ESSA's 2018 conference was its largest to date
The Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) held its annual conference and chairman’s dinner at Arena MK on Thursday 29 November - the best attended since its inception.
Over 180 delegates from almost 100 companies attended a packed day of content, which kicked off with futurist Ed Gillespie delivering a powerful talk on the critical importance of sustainability.
He talked about how recycling is a law of nature, and offered some examples of sustainable practice in the events industry, such as ‘dematerialising’ events with digital projection and lighting, or creating ‘hybrid’ events which can be attended digitally, cutting down on travel miles.
There were also break-out sessions, cross association working groups, the innovative 'solutions room' and an evening of entertainment and awards that saw Nick Marshall scoop the ESSA Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award 2018.
Before lunch, ESSA director Andrew Harrison called for delegates to move to pre-determined tables, where identified and addressed 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 last speaker of the day was Debra Searle MVO, MBE, professional adventurer, author, BBC presenter and serial entrepreneur. Debra gave a personal and highly inspirational talk, taking delegates through her journey rowing across the Atlantic solo, after her husband had to pull out of the doubles race.
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. The winners of the awards were as follows:
ESSA Young Person Award 2018, sponsored by Equinox - Oliver Smart, Jonas Event Technology,
ESSA Unsung Hero Award 2018, sponsored by Europa International - Paul O'Neil, Freeman,
ESSA Innovation of the Year (Tech and non Tech) Award 2018, sponsored by Briggs Equipment UK - Visit & Poken by GES,
ESSA Member Company Award 2018 sponsored by The Barista, A1 Event & Exhibition Cleaners,
ESSA Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award 2018 sponsored by beMatrix UK – Nick Marshall, GES.
ESSA director Andrew Harrison commented: “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.”