AEO - Association of event organisers

Take That! AEO Excellence Awards 25th Anniversary


Take That! AEO Excellence Awards 25th Anniversary

18 Jun 2018

Take That! AEO Excellence Awards 25th Anniversary.

This year’s AEO Excellence Awards was extra special because it was the 25th anniversary of the awards ceremony which was introduced with a bang as AEO Chair, Damion Angus, took to the stage.

Andrew Evans was named as this year’s Outstanding Contribution to the Industry winner which, during a heartfelt tribute to a fantastic industry personality, was delivered by Simon Parker from UBM.

With a nod to the nineties, Take That Live! provided the entertainment by getting the party started with three favourites that perfectly reflected the occasion – Never Forget, Could It Be Magic and These Days.

Chris Skeith, Chief Executive of AEO, says: “There are always a few surprises at the AEO Excellence Awards which is what makes it a fun afternoon for the industry. For the 25th Anniversary we wanted to make it extra special and with the entertainment, pyrotechnics and the amazing activations our sponsors provided we think we achieved it. We’d like to thank everyone for taking part and congratulate all of the winners.”

In addition to Andrew Evans, other winners on the day included debut winner Raccoon Events who won Best Consumer Show Launch. Clarion Events, CloserStill Media, New Scientist Live and the NEC all won two awards but the big winner of the day was GES who took away a hat trick with Best Use of Technology, Sustainability and Innovation awards.

Other organiser winners included Ascential Events, Brand Events, f2f Events, FESPA, Forest Exhibitions, Informa Exhibitions and UBM. Clarion Events won the Most Influential Company of the Last 25 Years.

In addition to the NEC, other venues who took home a trophy included QEII Centre and Manchester Central Convention Complex who took home the award for Unsung Hero sponsored by Circdata. This was won by Duncan Leavitt who attended to pick up his award despite having a very early start the next day – a well-deserved winner.

Winning suppliers included the aforementioned GES plus LiveBuzz, Nimlok and Thorns Group.

Here are some thoughts from the headline sponsors:

James Ormiston, managing director at Circdata said: “What a fantastic awards ceremony the AEO put on for their 25th year! Congratulations to them, and to all of the winners and finalists. We are proud to continue our headline sponsorship of the AEO Excellence Awards; it is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the best events, spotlight the latest innovations, and recognise the brightest talent in our industry. Thank you to everyone who took part in our #TwerkwithCirc karaoke competition! It was fun to watch the Who’s Who of the industry belt out some tunes and tweet their photos. We look forward to doing it all again next year!”

The winner of the #TwerkwithCirc competition was Gemma from GES.

Chris Preston, Managing Director Freeman EMEA, said: “We support the AEO Excellence Awards because the AEO is part of the core fabric of the industry and does great work in promoting best practice, networking and live face to face engagement. We believe in challenging boundaries and resetting the benchmark with every event and experience Freeman delivers and award ceremonies play an important role in this.

“The AEO Excellence Awards gives teams the ability to shout about what they’ve done, it’s a forum for recognition and because of the diligence incorporated into the judging process, they’re valuable awards which everyone aspires to win. Congratulations to the winners of the awards Freeman sponsored – the NEC who won Venue of The Year Over 20,000sqm and the QEII Centre who won Venue of The Year Under 20,000sqm.” 

The winner of the Freeman Predict the Winners competition was Helen from Govnet Communications.

Martin Clarke, NEC Marketing Director said: “It’s been fantastic to celebrate 25 years of the AEO Awards this year not just through our sponsorship of this, the main event in the industry calendar, but by capturing the action live on the day – bringing live-to-life through art. Twenty five years is a special milestone and our gallery shows how the industry has evolved through those years - and continues to develop in the most exciting ways. Hope you all got your caricatures drawn!

“Well done not just to the winners but also to everyone who committed the time and energy to enter the awards, demonstrating the many different ways that companies strive to be No.1 in their categories. We can all draw inspiration from each other. That’s what makes the UK exhibition industry so very special.”

The winner of the social media competition to win a 2 day ticket to Disneyland Paris sponsored by FaceTime will be announced next week.

For full details of all of the winners and to see images from the day please visit the website



  • "Broadway Events joined the AEO on the Enterprise Membership. We’ve already taken advantage of the many benefits including the excellent FaceTime Masterclasses and training guides for exhibitors."
    Emma Barrett
    Broadway Events
  • "We are a member of the AEO because it is a proactive association for the events industry. As an organiser it provides us with high value ideas, networking, guidance and information."
    David Harrison
    PPMA Group
  • "This year, the association has led working groups to address industry issues and put on some amazing events full of insightful content for both organisers and, through the AEOs FaceTime initiative, exhibitors. In addition, the AEO has represented the industry at a Governmental level to raise awareness of the importance of events to the UK economy."
    Paul Byrom
    Upper Street Events
  • "I genuinely believe that if you’re involved in organising events you should become a member of the AEO."
    Simon Kimble
    Clarion Events
  • "Our membership of the AEO represents real and tangible value for UBM - it provides fantastic networking opportunities, practical training for our team as well as valuable insight into the state of our industry."
    Simon Parker
    Informa Markets
  • "As an Association business, we appreciate the excellent work the secretariat of the AEO do for our community. From the events side of our business, the AEO provides an excellent return on investment, providing thought leadership, fantastic networking, brilliant awards, excellent research and FaceTime, a valuable tool to tell our markets why exhibitions and events should be an essential part of the marketing mix."
    Neil Felton
  • "AEO’s networking and member meetings are valuable for individuals at all levels within our organisation. The promotion of our sector to the outside world, to government, authorities and business at large is another vital aspect of the AEO’s purpose for members, many of whom, like my company, work on events throughout the world."
    Stephen Brooks
    Mack Brooks Exhibitions
  • “Knowledge is power and the AEO dinners are certainly powerful, there is always a wealth of knowledge at the table. Insightful presentations make for a constructive and extremely social way to learn from the experts who’ve done it before. I attended the Japanese evening and gained really valuable insight about the culture and how best to communicate with a local audience.”
    John Whitaker
    Vice President Marketing, Data & Digital , dmg events
  • "We have the opportunity to contribute positively to the industry as well as gaining valuable insight and advice. There’s no need to spend valuable time and money reinventing the wheel when you have so many experienced professionals in AEO membership to learn from”
    Emma Cartmell
    CHS Group
  • "JOINING THE AEO HAS BEEN FANTASTIC! Being able to gift our customers with free places at the FaceTime masterclasses, learn alongside industry peers and seek advice to common challenges is invaluable”
    Sharon Azam
    GovNet Communications
  • I just wanted to send my most sincere thanks for everything that you and the AEO team are doing to help navigate the events industry through the pandemic. The working groups and communication from the AEO have been excellent and I’m really appreciative of being part of such a wonderful organisation.
    Simon Burns
    ICHF Events
  • I think what the AEO has been doing during this tough time has been exceptional.
    Greg Cherry
    QD Events LTD
  • It is so useful to hear from your peers at this time. Please pass my thanks to Ruth and the BTIG panel
    Dan Assor
    CloserStill Media
  • Just wanted to thank you and Ruth this morning for the Zoom meeting - it was really interesting to hear how things are moving along in the virtual/hybrid meeting/exhibitions. All very new to me, so a lot to digest.
    Maureen Wright
    Optic UK
  • The session this morning was fantastic. We are right in the midst of this and the information was so useful. We can apply it immediately
    Claire Adams
  • The AEO provides an opportunity to make a difference, to work with other companies for the good of the industry as a whole, but beyond that, it provides it’s members with valuable insight and tangible benefits to grow your business, upskill and engage your teams. For those reasons, our membership is in indelible ink on the each annual budget. In short, if you aren’t a member, you are missing out.
    Ed Tranter
    73 Media




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