Posted on Tue 11th Dec 2018 at 6:08pm

1.    What was your first job in the industry?
I joined Reed Exhibitions back in the early 90s as a very young Sales Executive selling stand space on the Environmental Technology Show and after a couple of stints ended up as head of a portfolio of events including Eurochem, Environmental Technology, Pump & Valve and Heat Exchange Engineering …. It was all rock and roll and show business for me!
2.    What has been your biggest challenge?
Bouncing back after winding up my own business – Cornerstone Management Solutions which focused on outsourced sponsorship and sales support for events. I also ran my own show, which went well in terms of exhibitor and visitor satisfaction but struggled financially. I didn't lose my shirt but learnt loads about myself and others and since then have nothing but huge respect for those entrepreneurs that fund, launch and run shows. Never give up! 
3.    Who’s inspired you?
The list is too long to name check everybody as there are so many people that have helped and guided me. What I love about this industry after nearly 30 years in events, either as an organiser, supplier or venue side is that 8 out of 10 of the people I’ve met I’d have a beer with after work ... and all the better if they are buying!
4.    How has the industry changed?
Exhibitions in the main have become focused, highly targeted and niche. All the successful events have multiple and compelling reasons for visitors to attend including great content. When I started out in exhibitions if you wanted content and learning you went to a conference. Exhibitors have also become far more sophisticated with their event participation and ROI analysis. Big is no longer always beautiful in terms of participation. There are a plethora of tools and technology all geared to help exhibitors engagement with visitors, however, I still fundamentally believe that the single biggest USP for our industry remains unchanged – good old fashioned face to face human interaction. People still buy people.
5.    What’s your criteria when selecting a supplier for your events?
We have just been through a tender process to help us identify the right partners that offer services that strengthen our venue offering and proposition. Criteria that’s most important to me is trust, reliability, honesty, reputation as well as a desire to understand our business objectives and help us on that journey. 

Chris leads the team at NAEC Stoneleigh, one of the most versatile venue businesses in the UK hosting nearly 200 events per annum. My role includes the management of the venue, NAEC Stoneleigh, as well as Grandstand Stoneleigh Events technical events team, Grandstand Event Management, (Zinc) a specialist corporate event management business and Stoneleigh Park Lodge, a 58 bedroom 4 star guest house. 
Prior to NAEC Chris has enjoyed the best part of 30 years working for some great organisers including Reed Exhibitions, supplier side with LiveBuzz and venue side with NEC and now NAEC Stoneleigh.

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Natasha Messer, Events Operations Manager, Prospects Events
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Mark Mayo, Director, Motorcycle Expo
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Mirabelle Chatterjee, Head of Operations, Nineteen Events
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Diane Sheppard, Event Operations Manager, Quartz Business Media
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Andrew Reed, Managing Director, William Reed Business Media
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Karen Harris, Operations Manager, Idex Media
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Bill Hammond, Managing Director, 3rd Street Group
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Paul Clarke, Organiser, Installer Live
“My sincerest thanks go out to all Showlite staff who played an invaluable part in what seemed the impossible task. It goes without saying that I would not hesitate in recommending their services to others.”
Phil Valentine, Managing Director, ETES, Southern Manufacturing & Electronics
“I can honestly say one of the smoothest builds I have ever experienced on an event in over 17 years”
Nicola Greenaway, Managing Director, Nineteen Events
“We have a longstanding relationship with Showlite. They demonstrate a real professionalism and dedication and I look forward to working with the team again!”
Hannah Webb, Head of Operations, Hemming Group
“A massive thank you for helping us make this year’s Hearth & Home Exhibition a success. ”
Claire Cox, Hearth & Home, Fireplace Marketing Company
“Thanks to everyone at Showlite for a job very well done at The Mayfair Antiques & Fine Art Fair! The event went beyond expectation and there were hardly any glitches at all.”
Ingrid Nilson, Director, The Antiques Dealers Fair Limited
“I really appreciated the positive attitude of your team and the willingness to support unexpected problem situations onsite. It has been a great pleasure working with you both!”
Joy-Fleur Brettschneider, Marketing & Operations Director, Solar Media Limited
“Thank you so much for all your support on PATS this year. Showlite were absolutely brilliant. ”
Jo Scotting, Head of Operations, Impact Exhibitions
“We always know we’re in a safe pair of hands with Showlite. They deliver professional results with attention to detail and focus on service.”
Jo Foreman, Operations Manager, Brintex
“I would recommend Showlite completely from the level of personal service, quality of work and positive work attitude to keep on going until the job is done.”
Emma Barratt, Managing Director, Broadway Events
“Thank you for all your help and support for the NFE show. We had a lot of last minute changes, and Showlite were very accommodating and professional.”
Angela Long, Sales and Marketing Executive, Wesley Media
“Many thanks to Showlite. Everything went really smoothly and the show looked absolutely fantastic.”
Mandie Lavin, CEO, NAFD
“Phex has never looked as good and the build-up and breakdown went really smoothly. Thanks to everyone. I look forward to be working with you again in the future.”
Julie Pollet, Operations Manager, Brintex
“Showlite are the ultimate in prior planning and preparation. We never have any problem and if we do have an issue we resolve it there and then. We love working with Showlite.”
Andrew Reed, MD, William Reed Events & Exhibitions
“Big thank you to Showlite … once again it was a pleasure working with you all again and look forward to 2018!”
Sam Hunt, NMBS Events Manager
“Many thanks for the brilliant job you did on this year’s UKIVA which was a great success. The team pulled out all the stops to make sure everything was ready in time and ran smoothly throughout the day.”
Christine Valdes, Event Organiser, UKIVA, PPMA Group
“We would like to thank you and the team for an excellent build and all your help in the move to Mall Galleries after 25 years. ”
Gay Hutson, Founder and organiser, 20/21 British Art Fair
“The event looked great and the help and advice from Showlite throughout was invaluable. ”
Toby Merigan, Founder, European Sport Fishing Show
“Thank you for being a magnificent partner to Highways UK. Love the Showlite can do attitude and the smiles and personality that come with it.”
Andrew Dowding, Managing Director, Essential Infrastructure Events
“We have had excellent feedback from exhibitors and visitors and this is testament to the excellent partnership we have with Showlite.”
Justine Devereux, Operations & Project Manager, Xmark Media Ltd
“It was great to have Jenni onsite as it really makes a difference having her help to co-ordinate all aspects of the project.”
Joel Swarc, Associate Director, Promotor Events Ltd
“I would like to highlight the outstanding performance of Ross Isolda during the build up of the recent Foodex show at the NEC. I would like to thank him - and the boys on the tools also, for making the whole process as smooth as it was considering the challenge. ”
Phil Birch, Team leader, NEC mains services, NEC

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