The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) held its annual general meeting at the The Magic Circle Headquarters, Euston on Thursday 26th May, where 100 people from 60 member companies gathered to participate in the AGM and to hear presentations on the implications of GDPR for the industry and the effects of Brexit on the economy and business in general.
ESSA director Andrew Harrison
ESSA director Andrew Harrison officially opened the AGM, welcoming the delegates and conducting them through the formalities before moving straight onto the official business of the day. Every year one-third of the ESSA board must stand down by rotation. This year there were 4 nominations for the 4 board places available, 3 on rotation and one replacing Simon Ridout of Dimension 8 who has stood down from the board after 8 years service, who was thanked by Harrison in his address.
• Mark Clayton, managing director, Inevexco Ltd.
• Steve Comar, director of operations, Freeman Company (UK).
• Dan Edwards, group operations director, Mash Media Group Ltd.
• Nick Marshall, executive chairman, GES Ltd.
Because these positions were uncontested all four nominations were accepted and formally appointed to the ESSA Board.
Following the elections, ESSA chair, Chris Criscione of Equinox Design, gave his chair's address looking back at 2017, the tenth anniversary year of ESSA and to the celebrations which culminated in the ESSA Snow Ball at the Ricoh Arena in December that followed the 2017 conference. He also touched upon an issue close to his heart, that of bringing young talent into the supplier side of the industry, highlighting the efforts made by ESSA to engage with education establishments and the provision of resources for members to do likewise. Looking forward he recognised the issues that are facing the industry, two of which featured in the presentations after the official proceedings. He thanked the other members of the board for their time and commitment to the association, the secretariat who have kept the association focused and delivering for its members. Finally, he thanked everyone for attending and that he looked forward to seeing a similarly high turnout for the remaining events of 2018.
Harrison returned to the stage to deliver his director's report by both video and address, the opening video highlighted the scope of events and activity undertaken by the association over the previous year, touching on the celebrations for the 10th anniversary. During his address, he shared insight into the substantial number of projects undertaken in the year, with particular reference to working with the AEO and AEV on joint projects and the driving of ESSA's education initiatives. He wrapped up his presentation with a showing of the campaign video intended to attract more young people into the industry.
ESSA Treasurer John Robson, MD of Aztec Event Services, presented his report that showed an association in rude health with a strong financial performance even considering the expenditure on the 10th-anniversary events, the projections for the coming year are looking equally healthy. Membership numbers are set to breach 240 which is the highest for several years. Harrison then brought the proceedings of the AGM officially to an end by thanking the board and his fellow secretariat that work year-round to deliver the services for members. With the formal business complete Harrison then introduced Henry Herbert, a data protection consultant from Herbert & Ball. He clearly explained GDPR and its implications on the industry, before taking a number of questions from the floor and concluding with a few key tips that can be done within the last few days available to delegates.
The final speaker of the day was behavioural economist Roger Martin Fagg provided a fiscal view on the effects that Brexit is likely to have on the industry. He explained the forecasts and projections from the Bank of England. Based on human behaviour his presentation added a twist to typical economic theory which painted a sobering picture of the effects of a hard Brexit on the UK as a whole.
With the presentations over, delegates retired to the reception room for lunch and networking, during which they were invited to take a tour of the museum. (It was rumoured that a certain Mr Richard Armitage had designed the displays using gold Octanorm some 35 years previously!). Some members remained in the bar after the event and then moved to a local venue for evening drinks.
“The AGM is a formal occasion but essential for the running of any association, so we have become adept at making sure that this part of the day is executed professionally and efficiently. This means we've got time in the day to allow key speakers such as Henry and Roger deliver their compelling analyses and additional value for our attendees. This year saw another increase in the number of attendees, which is the sign of a strong and growing association,” concluded Harrison.