A day in the life of a W&M Operations Manager


Photo 17-11-2014 18 28 505AM Alarm goes off …yay! No genuinely yay. Today I get to go onsite! Our favourite part of the show cycle. Months of prep, planning and pontificating will be realised today!

6AM The hungry hoards of contractors chomping at the bit to get in (OK they all look a bit tired and grumpy at being there so early!). The second you let them in they spring into action and all of a sudden they are everywhere.

The venue comes alive with the sound of the forklifts delivering carpet distributing shell, riggers are climbing up the arches and truss is being lowered for the first of the six massive theatres we are building from drape. I wanted to get a before picture of the empty venue but it’s too late, carpet is down and kit is everywhere.

7AM Now we’ve got them set up its time to set ourselves up and transform our temporary office. There’s a lot of people to squeeze in so organisation and precision is required (that, and we are a bit OCD!).

Photo 18-11-2014 09 29 29The ‘board of knowledge’ gets filled with the ‘floorplan of joy’ which has everything marked on it from build type to carpet runs and rigging points to floor tiles catering points open during build and electrical orders.

Oh and the Tesco shop has arrived. It costs more than our shopping bill for three months but when you’re on the go for five days the essentials are required, and by that we mean Redbull, mini bars and crisps. And a token bag of apples to given the illusion of health!

8AM The first wave arrives, office manager, venue manager, safety manager (it’s OK I’ve not broken any rules we are NEBOSH-trained, so we were covered for the first couple of hours) everyone’s buzzing around updating on the last round of information they received. And then of a sudden they disappear into the floor.

The event director arrives far too joyous for this time in the morning, but his blast of energy and enthusiasm helps spur this on for a bit! (Until he comes back with a load of queries). Space only stands have arrived too which always adds an extra buzz to the halls.

9AM Time for a quick run round all the halls to make sure everything is on track …. It’s amazing how much things change in the brief period that you are in the office for.

10AM ‘Challenges’ start creeping out the woodwork. Coordinating all the services to work together is a bit like being a school marm. Theatres, Stands and Banners are going up and things are starting to take shape.

11AM Who cares what else has happened in the past hour, we have hot pink doors, everything else pails into comparison!

Photo 18-11-2014 06 52 16

12PM – 4PM Not sure what’s happened in the past four hours but we’ve not stopped. Features are getting built, stands are taking shape and the shell is practically built. And all while the phone is ringing, the whatsapp group is binging and the radio blaring!

We’ve done several walk rounds with key personnel from the team to ensure they are happy. Managed to create a room from nothing, answer a million contractor queries. And at one point I’m sure we even found two minutes to eat! And all our contractors are still smiling at me (how I’m not sure?!)

5PM Not sure how we did it but it’s starting to look a bit like a show!

6PM That well deserved drink is calling us (well after we’ve tied up the office which seems to have exploded, written our to do list for tomorrow and answered the millions of emails that have come in during the day!) Do you think foot spas come with the drinks?