Mar, 16, 2015
“HEY NATHAN, I WANT YOU TO RUN POINT ON THIS PROJECT. YOU’RE GOING TO BE THE ONE TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING RUNS SMOOTHLY, EVERYONE STAYS ON TASK, WE STAY ON BUDGET, AND YOU’LL BE THE DAY TO DAY CONTACT WITH THE CLIENT. YOU THINK YOU CAN HANDLE THAT?”
This was how I was introduced to the Utz Chip Day project this year. Before the end of 2014/the start of 2015, the majority of my time with HMS was spent on the road, executing a tour. I no doubt had plenty of responsibilities, but once the tour came to an end late last year, it was time for me to move into a bigger role. I wanted to show my coworkers that I had the skills and the knowledge to do more than just manage a sampling tour.
I had been in on a few conversations last year for Chip Day, but didn’t know much about it and this year’s event was to be completely different. After the first call with the client, it was full steam ahead. Two months of developing a plan, locking down a venue, and getting the appropriate vendors came and went in no time. March 12th was upon us, and ready or not, it was time to head to Baltimore.
I was both excited and extremely nervous to see everything come together that our team had been working on. My biggest fear was that I had forgotten some random detail that would have caused us to scramble around last minute for something. Thankfully, once event day hit, all details were accounted for. Weather wasn’t ideal for an outdoor event and I wasn’t in love with the addition of a big, bulky, unbranded tent to cover the display, but was glad we had a plan for inclement weather.
The event couldn’t have gone smoother. We ran into no major hiccups and not only was our client happy, but everyone from security, vendors, and those who were participating in the event were very impressed and had nothing but good things to say. The Ravens players signing autographs (Justin Forsett and Terrell Suggs) were awesome. They were genuinely glad to be there and pushed their celebrity status and ego to the side to enjoy a fun day with their fans. The Crunch-O-Meter (LED tower that displayed someone’s level of crunch after biting into a potato chip), which was one thing that gave me the most heartburn over the two months of planning, was such a HUGE hit. It provided that wow factor that the client wanted while allowing us to create something that we had complete control of.
Once 4pm hit and the event was over, I think I let out the biggest sigh of relief ever. It wasn’t about being happy that the event was over and done with, it was more about getting that first event management under my belt. A couple of things that this experience has taught me:
- No matter how much planning you do, there will always be factors that you can’t account before. It’s all about being able to adjust, adapt, and roll with the punches without panicking.
- Don’t be scared to ask for help if you need it. Everyone here at HMS has things that they are good at and it’s important to take advantage of that.
- If you’re the lead, be the lead and own it.
- Vendors can make or break an event. Thankfully we had great vendors that made our jobs easy.
I’m sure there are 1000 other things I could list, but those are what stuck with me the most. I’m excited for the opportunity I have here at HMS and I can’t wait for future projects to come….