The vice president of Adhouse Clarion Events recalls his entry into the events business and the many challenges that shape his love for bringing people together.
What was your first taste of exhibitions?
I was in high school when my mother joined an exhibitions organiser and I used to go with her to exhibitions, most of them for tourism.
How did you end up being in this business?
My uncle Sudirman Zakaria, founder of the Adhouse Indonesia Cipta, asked me to join the growing company in 1996. With a degree in information management and no work experience in exhibitions, I had to learn from scratch.
However, the timing was perfect. Indonesia’s economy was booming then, so was the exhibition industry. Property and furniture exhibitions were particularly popular. We held four exhibitions annually, and each time sellers’ interest surpassed capacity.
Was that how you discovered your calling?
Not really. It was actually overcoming the challenges of the 1997 economic crisis and Indonesia’s political upheaval in 1998 that led me to discover my passion for this industry.
The economic downfall impacted all sectors severely, and for four years we could not hold any exhibition. When we finally restarted in 2002, it was not easy. We offered very special rates, free space and shared revenue to get the exhibitions going again. This strategy worked and many of our clients became our loyal customers.
It is so rewarding to see the satisfaction of our clients and customers.
What do you dream of doing next?
I am thinking of going into music promotion (where I would bring) international musical performances here. However, it is a business that I will need to (study carefully).
Tell us one thing that people do not know about you
My long-time dream was to become a pilot. I first enrolled in flying school when I was 30, but failed to take the test because I was sick. I tried again five years later, but failed to fulfil the physical requirements..