Interview with Scott Jameson, Managing Director


With an Iconic Past, GL events UK Now Looks to the Future


GL events UK is a business with over 250 years of experience working across the events industry, providing temporary structures, seating and stadia to some of the most iconic events in the UK calendar. It is the company that has brought together industry icons such as Owen Brown and Snowdens and has built a reputation for the quality of its products and services.


However, whilst the company’s DNA is embedded in its rich heritage, it is its vision and aspirations for the future that is well worth taking a closer look at. With this in mind, Major Events International went to the company’s offices in Castle Donnington to speak to its Managing Director, Scott Jameson to find out more.


Scott, over the last few months you’ve announced the appointment of two senior directors and over £½ m of investment, what is driving this change?

This is a really important time for our business but also for the world of events. We’re an industry that is on the up, one that’s grown to over £42.5bn today and with a growth to £48bn+ within the next 5 years.
From our perspective, we’re also seeing an increased value put on what we do, and a growing sophistication from our clients. This presents an enormous opportunity for business growth, but also for us to evolve our products, our proposition and how we support our clients in the future.


And what does this new proposition look like?

We have to remember where we fit into the worlds of our clients. We don’t stage events and we’re not curators of events or experiences. But we are a massive enabler for our clients, and we play a big part in the creativity of the events that we’re involved with.

Out clients are increasingly clear about the experience that they want to create and they need us to provide the materials and the expertise to create stands, stadia and venues wherever and whenever they are needed and in line with their aspirations for their events.

If that’s about building a major structure in the middle of Hyde Park, that’s no problem for us; if its about a major stand on a golf course, again its what we do.


And how does the increased investment support this?

We need to become ‘yes people’ for our clients. We’ve always delivered great products and we will continue to do so, but we also need to be challenged more by our customers and be able to deliver on their wildest visions.

To do this, first of all we need the right people. With great experience, excellent creativity and the ability to push the boundaries. In Darren Woodhouse and David Tunnicliffe we have two people who have a wealth of experience delivering events around the world. We wanted them because they can deliver the unexpected and because they are fearless in what they do.

Secondly, we wanted to make sure we had the right materials to ensure creativity wasn’t being held back. The investment was about making sure we had fresh and shiny new materials, but also that we’re ahead of the curve in innovation. We invested in ‘throw open’ windows and frontage, anti glare windows for better quality of viewing at sporting events, and even higher standards of seating to allow better views for spectators.


The creative aspect of events seems important to you, why?

For us, for our customers and for the brands and businesses that invest in this industry, it’s the creative process that shows them value. Brands want engagement, businesses want to create environments that help them sell and retain customers, and companies want to incentivise and reward the people that most matter to them.

Events and face to face does this incredibly well, but they do it even better when we create unforgettable, emotive environments. If we can be a part of the process that gives these guests the best memories, exclusivity and inspiration, we know that our clients will see the value in it.


How important is new technology in this evolution of events?

Its incredibly important and again, it is up to the suppliers within the industry to be enablers. We’re increasingly looking at how we can provide high speed connectivity, Bluetooth and beacon technology in our venues. At The Open this year we will have the first Wi-FI enabled grandstand in the tournament’s history. Our aim is to make our structures as equipped as any permanent venue, but with the added bonus of being able to be put up absolutely anywhere.


And where will this innovation and investment take the business in the future?

First of all, and most importantly, it means we can continue to offer a superior service to our clients. They rely on us to be at the forefront of innovation to make sure they are have the best structures and venues associated with their brands.

This is really important and the main objective for us over the next 18 months. We’re also really keen to stay close to event organisers to make sure we’re giving them the freedom to challenge us to do more and more exciting work; if we do that we’re adding value to them and the industry.


And what do you see as the longer-term future for this industry?

Only positive things, but the growth needs to be driven through a collaborative approach by suppliers and not just through the ambitions of our clients. We need to be a partner, a supporter and an advocate of great events. We need to make sure we’re showing where our industry adds value and encouraging more investment and returns on investment from our clients.

If we, and others like us, do that it could be a really exciting few years for everyone in this industry.

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