I manage a highly skilled team of five that provides a management service for the events industry. One of our main clients is the Metropolitan Police, which we support at events such as the Notting Hill Carnival and the London Marathon. The carnival can be eight weeks in planning. Last year, we provided a 700-seat marquee and three mobile kitchen units with hot and cold running water, ovens and fat fryers, and we also set out crowd-control barriers, traffic cones and signs. We also work for Time Warner, managing the crowds at film premières, and handle the traffic for Arsenal Football Club.
What skills do you need for your job?
You need to be thick-skinned to deal with difficult customers. We need skilled people such as engineers and surveyors, but they must also have good interpersonal qualities so they can talk to different people. You also need to be a very good organiser to co-ordinate some events.
Describe a typical day
Hectic – you never know what you may be faced with. It might be putting up barriers to keep crowds away from Arnold Schwarzenegger at a film première or setting out traffic cones around the Oval. We operate 24 hours a day, with a duty manager on call out of working hours. A typical day involves working on several jobs at the same time, either on site estimating or in the office planning on the computer, phone and fax. We often work evenings and weekends.
What do you like about your job?
The variety of the work. We work in a demanding environment to respond to the needs of our main client, the Metropolitan Police.
What is the most exciting project you have worked on?
The millennium celebrations were certainly exciting. It also meant I got to visit the dome before it opened to the public. Our role was to organise support for the police. That meant working over a number of sites putting out crowd-control barriers and making sure there was power. At Trafalgar Square we put scaffolding around Nelson’s Column as an observation platform for the police. Then we provided a marquee at Greenwich.
Have you met anyone famous?
Yes. Recently I met Arnold Schwarzenegger as I was standing at the front of the cinema making sure people didn’t jump over the barriers. He came up to say hello to the crowds and he and I had a quick conversation. At the première of Eyes Wide Shut, Nicole Kidman walked up to the crowd and she asked me quickly about my job.
What is your next big event?
On May bank holiday weekend there is a demonstration by anti-capitalists in central London. We will be there helping the police keep the demonstrators quiet and peaceful by putting up barriers along the roadsides and placing traffic cones to divert the traffic away from the demonstration.
What are your plans for the future?
I’d like to retire at 55, while I am still young enough to enjoy life.
Have you ever thought of becoming a police officer?
Good lord, no! I can’t imagine anything more boring than walking the streets dealing with undesirables.