Face to Face
David McCarthy
Head of portfolio development
Exhibitions and Trade Fairs

Business Events News recently caught up with David McCarthy, head of portfolio development at Exhibitions and Trade Fairs (ETF), who has more than 15 years’ experience in managing large international events on a global scale.

What’s the first thing you do when you get into the office?
Get coffee. Without it, nothing gets done.
What analogy best describes being head of portfolio development for Exhibitions and Trade Fairs (ETF) and why?
I am like a chameleon that has learned to adapt to the environment in which it lives and thinks on its feet.
In this business, you have to be agile and meet every challenge.
Is there room for growth in the creation of major trade shows and exhibitions?
What areas is ETF focusing on this year?
There are certainly areas for growth in the exhibition industry.
We work in an industry that highlights and drives change and innovation, so it is necessary for exhibitions to do the same.
Exhibitions and conferences play a significant role in emerging industries, providing a platform for companies to introduce new technologies/products/services and achieve business goals.
This is our key focus when looking at the potential for new shows, or partnering with associations.
What are you most excited about when it comes to holding the Travel Industry Exhibition at Crystal Palace? Does the face at the Luna Park entrance creep you out just a little?
No, not at all.
As the head of portfolio development I have been involved in bringing this exhibition to life from the very beginning.
The opportunity to deliver our show in a fun and intimate setting for the travel industry perfectly aligns with what Crystal Palace has to offer.
Have you seen the view?
What’s the biggest headache about organising an event like the Exhibition?
I wouldn’t say it’s a headache; it’s an exciting ride.
Challenges always emerge in exhibitions; often they present an opportunity to do things differently.
Will robots ever take over the business events industry?
No. We are always looking for ways to present events more easily or intelligently, but the human element is vital.
We are in the industry of bringing people together.
What’s one historical meeting or event you wish you could have attended – and what advice would you have given the organisers?
On the 01 Jan 97, The English Test and County Cricket Board, the English National Cricket Association and the Welsh Cricket Council joined together.
Being Welsh, my advice would have been “don’t do it, don’t join them” – a very sad day.