Home' Border Enterprise : Enterprise Spring-Summer 2009 Contents 14 enterpris e
THE complexities of his job keep
Bradley Hayden, the Albury-based
head of Countrywide Conference and
Events Management, on his toes.
Mr Hayden (pictured, above)
handles exhibitions and big events for a range
of professionals and academics who might be
experts in their fields, but would baulk at the job of
arranging the 101 things needed --- from catering
to getting the right gift for VIP speakers.
His skills are based on 24 years' experience in
the hospitality and tourism industries.
Fifteen years ago he joined Albury City Council to
run its conventions bureau but three or four years
later helped Steve Callesen start Countrywide
Eight years ago he set up his own business and
Mr Callesen agreed to him using a similar name.
It operates mostly in NSW and Victoria and, at
present, Mr Hayden is organising the last of his
2009 conference at Shepparton, Coffs Harbour
While he employs only one or two staff to help
him, he says the spin-offs from conventions
and events present huge opportunities for local
businesses to get involved.
His first job always is to arrange a venue,
produce a brochure and organise registrations of
Catering is the biggest business, but when
Mr Hayden mentions the need to organise
delegates' transport, entertainment and liaise on
accommodation, you get the picture.
It's not just the food suppliers and caterers who
benefit but a host of other people such as florists,
printers, equipment hire people and those who
erect marquees or special displays.
Whale watch tours, by the way, are a popular
addition for Coffs Harbour conferences, though
if the time is not right there's always trips to the
Dorrigo World Heritage Park or Nambucca.
North-East winery tours are popular with
Albury delegates but Mr Hayden also takes the
opportunity to buy local wines as appropriate gifts
for guest speakers.
Next year Mr Hayden had conferences to
organise at Broken Hill and in the Blue Mountains.
He has organised several annual conferences
for the NSW Local Government Association
--- usually gatherings of 700 to 800 people --- but
occasionally 1000 as in Albury in 2003.
Not all conferences consist of councillors, officers
and delegates clad in smart suits as some are for
people more used to dressing casually, such as
farming or forestry people.
This year 350 people from across Australia met in
Albury to discuss flood management, but the one
thing Mr Hayden didn't have to worry about was
rain, because it was an exceptionally dry week.
It was estimated that that conference at the Albury
Entertainment Centre probably brought $300,000
into the city economy, through everything from
motel bedrooms to fruit and vegetables.
Mr Hayden says people often don't see
conferences as tourists, but he says they mean
"Delegates are visitors, and often come to a
place for a conference and then come back for
holidays,'' he says.
"Also, if the weather changes, they still come to
As a professional conventions organiser
and events promoter, he admits that smaller
conferences of perhaps less than 150 people
probably don't need his services, but the large
ones do require special help.
The logistics of trying to make things run
smoothly for 600 to 700 people can be challenging
Mr Hayden regularly promotes and runs two
major annual events in Albury, the travel show in
February and The Border Mail Bridal Fair (pictured,
below) in July.
He also keeps in touch with national trends
through the organisation Meetings and Events
Details: Countrywide Conference and Event
Management, PO Box 5013, Albury, NSW
2708. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organising talkfests can mean anything from
making sure delegates are fed and watered to
checking if whales are swimming on the NSW
Coast at the right time, writes HOWARD JONES
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