The managing director of Clarion Events – energy & resources, talks venue availability, international travel and his Kop season ticket.
What is the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?
I think in the UK, since the loss of Earls Court, it’s probably the lack of venue space in the busy Spring and Autumn slots. We need to find another way of scheduling or building our shows so we can increase the amount of events we are all actually running in a week. If we can do this the organisers, contractors and venues should all be able to make more money.
What are the three things you would change in the industry?
I would disqualify 1. Reed, 2. UBM and 3. CloserStill from the annual Sticky Wicket competition so Clarion had a chance. Mind you, the Mash/Confex team would probably still have that ‘temp’ playing for them who’d just finished the Indian Premier League as the top scorer. Why not stick Wednesday 11 July 2018 in your diary and come down and see if this is the case?
Which speaker has most impressed you at an exhibition and why?
My favourite speaker at the moment is Grant Leboff. Look him up if you haven’t seen him. He paints a really good picture of the current digital environment people live in and I see this as a massive opportunity for the face-to-face medium and the industry we are part of to break through this and really connect people.
Which member of the industry is least likely to get a round in first?
Trevor Foley or Mark Blair. I’ve never seen them get a drink in.
Where is the best place for a nightcap and what would it be?
Broad Street with the DSEI gang. And I don’t care what it is as long as Fish, Mini or Steve Baker are buying.
What’s the worst idea you have seen at an exhibition?
Ask Simon Mills as he’s spent a career collecting these!
Japanese but certainly not Nobu. I didn’t like that. Probably Tsunami with Maya Mhatre, James Bissett and Laura Trotman.
Most prized possession?
My Kop season ticket for Liverpool. I was on the waiting list for 14 years – the same amount of time as I was at UBM!
What’s your karaoke song of choice?
Not sure but it’s probably a duet with Simon Mills, if he’s still speaking to me.
Who would play you in a movie?
Err…does Heston Blumenthal do movies?
Who is your hero/inspiration?
Emma Barrett. I still can’t believe how quickly she got on the AEO Board. Well done Emma, great work!
What’s your favourite country to visit?
I’m fortunate enough to have travelled extensively doing events. That’s one of the great things about this industry. I’ve been all across Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Middle East and Africa and now in my new role I’ve even got an event in Australia in Melbourne which is one city I’ve never been to. But, if I had to choose a favourite country, and I know it sounds cheesy, and no I didn’t vote for Brexit, but there’s something for me about coming home. It’s the mix of family, friends, the people, the city but that view out of the window on the fly in at dawn along the Thames gets me every time.
Biggest achievement/proudest moment in the industry?
Maybe what the Confex gang and I did 2005-2010 building the show up and making it good and relevant again. Or what we’ve done on DSEI over the last seven year, where we have taken a product that was already OK and have developed it so it’s absolutely head and shoulders above anything else out there. It’s got very strong NPS scores, phenomenal rebook, great team, a sector that plans by it, VIPs that swear by it and a government that values, recognises and supports it. Just like with Confex it’s borne out of a simple belief that in an increasingly virtual and digital world, people will come together for strong content, planned networking, the right business opportunities and a great experience. EN