused to allow exhibitors to sell any product. It was my first job in the industry and I don’t think I sold a stand for about three months.
Favourite restaurant – best dish?
Chez Marie in the French Alps.
Most prized possession?
It would have to be my bright green 1970 Fiat 500. All five of my family squeeze into it and whilst totally unreliable there is always a queue of people happy to give you a push start.
What’s your karaoke song of choice?
Living on a Prayer – minus the high notes and leather trousers.
What one thing do you do better than anyone else?
Sleep on the move. I can sleep almost anywhere.
Doughnuts. Especially the fresh ones you get at a fair.
Who would play you in a movie?
On the basis that Montgomery is a family business it would need to be Charlie Sheen, Michael Douglas or Kiefer Sutherland. I think Sandy (father and chairman) is more like Kirk than either Donald or Martin therefore I suppose it would have to be Michael Douglas.
Proudest moment (in and outside the industry)?
Inside the industry it would have to be the celebration of Montgomery’s 120th anniversary. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to work with such a great team of people. Outside the industry it would have to be watching my kids take on the world with such enthusiasm and energy.
What’s the best putdown you’ve heard in the industry?
Bryan Montgomery’s new PA, having had a rather tough first few days dealing with Bryan, got to the end of her first week of employment, stood on a table, and raised a toast to a bunch of senior directors declaring at the top of her voice, “Death to Montgomery!” She ended up lasting a number of years.
Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I learned to fly in my twenties, however my navigation skills were so appalling that I used to regularly get lost and end up in either Luton or Heathrow airspace. Where was Google Maps when I really needed it?
Worst item of clothing you own?
I recently went to Amsterdam and in the airport they were selling those colourful fleecy clog slippers. I bought them for the whole family although everyone but me refuses to wear them. I love my bright orange pair.
Describe the events industry.
Passionate, entrepreneurial and never lacking surprises.
Favourite place to go at the weekend?
I live near the River Thames and if in London head there every weekend.