Latest News

Jun 1, 2017

Q and A: Andrew Stone from eps Australia

Managing Director of Event Awards Major Partner eps Australia talks crisis management, Adele, looking at the bigger picture and why eps chose to support Event Management Company of the Year.

What do you do at eps Australia?

I'm the Managing Director for eps Australia. At eps Australia we provide a range of temporary infrastructure including seats, temporary roadways, ground protection and crowd control barriers. Our true value lies in our computer CAD planning for site layout and venue design on outdoor venues, having worked on over 200 sites across Australian and New Zealand. I oversee the whole operation in Australia and New Zealand, making sure everything runs smoothly.

Give us a little peek at your career background before your current role at eps Australia?

Starting with general site labour on the pro golf Tour with SFX Sports almost 18 years ago, I found full time work with IMG after almost three years. This had me heavily involved with Motorsport but also working on professional tennis, golf and athletics. The Motorsport involvement lead me to a long and rewarding stint with V8 Supercars Australia as the National Operations and Events Manager. With some slight cross over into actual Motorsport, responsibility was primarily as Event Manager for a combination of both circuit and street races, including seven years as the Event Manager for the Bathurst 1000 event.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

Crisis Management. I think this comes in a range of different forms, not necessarily emergencies. Crisis Management can often start right from the beginning of the process such as balancing expectation versus budget. Basically events are dynamic and it's easy to stay interested year in and year out.

What sets eps Australia apart from its competitors?

I can't give up too many secrets can I? Honestly I don’t believe it’s a secret. Do your job and do it well. I often try to remind our clients that we’re like backstage at a play. If you can't see us, then we’re doing our job well. With all of the demands that Event Managers have, if we can create seamless solutions and then execute in the most efficient way possible for us and our client, then that’s what we will do.

What kinds of events does eps Australia typically lend its services to?

Major stadium touring artists and even festivals have been a staple of our work for a long time. This year alone we had a hand in the likes of Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Bruce Springsteen, Adele and Guns and Roses. We’ve managed to bring our way of thinking to a large number of smaller events and stakeholders now from private enterprise to local Councils though too, such as the City of Sydney Lord Mayor's Picnic on New Year's Eve and even the City of Gold Coast Chinatown Markets. All of the events, regardless of size, come with their own set of challenges though, so we never really categorise one as harder than the other. If you’re trying to deliver the best result possible, it will always be a challenge.

What’s the most interesting event you’ve ever worked on with eps Australia?

Of recent memory, Adele was right up there. The sheer size of the show, people involved and even scheduling (e.g. 48 hours between Sydney and Adelaide shows) really made for an intense six months. I have to say when Adele hit the first note in Perth on Show 1, it was nice to know the hairs still stood on my arms and neck as months of planning and execution finally came to fruition. Watching the crowds enjoy themselves, irrespective of size is the real rush.

What’s your favourite Australian event and why?

I have to say it was the old Indy Car race on the Gold Coast. Not to be biased as a Gold Coast boy but IMG just had the mix right for so long. You know you have a great event when you have attendees who aren’t even necessarily fans of a particular sport, cultural activity or even music genre, who are happy to be at event for the entertainment and the buzz that it can offer. I worked closely with an Off Track Event Manager whose main responsibility was building a 70+ off track event calendar around the Indy Car Race itself which ran for weeks leading into the main event.

What is something few people would know about eps Australia?

With 10 staff working at eps, there’s a combined total of approximately 207 years of event experience. From tour managing Daddy Cool when they first took on America to site management at the old Adelaide F1, you can be assured that there's not just experience but no shortage of war stories coming from the front line of events and gigs we’ve worked on all over the world.

Why did you choose to work in the events industry?

It’s dynamic. Rarely do you see an event that is rolled out identically from one year to the next. Even the most established with sound formulas are always looking to improve on the last event or offer something new to their patrons. It keeps it fresh, exciting and definitely different from year to year.

What do you think lies ahead for Australian events?

Australia I think definitely punches above its weight. There's been some unfortunate demises of events off the back of the global financial crisis. Some great events and some great people have suffered. What it has done though, is forced the industry to have a close look at itself and how it can improve not just its offerings but how the events are managed. Slowly but surely confidence is returning to the market and people will always want to be entertained. You’ll probably find that the smarter and harder working of the events and Event Managers really capitalise on this and secure that discretionary spend which is a little tighter than it used to be.

Who gave you your start in the events industry? Who has been the most influential person in your time in the events industry?

My first start came form a gentlemen named Peter Hines at the PGA of Australia. At that stage I was chasing work experience hours for my University degree but Peter really gave me the first shot and the respect of learning on the job. As far as influential, it would be one of my associates now with eps, Adrian Dalton. Adrian has worked on thousands of events in the last 30 years and taught me how to look at the bigger picture and longer term ramifications of decisions. It’s easy to make knee jerk reactions in the heat of the moment but most ironically, taking the time to slow down and think before you act, probably gave me the foundation to make quicker and better informed decisions.

Why did eps Australia choose to support Event Management Company of the Year at the Event Awards?

eps Australia are really contractors not Event Managers. I've been on that side of the fence and I know how tough it can be. There's sleepless nights and endless stress and it’s hard. Not everyone’s cut out for it. We’d like to support the people that support us though. Without Event Managers and event management companies, we couldn’t do what we do so I think it’s a great platform for us to show that support.