CN talks to Stuart Evans, the Director of Fusion Meetings and Events, a venue finding, event management, destination management and venue group, about its Scottish mansion house, Carphin by St Andrews.
How did you get into the industry?
My first job was as a bell boy at the five-star Swallow Hotel at Fiveways. I had applied for a job at the job centre at 17 just after I had left school.
What do you like about the industry?
I suppose its finding solutions, helping and meeting people and the sense of achievement that it brings. Its a real people industry and no day is the same.
How long have you worked at Fusion?
I started Fusion in February 2009. Starting my own event management company was a natural step after working in hotels for so long and then gaining the expertise from a UK-based global agency.
How is your business going?
Everyday is a school day, for sure, but I have to say it has been epic. We have grown massively in the first four years and forecast more growth in the next four. We have a range of products underpinned by a great business outlook. This has proven invaluable.
What are Fusion’s big plans for 2013?
We are working on several great projects such as our Dunblane project, which will see us launch a multi-purpose venue incorporating a restaurant, hotel, meetings and events space, plus a business centre.
How long has Fusion been looking after Carphin by St Andrews and what is the visitor demographic of this venue?
Approximately two years. The visitor demographic ranges from all over Scotland and particularly Fife, of course, but we have had visitors from all over the UK and the US.
How is Carphin faring as a new venue?
It’s been received well and quickly we are finding ourselves with 15 weddings booked in for 2013 and lots of interest building for 2014/15. The corporate market is also picking up with Heineken UK being a firm favourite and using Carphin as an alternative to a hotel for away days, teambuilding and team meetings.
Notable recent client wins for Fusion?
Heineken UK, Tesco Bank and Ockham to name a few, there are also many associations which we represent and with the addition of new products this will only increase. We are in a growth period but even though we are adding new customers, practically all of our original customers are still with us. Maintaining accounts is as good as winning a new one in this day and age.
What has been your most successful achievement?
I think developing the Fusion Group into what it is today. In the face of recession and tough times in the sector we have built up the business successfully. Also the appointment of Fusion as the M&E provider to Heineken UK and Tesco Bank was significant, based on who the previous supplier was and their stature in the industry.
It shows that innovation and desire truly can prosper in these tough times and smaller companies should not be afraid to throw their hat in the ring with the big boys. Every day is a challenge, an education and an exceptional experience.
Funniest moment experienced or witnessed at work/at an event?
Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer checked in as each other when I was working at the Edinburgh Festival and for three days they let me call them the wrong names and didn’t correct me.
For months I thought they were each other until I saw Vic Reeves and the Wonderstuff release a song. The worst thing was my colleagues tried to correct me but I was having none of it.
Most difficult situation you have had to deal with since starting Fusion?
A few venue issues have been challenging but we always find suitable resolve. I can honestly say other than the challenging financial strain on the industry, which has affected everyone, its actually been, touch wood, relatively straightforward.
What sports team do you support?
Unfortunately, for my sins, Birmingham City FC.
Prediction for the future?
Fusion-guided space tours; the possibilities are endless. Who knows, I live for today.
This was first published in the April 2013 edition of CN. Any comments? Email email@example.com
20 May 13
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