Lou Kiwanuka - 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..

Marija Erzen - Vice Chair



In 2001 Marija co-founded the design and build company Solutions2; an ESSA member since the association’s inception. Her industry experience spans 26 years, including senior roles at the BDC and GES. Always a firm believer in the value of trade associations, Marija has recently contributed to ESSA’s vital work developing an All Secure Standard for the industry. She is passionate about helping drive industry recovery and resilience after Covid-19 alongside the ESSA ‘Use a Member’ campaign. As the event industry reshapes to fit an altered world, Marija hopes to provide an experienced voice for the 45% of members that are design and build contractors, as well as the large numbers that are privately-owned SMEs.

Martin Cairns 2018 photo

Martin Cairns


Live Buzz

Martin has amassed a respectable 30 years of industry experience working as a floorcovering contractor and supplier to all market sectors within Events & Exhibitions. During this time, he has developed a valuable insight and understanding of the industry as a whole, and from the perspective of each stakeholder. Martin has always drawn great pleasure from being involved with industry associations. He previously sat on the BECA council and has served as an ESSA director for the last 12 consecutive years, proudly occupying the position of Chair during 2019 & 2020. In conjunction with this role, Martin has also served as a director of the EIA since 2017.

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

Director of Operations

Skyline Whitespace

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 gave 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.  

Elizabeth Turner

Sales and Marketing Director

The Event and Exhibition Partnership

In 1997 I set up The Event and Exhibition Partnership (eep). From the start we dedicated ourselves to serving events and exhibitions. I personally have become involved with the association like most, on an ad-hoc basis, but now feel the time is right to fight the corner, step up and be part of the team going forward. As a provider of people, I can hopefully bring a difference perspective to the group as we are very often the first person anyone sees when they visit an event.

John Robson July 2020

John Robson

Managing Director

Aztec Event Services

Having landed in the exhibition industry by accident almost 18 years ago, I found myself running an IT supplier to the industry that in time, I’m proud to say, has become one of the UK’s leading AV suppliers. In 2004 Aztec was one of the first companies to join the AEC, which subsequently merged with BECA to form ESSA, and I have been on the Board ever since, becoming Chairman in 2011-2012. I was also on the Board of the Event Industry Alliance (EIA) between 2009 to 2014, which I also chaired in 2012. 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. I have been on the Board while our association has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to achieve this

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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. 

Alexandra Bailey 200x200

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.

Hannah Jardine Ignition 200x200

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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