Martin Cairns 2018 photo

Martin Cairns - Chairman

Commercial Director

Reeds Carpets

Martin has worked in the events/exhibition industry for over 20 years holding the position of commercial director since 1999 at Reeds Carpets who have represented member interests on the BECA Council and then the ESSA Board for over 15 years. Martin has been on the Board for 4 years and has drawn great pleasure out of contributing to the strategic direction of ESSA as a fledgling association and helping it navigate a course through climatic economic conditions since its creation. Martins role at Reeds Carpets is very hands on; he is often on site, enabling him great insight into industry issues from both a supplier and contractor perspective.

Lou Kiwanuka - Vice Chair



As owner and founder of EventShaper, Lou has run some of the largest and technically challenging events in the industry during my 20 years in the business as Operations, Show Owner, Venue Manager and Contractor. As an active ESSA member for 5 years, Lou has been at the heart of the CDM discussion and other topics raised at the Health & Safety working group. Always trying to ensure practical solutions to the challenges that we face as an industry.  Lou is looking forward to the opportunity to bring a different experience to the table during her time on the ESSA Board.

John Robson - Treasurer

Managing Director


Having landed in the exhibition industry by accident 15 years ago, John found himself running an IT supplier to the industry that in time, he is proud to say, has become one of the industry’s leading AV suppliers. Aztec were founding members of the AEC, subsequently merging with BECA to form ESSA .John has been on the ESSA Board since inception becoming Chairman in 2011. John has been on the Event Industry Alliance (EIA) Board since 2009 as was 2012 Chair. John’s view of association life is that together we can make the industry a better, safer environment for all suppliers by setting and developing best practice whilst also maintaining parity of voice with organisers and venues.

Chris Criscione 

Managing Director

Equinox Design.

Chris has worked in the Exhibition Industry for 40 years, first as a Designer with three large design agencies and then in 1983 he decided to start Equinox Design with business partner Jim Reilly. Chris is MD of Equinox which is a privately owned company but he still keeps his finger on the pulse by keeping some key clients and looking after their day to day needs. Chris was previously on the BECA Council and became President for 2 years. The exhibition industry is set very deep within his heart, and he hopes it continues to do so for many more years.

Mark Clayton

Managing Director

InEvexco Ltd.

Mark is MD of InEvexco and over the last 22 years has worked with contractors and suppliers within the event and exhibition industry, arranging bespoke specialised insurance and providing risk management advice. Having previously served on the board 5 years ago, Mark was proud to take the opportunity and be involved in the structure and strategy of the association when he was voted back onto the board in 2015.  Mark has the greatest passion for the events industry as a whole and has endeavoured to support the companies and associations within it. Over the years Mark has promoted membership of ESSA to potential members believing in the adage ‘together we are stronger’.

Martin Cottrell

Managing Director

A1 Event & Exhibition Cleaners

MD of family run business, A1 Event & Exhibition Cleaners Martin has 25 years experience in the exhibition/events world with an in-depth understanding of how to operate in a modern and continually evolving industry having worked at numerous exhibitions and outdoor events. Martin joined the BECA Council in 2004, was a member of the AEC/BECA merger team and an ESSA Board member since its inception in 2008. Martin is a member of the AEV/AEO/ESSA Sustainability Working Group and is keen to remain on the ESSA Board to ensure that the voice of the smaller run/family business continues to be represented on the ESSA Board.

D Edwards Board nom 18

Dan Edwards

Operations Director

Mash Media Group

I’ve worked in the Events sector since 2003 starting off working for a creative agency on live events before moving to Mash Media in 2005. Although leaving the nest twice (to Button Group and Epsom Downs Racecourse), and subsequently returning twice, I’ve been with Mash Media for over 10 years. My experience and position as Operations Director at Mash Media gives me a rounded view of the industry. I’m a huge believer of best practice, information sharing, development and new blood (into the industry), we are all part of a great industry and working together is how we make it better.

Andrew Kennedy


Perton Signs

Andrew is a Director of Perton Signs Ltd and he has 28 years of graphics experience within the event industry. He was a council member of BECA for 4 years and was involved with the merger that created ESSA and continued to serve as a Director of ESSA for 2 years. During this time he saw many changes and opportunities and was very impressed with the way that ESSA had developed and grown in the 2 years he wasn’t directly involved. Andrew sees on a daily basis how ESSA makes a difference and he enjoys very much being a part of the team that continues to drive ESSA into the future.

Steve Comar

Director of Operations

Freeman Ltd UK

Over his 30-year career associated to the exhibition industry, Steve has worked with numerous clients to help deliver cutting-edge brand experiences across the European region. Career highlights include managing a team of 38 professionals to deliver more than 150 events annually, with a particular focus on efficiency and innovation. At Freeman, Steve’s primary role is to oversee all operations related to graphics, fabrication, and show site delivery. As Director of Operations he is particularly focused on developing best-in-class solutions that elevate the exhibitions industry as a whole and improve the experience for venues, organisers, exhibitors and visitors alike.

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Jason Stead

Managing Director


Jason is MD for GES UK and Middle East bringing a different perspective to the industry having spent much of his working life attending events in a visitor/buyer capacity. Prior to joining GES spent a large part of his career in Procurement and Supply chain disciplines within Automotive, Utility and Broadcasting organisations. Jason joined Emap in 2009 before leaving the Client Experience Director role at i2i Events Group (now ITE) to join GES in 2014. Whilst at GES Jason has overseen step change improvements to client service levels, sales and processes, modernising the GES operational teams and driving closer collaboration with clients to reinvent the show floor. 

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Alexandra Bailey

Managing Director

Creative8 Ltd

I am Co-founder of Creative8 which was established 10 years ago specialising in exhibition stand design and build. Our belief that remains our core value to this day is that we can offer something special to our Clients and I also believe I can offer the same to ESSA. I love what I do and am passionate about our industry, and I want to be part of continual growth and positive changes. Joining the board would provide a platform for me to communicate the issues that face stand contractors today and be part of finding resolutions that will help the industry as a whole.

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Hannah Jardine

Business Manager


Hannah Jardine is Business Manager for events, exhibitions and experience company Ignition, champions of sustainability and flag-flyers for business excellence, from the company’s triple ISO accreditations to being named a ‘Great Place to Work 2018’. Hannah is a highly-experienced events specialist, with 13 years of holistic industry insight, gained from working both client- and supplier-side at Ignition, Hilton Hotels and the Society for Endocrinology and BioScientifica. She has managed everything from small in-house events to huge-scale congresses and exhibits and would bring new strategies and fresh perspectives to the table, aimed at making membership more meaningful for all.



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