Chances are, the first people you will see when you walk through our doors are the friendly father/son duo Roberto and Robbie Goncalves, who look after the business centre. So who better to ask about the recent changes at the QEII?
Q: Roberto, how long have you worked at the centre? And how has your role changed since you started?
Roberto: I have worked at the QEII since 1989. I started off with Leith's, for 18 years, then became a porter for the GBM who became Interserve (and who are now QEII Delivery!) and now I work in the business centre. I handle small meetings and events now too.
Q: How about you, Robbie?
Robbie: I have been working here for the past three years. I first started off as a porter then got lucky enough to rise up to the business centre. Who knows, maybe one day Dad will be an event manager and I will be the business centre manager!
Q: How do you both feel about the new refurbishments?
Roberto: The refurbishments have been brilliant. It’s a lot brighter and lot more spacious and we have a very clear view of everything that goes on in the foyer.
Robbie: Yeah I agree, we love how much more modern we have become.
Roberto: Oh and we’ve also now got the new cafe (the Sanctuary) right in front of us which we can direct delegates to before their event.
Robbie: And Thomas, the bar manager in the cafe has been great.
Q: It’s been said that the QEII Centre feels like a family but with you two it’s literally the case isn’t it?
Roberto: Yeah and it’s not just us two. You’ve got Jorge (Roberto’s brother) who still works for Leith’s, as the Back-of-House Manager. We had Tony, who passed away, who was the Head Porter of Leiths.
Robbie: There was also David, Tony’s son, and Laura, who is Jorge’s daughter. She just started. So yeah, a lot of Goncalves!
Q: What’s it like working together as Father and Son?
Robbie: So many people have said it must be weird working for your Dad. But honestly it isn’t!
Roberto: I’ve never had any problems either, I’ve seen Robbie grow up and we’ve always worked together at home so nothing much has changed.
Robbie: I’ve moved out the family home now so it’s another way to work together.