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.


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.

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.

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.


 Andrew Hickinbotham square

Andrew Hickinbotham

Sales Director, Human Built

Specialist Areas

  • Space-only architecture
  • Engagement strategy and experiential   
  • Business leadership & commercial strategy

Andy has been embedded in the Exhibition & Event sector since 1995. Originally a 3D designer, his experience in a range of sales & creative roles has seen him cross-pollinate ideas from retail, visitor attractions & permanent fit-out. His love of brief-craft, storytelling, content creation and sensory trickery has seen him present within an array of industry masterclass & training arenas.

Andy is a member of various ESSA working groups, including Sustainability, Sales and Future Focus.


Liz Turner Small file

Hannah Jardine

Business Manager, Ignition DG

 Specialist Areas

  • Sustainability
  • Events, Exhibitions and Experiences

Hannah is Business Manager for women-owned events, exhibitions and experiences company Ignition and Group Business Manager for parent company Istoria Group. Ignition is a champion of sustainability and holds The Queen's Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development 2020-25. Hannah also manages Ignition's multiple ISO Standard certifications.

Hannah chairs the ESSA Diversity and Inclusivity Working Group and is former Vice-Chair of The Cross Association Diversity and Inclusivity Working Group. Her aim is to see through the works proposed for the D&I Group and continue to make membership inclusive for all.


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.


John Robson Small File

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. 

Oliver Smart

Managing Director, Jonas Event Technology

Specialist Areas:

  • Digital Systems and Operations
  • Engagement and growth
  • Business Transformation

Oliver is proactive and accomplished director with proven leadership and management experience within various industries, to include the military. As the Managing Director of Jonas Event Technology, he leverages their agility for the association's benefit, utilising member influence to drive change. Experienced in market engagement, resource restructuring and cultural change, Oliver is dedicated to building a sustainable, future-focused community. Being the youngest board member at the age of 26, Oliver adds diversity and a truly future-focused directorship to the association.


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.


Kane Thomas

Commercial Director, Full Circle Events & Events Exhibitions Ltd

Specialist Areas

  • Core Services
  • Custom Design & Build
  • Strategy

With over 10 years’ organiser experience previously as Event Director across a wide range of B2B and B2C shows for small and large organisers, Kane brings a different perspective to the ESSA board. Kane moved to the supplier side in 2022, and with a wide skillset across sales, marketing, strategy and operations, Kane is proud to assist ESSA in achieving its goals and delivering its message to members and the wider industry that we serve.


Sign up to our newsletter find out what ESSA and our members are up to


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.

About us>>

Contact Us

119 High Street
Herts HP4 2DJ

Tel: 01442 285812

Contact us>>

Our Partners

Insurance Partner


Marketing Partners