Meet an Event Organizer
Gary Fitz – Roy is the Managing Director and founder of Expertise Events. Gary founded Expertise Events 25 years ago and organises both trade and consumer shows. Expertise Events organises SILMO Sydney, SMPTE, The International Jewellery Fair and The Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference
What courses did you study to become an Event Organizer? And tell us a bit about your current role?
I trained on the job with my first employer who taught me about event sales and logistics. I also completed a marketing diploma at North Sydney TAFE which I undertook while working full-time. When I was in my early twenties in 1990, I founded my own event management company, Expertise Events. Back then there were no built centres as we see now, so we used showgrounds, wool stores and even circus tents! 27 years later, and I’m still in the position of Managing Director of Expertise Events, which is thriving.
My role is to lead and manage a team of experts who organise over 30 craft and trade events per year, throughout Australia and New Zealand. I personally attend most events to ensure we deliver a high-quality event for those who exhibit as well as a fun and educational experience for our visitors. For me, attending events is crucial to creating ongoing successful events as it’s where you get a feel for the market, the pain points, the good points and the opportunities to build into future events – we are a people business that works on face-to-face contact so it’s important we lead by example. I travel to overseas events to learn what other event organisers are doing from an innovation point of view and to see what we can adapt and adopt for our events here in Australia and New Zealand.
What does an Event Organizer do on a day-to day basis?
We deliver qualified face-to-face opportunities. Our main roles are to sell exhibition space, organise venue and service suppliers, assist our exhibitors to prepare well for the event and get the most out of the ‘live experience’, market the event to existing and potential exhibitors and visitors, and finally, manage the logistics of each event; freight, travel, venue logistics etc.
What do you think are the skills an Event Organizer should have?
- Ability to plan, prioritise and manage an extensive, multi-layered program,
- Sense of urgency sufficient to recognise the need to move quickly is an inherent facet of the Exhibition industry
- Ability to maintain a high level of initiative, enthusiasm and drive throughout the intense work peaks and troughs of a busy event program
- Strong communication and project management skills as well as relationship building skills
- A strong ability to manage and read people of all ages and nationalities
What are the three things you absolutely love about your job?
- I enjoy educating exhibitors on the key initiatives to implement in order to have a successful event. I have written numerous books and training manuals to help exhibitors grow their businesses via live events
- I love attending live events, knowing me and my team have created each event from nothing by literally selling four lines on a piece of paper and making it into a live, interactive experience that has exhibitors and visitors coming back for more each year
- Coming up with innovative solutions to problems we face that are cost effective – in particular, how to set up a floor plan so that everything is covered and runs smoothly and creates the right environment for both visitors and exhibitors
What advice would you give students aspiring to work in the Event Management industry?
Aim to get as much practical, on the ground experience as you can while you are completing your studies. Nothing beats a real live experience where you have to make quick decisions and learn how to handle and pace yourself when you are on your feet all day.
Crawl before you walk – too many do a course and think they are now qualified. While a qualification is necessary and fundamental to understand the theory of event management, working in the field requires experience. Every event is different and requires an experienced mind to create and implement an event strategy, specialised to each show.
What is next on your career horizon?
I’m personally looking to step back from working in the business so that I have more time to work on the business. Most live events occur on weekends so I don’t get to spend much time with my family. I have other business opportunities and more books that I would like to write. However I think ‘show man’ is in my blood so I will always want to show up at our events and check in with our team and customers, to make sure it all runs smoothly.
Thank You, Gary for sharing your story with training.com.au