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INDUSTRY VIEWwww.exhibitionnews.co.uk 35AEO: GETTING THE INDUSTRY TO ENGAGEOutgoing chief of the AEO Austen Hawkins shares his departing views on the association's role, its current industry standing and why organisers need to speak up for live eventsadia [Cameron, EN's managing editor] waited until I had lost money on the sixth consecutive horse race at Mash Media's excellent Race Day at Sandown Park Racecourse before asking me if I would 'write something interesting about my time in charge of the AEO'. It was in this weak moment, compounded by the late realisation that Tom Treverton from F2F Events is the world's worst tipster, that I agreed. There is so much I want to cover. I have decided not to do a 'kiss and tell' piece as I do still want to work in the industry and I am sure you are really not that interested in trivia, such as the time I inadvertently gate crashed a couple acting out their erotic fantasies on a staircase at the back of Olympia during the AEO awards.So leaving behind the sex, booze, fags and tantrums, I have decided to focus on the key points I have learnt during my 12 years with the AEO, not to mention ESSA and the AEV.'Thick skinned individuals only need apply' should be written on any AEO job advert. A week hasn't gone by without someone questioning the value of the association, demanding why the association is or isn't dealing with a particular issue, declaring their fury at For instance, the Earls Court to Olympia Line weekday service is being stopped. Have you used the AEO's standard letter of complaint to write to TfL, London Underground or your local MP to express your disgust at this ludicrous decision? The Media Project meanwhile, could add millions of pounds of stand sales to our industry in the coming years. Do you know about it? FaceTime is also about to release some additional research and has a stockpile of useful information on the industry's potential. Read it, use it and make it work for you. I don't care what you do or what level you are at (I never heard from a sales exec in my time at the AEO), you absolutely should be fully engaged with the association. Your career will reap the benefi ts, guaranteed.The world has changed and we are on the ascendency. Live events are the place to be in the media so let's shake up the world and eat a huge share of the pie.Finally thank you one and all for your support, I loved every minute (well, almost). - Austen Hawkins is the outgoing CEO of the AEO. The new CEO is Karim Halwagi. NLive events are the place to be in the media so let's shake up the worldsomething I have said, telling me that I am doing it wrong or simply relaying their view that I am a complete numpty.The great thing in our industry is that most people who verbally beat you up one day will cuddle you the next.What I have learnt is that every and any engagement is valid, no matter what it is, because as soon as that engagement stops it means the association is no longer relevant and the industry doesn't care enough to take the time to comment. At that point, you really need to worry.The AEO is a association with strong industry engagement, a talented board of senior players sharing their ideas and time and a new executive team that will drive the AEO forward to great things. But it could be bigger and stronger.For those of you sitting in the background not engaging - and there are lots of you - I say this: Get involved, have your say whether it's good or bad and help make the AEO the best it can be. If you are not engaged in FaceTime, Media Project, Research, Marketing and Ops Forum, International Dinners, the AEO Conference, networking events, auditing or government lobbying, you should be.FabricWe have the solutions you're looking for . endless set-up options . lightboxes . magnetic display system RTD Systems LimitedUnit 10 Mole Business Park Randalls Road Leatherhead Surrey KT22 7BAsolutions@rtdsystems.co.uk www.octanorm.co.ukT 020 8545 2945 F 020 8545 2955Fabric_72x219_v2_130911(new add).indd 113/09/2011 09:33

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