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Aug 30, 2017

Q and A: David Canato from Haycom

The Technical Director and Project Manager for Haycom, supporter of Best Corporate Event at the Australian Event Awards talks about his passion for the events industry, his favourite events and his role in the company.

What do you do at Haycom?

This is probably one of the hardest questions I get asked, because I never really know how to answer as my job can vary from week to week. In a broad brushstroke explanation, I manage and deliver the technical components of events and they range from quite high level mission critical meetings or large conferences to gala dinners, award nights and lots of other weird and wonderful things that may not be classed as an event but require technical expertise and know-how.

Give us a sneak peek at your career before your current role at Haycom.

It's been a fairly straight forward and uneventful journey but a natural progression. I started off pretty much at the bottom of the food chain as a junior in my teens, working at a sound and lighting rental firm. Early on it was more bands, DJs type of work. It has been a slow but steady progression through various companies over the course of the last 18 years or so, peppered with a few freelance stints. All of it has been in the broader event delivery world, though as I progressed forward, it was more and more focused on the corporate market.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

It's making the seemingly impossible happen, sometimes you almost shake your head thinking, "how is this ever going to happen?" and then you spend the next few weeks digesting it and converting it into a possibility. I guess you could call it technical creativity.

How would friends and colleagues describe you?

I'm going to say that they think I get easily distracted by food and music.

What kinds of events does Haycom typically lend its services to?

Haycom does cover a broad spectrum of work and clientele, it's anything from a large multi-screen conference that's really heavily focused on content, we do roadshows both locally and internationally, product launches, awards nights, galas, holographic projections and a lot of bespoke and niche technical services. More often than not we do the full service technical event delivery, which really helps provide a seamless overall experience for the client and their guests.

Probably the most important service that we have though is the personnel - you can have the greatest equipment in the world but without the right care and attention to detail from the staff who operate it and the project managers that manage the event - it counts for nothing.

What’s the most interesting event you’ve ever worked on with Haycom?

I have a client that I look after in the medical arena and they have a particular conference that they do every year. It’s back to back presentations for two days, international speakers, doctors with case studies, and amongst it all it includes live surgeries that are taking place in the operating theatre. We transmit those to the conference, it's a massive technical mountain to make it all appear so seamless in the conference room and you're thinking "wow we've done this amazing work" and you realise what they are actually talking about is awe inspiring because they are working towards making our lives better.

What makes good technical production for an event?

Naturally – great equipment and attention to detail is the obvious one, but a key element is engagement with the client, having active involvement from them. Planning is a massive thing as well, lots of discussion, resolving all the potential failure points leading up to the event and on the day. Also having back-up plans for all the critical elements is a must.

What’s something few people would know about Haycom?

One of the things that even surprised me as a staff member is the longevity of the company in the Australian event landscape - it has been around for 40 years now which is pretty impressive in any industry let alone the events industry.

What’s your favourite Australian event and why?

My favourite event that I work on is an event called Mumbrella360. It's one of the events that I've been looking after for years and look forward to it every year. I fear it in equal measure as well because of the workload that I know comes with it. Not only does it grow annually but it's now going international as well, at the end of this year we are going to Singapore to debut it there which is exciting. It has also been the winner of a couple of past Event Awards, so I'm not the only one who finds it a favourite.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about working in the events industry?

Never assume anything and double check everything.

What do you think are the challenges facing the events industry? What are the opportunities?

>p>I guess creating the WOW factor is always a issue – more so now in this digital age of content abundance via numerous outlets, fighting for our attention.

I think though, the challenges are the opportunities - that's what helps set you apart from your competition. I like to be a solutions guy so the more problems there are, the more interesting solutions are needed.

Haycom is supporting Best Corporate Event at the Event Awards. Why that category?

I don't think a category could sum up what we do more than that category, it's probably what Haycom aims to achieve on a weekly basis.

Views expressed in this Q and A are solely those of the subject of the Q and A.