Marija Erzen Small File

Marija Erzen - Chair

Co-Owner & Director, Solutions 2

Specialist Areas

  • Custom Build
  • Sustainability within custom build
  • project Management

Marija co-founded design and build company Solutions2 in 2001 and offers an experienced voice for the 45% of ESSA members that are design and build contractors and privately-owned SMEs. A member since the association’s inception, she is a firm believer in the value of trade associations and is passionate about helping to drive industry recovery post Covid-19 alongside the ESSA ‘Use a Member’ campaign.


Marija Erzen Small File

Rob Brackstone - Vice Chair

Managing Director, ESM Ltd

Specialist Areas

  • Custom Design and Build
  • Experiential environments and spaces
  • Business Management 

Established in 1989, Rob has been Managing Director of design and build contractor ESM since 2005 working with agencies, exhibitors and marketing teams globally. ESSA’s support throughout the pandemic highlighted the common plight of members and confirmed Rob’s belief that the industry is significantly undervalued. His ambition is to bring businesses together within ESSA, to listen and learn from each other, share successes, communicate challenges and better explain the value of event suppliers and services to create a stronger future for all.,


Martin Cairns Small File

Martin Cairns

Managing Director, Beechwood Events

Specialist Areas

  • Floorcoverings
  • Sustainability and Recycling
  • Build-Up & Break-Down Logistics

Martin has over 30 years of industry experience as a floorcovering contractor and supplier to all sectors within events & exhibitions gaining invaluable insight and understanding of the industry from the perspective of each stakeholder. Having previously sat on the BECA council, served as an ESSA director for the last 12 years and proudly occupied the position of Chair in 2019 – 20, Martin is well placed to represent members views, opinions and challenges and ensure their voice is heard.


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Mark Clayton

Managing Director, InEvexco

Specialist Areas

  • Risk Management/Protection
  • Benefit Creation/Membership Value
  • Business Leadership

Mark has been arranging tailored insurance products protecting the exhibition sector, contractors, suppliers, organisers and exhibitors since 1992. During the pandemic he represented ESSA members and the EIA in talks with government representatives to explain the plight of the sector and the need to provide protection to facilitate the important by-product of a return of confidence as the sector re-opened. Mark has been a board member since 2010 with a break between 2012-2015. As many ESSA members are his clients, he can consider and represent their views from a privileged perspective.


D Edwards Board nom 18

Dan Edwards

Group Operations Director, Skyline Whitespace

Specialist Areas

  • Core Services  
  • Modular/Custom Build Stands   
  • Event Operations

Dan has worked in the events industry for over 20 years across all aspects - Organiser, Venue and Supplier. At the Whitespace group, he looks to deliver exceptional events for clients across core services, modular, custom build, brand activation and digital. In his role as group operations director, he works with numerous suppliers and is passionate about ESSA’s commitment to providing a voice for suppliers of the events sector. Collaboration, community and best practice are essential, and ESSA provides a superb platform for this to take place.



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John Robson

Managing Director, Aztec Event Services

Specialist Areas:

  • Technical production services
  • Business management systems

John is the managing director of Aztec Event Services and an ex-Chair of ESSA. Having led Aztec through a management buyout in 2006, his company has become a leading supplier of AV and technical services to the UK events industry. He is well known for his uncompromising attitudes towards quality of service and is on a mission with ESSA to improve standards throughout the industry, especially with regard to sustainability and diversity. 


Jason Stead Small File 1

Jason Stead

Executive Vice President, GES - EMEA Exhibitions

Specialist Areas

  • Strategy
  • Change Management
  • Procurement and Supply Chain

Jason has experience across multiple sectors with blue chip businesses (Automotive, Energy, TV, Events) starting his career in Procurement and Supply Chain specialisms before moving into bigger Operations/Client Experience leadership roles, and latterly in C -Suite positions with GES.

Jason is an approachable ESSA board member and always willing to share insights that may help fellow ESSA members.  He is a creative pragmatist at heart and enjoys the challenges of strategy definition and deployment.  Jason is a huge advocate of sustainability and developing new opportunities for talent within our industry.


Liz Turner Small file

Garcia Newell

Director, Business Development, Europe, DSV Solutions

 Specialist Areas

  • Event and exhibition Logistics
  • Customer service
  • Business Development

I started in logistics in 1989 later moving to RE Rogers UK Ltd and Britannic International Exhibition Services in an operations capacity. I joined DSV over 20 years ago during which time I have been part of numerous industry groups including the AEO’s contractor working group, board member at contractor association AEC, ESSA’s Diversity & Inclusion working group and many more. My ambition as an ESSA board member is to help create greater awareness of services and suppliers and our importance to the exhibitions industry.


Alex Bailey Small File

Alexandra Bailey

Managing Director, Creative8 Ltd

 Specialist Areas

  • ConsultanCY

Alexandra co-founded Creative8 over 14 years ago which specialises in exhibition stand design and build. The company prides itself on always offering something special to clients, a value that Alexandra extends to ESSA. Passionate about the industry, ESSA provides the perfect platform for her to communicate the challenges stand contractors face and help guide continual growth and positive change within the industry.


Hannah Jardine Ignition 200x200

Hannah Jardine

Business Manager, Ignition DG

Specialist Areas

  • Sustainability
  • Events, Exhibitions and Experiences

Hannah is Business Manager for women-owned events, exhibitions and experience company, Ignition and Group Business Manager for Ignition’s parent company Istoria Group. Ignition is a champion of sustainability and a winner of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development. Hannah also looks after Ignition’s multiple ISO Standard certifications.

Hannah chairs the ESSA Diversity and Inclusivity Working Group and is Vice Chair of the Cross-Association Diversity and Inclusivity Working Group. Hannah’s aim is to bring new strategies and fresh perspectives to the table and to make membership more meaningful – and inclusive - for all.


Rob Brackstone Small File


Director, OpsShaper



Lou has experience in several roles and businesses within the exhibition industry from venue manger to operations director and MD of EventShaper. More recently, Lou founded OpsShaper offering training and consultancy to the operational community. An active ESSA member since 2015, Lou has been championing the adoption of a proactive approach to solve industry issues and believes that the wealth of knowledge and experience within the ESSA community will lead to positive change.


Hayley Ashenden Small File

Hayley Ashenden

Founder & Operations Director, Expose Designs

Specialist Areas

  • Event Operations
  • Brand PR

The impact of the pandemic has shown us all how passionate, resilient and determined the people of our great industry really are. I have no doubt that we will come back stronger than ever, and I would like to play my part in supporting that. Being a business owner and regularly working on site, I feel well placed to be a positive voice for stand contractors and our valued suppliers. I believe in action over policies and doing over talking!





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The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) is a trade body representing the very best contractors and suppliers of goods and services to the UK’s thriving events industry.

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