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What’s it like to be the event manager of the largest event The QEIICC has ever hosted?

Today, 26th July 2012, The Queen Elizabeth II Centre (QEIICC) will become Casa Italia – home to CONI (the National Olympic Committee of Italy) and a showcase of all things Italian.

QEIICC Event Manager, Darren Jordan has been working with CONI since the start of the year to help them transform all six floors of the venue. Darren tells us a little more about his route to the job and shares his experience of working on the largest event that The QEIICC has ever hosted:

The past few months have been an Italian whirlwind! From dealing with Italian contractors (who had to be reminded of UK health and safety policies) to trying out my own Italian (following our Italian lessons to ensure we could communicate with our client); it has been an eventful few months.

I started working with CONI earlier this year – at first I was showing them and their army of contractors, agencies and sponsors around the building. I was handling multiple show-rounds every day, guiding them through what is possible in each of our event spaces, but also what can and can’t be done in the UK. My knowledge of the venue, and of UK restrictions was thoroughly tested!

As time went on, plans took shape and we have helped CONI transform the venue. All of our six floors have been used to create the perfect showcase of everything Italian – including an exhibition of Italian photography, a stage for live Italian events and the Italian Experience – giving visitors the chance to sample the best Italian food and wine. We have even managed to secure a late license for CONI to entertain their VIP guests into the early hours.

The QEII Lawn at the front of the venue will also be transformed – and at night the Centre will look stunning – as it is lit with the colours of the Italian flag.

In typical event industry fashion – no two days are ever the same and I hope that my varied experience has been an asset to CONI and to The QEIICC. I have worked in the events industry since 2000, following five years spent at catering college. I enjoyed college and during that time I spent 6 months in Japan working for a French restaurant, but then came back to the UK to finish my course. Since then I have worked in many different hotels – from the Dolphin Square Hotel in Pimlico to the White House Hotel in Regents Park. I even went over to the ‘other side’ for a while and worked at Expotel – a hotel booking agency.

Now with only a few days to go, the Centre is looking amazing. Most of the exhibits and rooms have been dressed and set and it is looking very different.

Casa Italia has officially opened today (Thursday 26th July) and I’m looking forward to welcoming the public, the Italian Olympic team and all the Italian dignitaries and VIPs to the Centre.

I will be posting another blog later this month – and I will share my experiences of Casa Italia…

Darren Jordan, Event Manager, The Queen Elizabeth II Centre

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