Under the Spotlight with Vicki Evans, Operations Director, MA Exhibitions

Posted on Fri 12th Jul 2019 at 11:48am

What was your first job in the industry?

After being made redundant which was partly due to the 9/11 disaster back in 2001, I took a temporary job working in operations.  I was thrown in at the deep end on a series of food shows at the NEC attracting over 60,000 visitors!  It was more like a consumer show than a trade show and afterwards they offered me a permanent role in either marketing or operations!

What has been your biggest challenge?

It has to be in 2016 when I was working on 4 shows (partly international) across 8 halls of the NEC but due to a recent acquisition the halls were split and couldn’t be further apart. There were 2 of us on the ops side with a freelancer who was working solely across 37 features and I was told there is no money in the budget for additional resource – sound familiar?

Who’s inspired you?

Having owned an operational management company for 10 years there are so many people here I could mention.  I was introduced to Sarah Gladstone when I started out in exhibitions and through her mentoring and guidance she supported me more than I realised at the time and for that I will be forever grateful.

How has the industry changed?

I’ve seen huge changes over the years from technology playing a huge part in the way we all communicate to commercial pressures reducing the time involved to build-up and breakdown.  It’s only recently that I’ve had to ban WhatsApp from replacing operational conversations during build-up over the radios!  From the days when Organisers sipped champagne on-site to CDM I think that says everything!

What’s your criteria when selecting a supplier for your events?

There are so many factors that come into my final decision-making process from size, location, budget, product quality, industry reputation, service levels to name a few. But the one thing that always sticks out is the people who can make it happen and long-term relationships and I have many of those within Showlite.

Vicki is the Operations Director of multi-award winning event organiser MA Exhibitions (MAX). Known for her relentless attention to detail and slightly OCD focus on perfection, she has been with MAX since it was first created with one exhibition just over four years ago, to the 14 show portfolio across four continents that it is now.

Prior to joining the MAX juggernaut, Vicki started her ops career with William Reed Business Media in 2001 and went on to head up their operations. Five years later she went into the freelance world and was joint owner of Ops Squad with industry operation stalwarts Anna Anson and Steve Bullock.

Vicki can be found cycling with her GSD better known as Gromit before executing a disciplined plan of glass, gin, tonic, ice and slice!

Our Services

“The onsite team is always happy to co-operate with the inevitable last minute changes.”
Natasha Messer, Events Operations Manager, Prospects Events
“Showlite deliver exceptionally high levels of personal service. I know that I can rely on them to deliver throughout all aspects of the pre-planning, build and onsite work”
Mark Mayo, Director, Motorcycle Expo
“I have no hesitation in recommending Showlite as a professional and reliable supplier of contractor services. They are totally trustworthy and in touch with the latest regulations and requirements”
Mirabelle Chatterjee, Head of Operations, Nineteen Events
“We had the pleasure of having Showlite as part of our event team. The staff took the time, care and attention required to make sure that our exhibitors and us as organisers felt valued and looked after”
Diane Sheppard, Event Operations Manager, Quartz Business Media
“Over 1,200 exhibitors, almost 4 miles of aisle carpet plus enough shell scheme to cover two football pitches and it was the easiest get in we have ever had. Quite exceptional”
Andrew Reed, Managing Director, William Reed Business Media
“Showlite worked diligently with great speed to complete the build in the allocated time. We look forward to working with them at our next show”
Karen Harris, Operations Manager, Idex Media
“Showlite have worked hand in hand with us, investing in design, stock and materials developing an innovative product for our customers”
Bill Hammond, Managing Director, 3rd Street Group
“It has been a pleasure to work with Showlite who provided a seamless delivery both presite and onsite.”
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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