ESSA's Annual Conference and Awards Dinner sponsored by beMatrix UK  was the best attended since its inception.

The event as held on Thursday 29th November and over 180 delegates from almost 100 companies attended a packed day of content that ranged from keynote speaker, serial entrepreneur and futurist Ed Gillespie's opening keynote, through break out sessions, cross association working groups, the innovative 'solutions room' and, finally, an evening of entertainment and awards that saw Nick Marshall scoop the ESSA Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award 2018.

Andrew Harrison, ESSA director, welcomed delegates to a full conference hall and introduced the conference chair for the day, Andy Gibb, sales & marketing director at Stadium MK. Gillespie got things moving with a thought provoking look at the future and humanity's impact on the planet, this was brought into context with post presentation questions that focused on events industry.

The conference then moved into streamed content, with a number of delegates moving into break out rooms for the two Cross Association Technical Working Groups – Electrics and Technology.

ESSA director, Andrew Harrison, brought delegates to the front of the room for a photo call, the effect of which neatly had everyone on their feet and in a position to move to a pre-determined table where they spent the remaining time up until lunch identifying a number of key issues that each of them was facing. Their fellow delegates around the table then offered advice, solutions and contacts that could help resolve their issues. The feedback on the day indicated that it was a highly valuable exercise, reinforcing that members are in a great position to be able to help and support one another.Following lunch and networking the afternoon began with Ian Rowland, a leading expert on thinking and communication skills, whose thought provoking ideas provided delegates with some handy take away pointers.

Harrison, returned to the stage with the first ESSA Town Hall session, alongside him were ESSA Vice Chair Martin Cairns, ESSA Board Member Lou Kiwanuka and ESSA Futures Board Chair Jess Corbett. They fed back to delegates information and updates on a number of key projects that had been the focus of the association over the past year. At the same time some delegates attended a breakout session on how members could make their website a sales engine for their business.

The last speaker of the day was the thoroughly engaging and inspirational Debra Searle MVO, MBE, professional adventurer, author, BBC presenter and serial entrepreneur, she laid her soul bare for delegates taking them through the highs and lows of her solo transatlantic row. With the formal business of the ESSA Conference 2018 concluded, delegates moved on to the Chairman's Ball and Awards in the evening, at which over 190 guests celebrated with entertainment from the improv comedy team 'Noise Next Door', followed by the ESSA Awards which saw the winners as follows:

  • ESSA Young Person Award 2018 sponsored by Equinox Design
    Winner:  Oliver Smart, Jonas Event Technology
  • ESSA Unsung Hero Award 2018 sponsored by Europa International
    Winner:  Paul O'Neil, Freeman
  • ESSA Innovation of the Year (Tech and non Tech) Award 2018 sponsored by Briggs Equipment UK
    Winner:  Visit & Poken by GES
  • ESSA Member Company Award 2018 sponsored by The Barista
    Winner: A1 Event & Exhibition Cleaners
  • ESSA Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award 2018 sponsored by beMatrix UK
    Winner:  Nick Marshall. GES

We've had very positive feedback from the conference and the ball, which is especially pleasing as we did change a few things around this year. I was especially pleased that the Solutions Room was well received, it reaffirms our belief that the members can be of immense support to one another and the experience, passion and knowledge that sits within the ESSA community is inspiring,” explained Harrison.

“Nick Marshall has been at the heart of the industry, and has influenced many changes and developments, it was particularly pleasing to see his contribution recognised by his peers,” concluded Harrison.

The ESSA Conference 2018

Chairman's Ball & Awards Night 2018

ESSA Award Winners



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