Exhibition News June 2018 - Page 19

MY WORKING LIFE TRACEY MARTIN I was born and grew up in Cwmbran, South Wales. I’m the eldest child, and my brother is fi ve years my junior. My parents were foster carers, so we always had a houseful of children, some were real delinquents which was quite amusing at times! I spent a lot of my early years with my aunts or my grandmother – my mum was the fi rst in her family to have children, so I was the token child to spoil in the family, and I made the most of it. My grandmother owned a pub in Blackwood, a coal mining community in South Wales, every chance I got I would stay there, never allowed behind the bar, but just being in the ‘grown-ups’ environment was thrilling. It led me to a dream to own my own pub one day, much to the horror of my parents! My parents are quite strict, and as I grew up I resented the strictness a little. As they’ve matured and gone through some life changing experiences, they’ve changed their outlook on life, and are much more easy-going and relaxed. At school I had a mix of friends in the ‘popular’ group, and some friends in the not so popular group, so I felt I had a pretty good time in school. I was studious – always getting As and Bs etc. – and I was good at sport. In sixth form, I distinctly remember walking home from school with a large art carry case on one shoulder, an equally large carry case with my design technology projects in on the other shoulder, a rucksack on my back, a hockey stick and my gym kit. I must have looked like a packhorse in a netball skirt! I wasn’t allowed a job before I was 18, much to my annoyance when my younger brother was allowed to get a paper round at age 14! The day I turned 18 I went to a pub down the road and got my fi rst job as a barmaid. I just remember lots of fun fi lled nights, getting involved The head of features & custom build at Showlite on strict parents, tenancy timings and the importance of family in local country pub stuff such as hay bailing in the summer followed by cold crisp pints of cider! Lots of late night ‘stop-ons’ after hours, and generally a great environment. I wanted to be a ‘cat-walk’ designer – madness when I think of that now, but I did Fashion and Design as a degree, and my fi nal project was the organisation of the graduation show for all third years. Following that success, I applied for a job as a design junior at Stanco (as it was back then), and got the job. I spent a decade at Reed Exhibitions, which taught me a lot and allowed me to work with some of the very best (and worst) in the industry! I left shortly after having my son and spent the next few years freelancing. I spent a few months with Showlite as a freelance, and quickly came to see that the people at Showlite are my kind of people – they are passionate about what they do, encourage and create a supportive culture, and are extremely good at what they do. When my son started school full time, it was the right time for me to return to a committed role again, it wasn’t hard for me to see that Showlite was worth investing my passion into. I love 7am on a show open morning, when you do that walk around the halls, and there is a peace and a stillness about…stands complete and ready, all looking great. The biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry is tenancy timings for build up and break down. Larger organisers are usually realistic, but too many shows have very unrealistic build-up and breakdown times for the type of clients they are attracting to their shows. At the weekend I spend time with family – we have a family rule that Saturdays are kept for us only. I am a keen gardener, and I am currently learning as many DIY skills as I can from our carpenters, as we’ve just bought a house that is very much a ‘doer upper’! I’m really proud of the work we achieved on Hotelympia. We had two major organiser features to build, and for both of them we were working with outside design agencies appointed by Fresh Montgomery. It was challenging, but a hugely enjoyable to work with non-industry designers, and the end result was two fantastic features. EN exhibitionnews.co.uk | June 2018 19