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One Very Eventful Month in 1999

In a series of blogs commissioned to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of The Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Robert Harrison, Regional Managing Director UK & Benelux, Congrex looks back on one very memorable month in 1999:

It all started when I said “The easiest thing would be to hire The QEIICC for a whole month” at the monthly think-tank meeting of Concorde Services, the former company of Congrex-UK, “it would make everything so much simpler!”. Out of such ideas, great things are achieved.

The QEIICC thought it was good plan too … Concorde would move in for the month of September 1999 and no other meetings would be held in the dark days for any other clients. It was probably the peak month in the fantastic Concorde/QEIICC relationship that has existed for the past 25 years.

And the events were: (including build/breakdown)
• The International Association of Paediatric Dentistry – 31 August-5 September
• The Uranium Institute Symposium – 7-11 September
• The European Congress of Neuropsychopharmacology – 23 -26 September

With 500 delegates at each of the first two events, and over 2000 for the last, it was to prove to be a memorable month!

The QEIICC gave Concorde the top floor for offices, storage, IT centre and packing …. The rest was down to careful planning:

• All hotel blocks needed to be co-ordinated between the events
• Areas needed to assigned to similar projects
• Signposting to be co-ordinated between events
• Exhibition build stored and re-configured for each show
• Registration area adjusted to cater for the 400% increase for the final event
• Car parking required for all staff and local accommodation for those “living” at The QEIICC
• Meticulous scheduling to avoid confusion ….

….. the list was endless.

And did it work? Yes – it was a really good experience. Concorde became “one” with The QEIICC. But I wouldn’t want to do it all the time – we were only a small company of 15 staff at that time and it really stretched us. In fact I don’t think we could have done it without The QEIICC being turned over to us for that time.

And my role? Oh, that was to co-ordinate and align the teams of all the three events!

At the end, of course, The QEIICC gave us a fantastic champagne reception to celebrate our one-month hire! At least I think I remember that last night after breakdown…

Robert Harrison
Operations Manager, Concorde Services, 1993-2006
Regional Managing Director UK & Benelux, Congrex, 2006 to present

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