This month, we chat to one of our newest Board Members, Sales Director of Human Built Andrew Hickinbotham, to get the lie of the land on the events industry, his work with ESSA and his love of Alan Partridge. 

What inspired you to work in the events industry?

Money. I was a young and poor design graduate. I needed a job and was offered a role as half-design / half-sales, and cut my teeth on shell scheme, modular, custom-build and retail. I was pretty lucky!

What was your previous experience before joining the ESSA board?

I’ve bounced between small companies, massive companies and a start-up. All of them were/are BECA/ESSA members interestingly, and all of them centred around Design & Build and modular solutions.

What attracted you to the ESSA board?

Our industry has been very lazy over the years, in my opinion, and recent events have shaken it up to say the least. With that re-boot, the opportunity is there to aim higher and, as a Board Member, well considered change becomes the task in hand.

What does your role on the ESSA board look like?

I’m a fairly new addition, but it’s more work than people assume (and I assumed) including my involvement in a number of working groups and focus groups, namely sustainability, sales and future-focus. The current ESSA board is a terrific group of EventProfs, representing a diverse range of companies, specialisms and sector-niches which have already made clear that change will be driven from healthy debate.

How are you currently using your expertise on the ESSA board?

Given my career background and ‘design leanings’, I’m able to think a little differently on some operational and innovation subjects.  And if I can’t get excited about Live Events, there’s something wrong with me...  🤪

What do you consider is ESSA’s greatest strength?

A pretty diverse membership with the unique, built-in ability for some punchy group-think.

What is your vision for ESSA?

To grow, make good decisions and turn those decisions into action, whilst also driving the more formal Accreditation and sector performance-improvement.

Can you share the key highlights of your time on the ESSA board to date?

It’s only been a few months but representing at the EIA Manifesto launch at Parliament in October was a great gathering and an important day for ESSA and the wider sector.

What advice would you give to those considering a career in the events industry?

Come on in. The water’s fine.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years presenting to BA and MA students, and I’ve always talked about the real job, not the dream job. No other sector is so day-to-day diverse, whilst also leveraging and amplifying every other industry sector.

Why should contractors/suppliers join ESSA?

Because they recognise the many benefits of being a member. It’s our job to communicate that benefit effectively.

What do you most enjoy doing away from work?

What is this ‘away from work’ you speak of?

  1. Drumming, guitar, bass. Thankfully I can’t sing.
  2. Mowing my acre of land. Before you ask, it’s a yellow one.
  3. Currently revisiting Alan Partridge, Cunk on Britain & Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared.



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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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