How to set up a successful Infrastructure Procurement Showcase: Interview with Kieran Moran

Australia HeavyQuip Journal participated as a media partner in the Connecting Industry Conference NSW, which was a really interesting experience. This is the interview with Resource Industry Media Managing Director Kieran Moran, on how he created the event.

The Resource Industry Media Managing Director and Organizer of the Connecting Industry Conference NSW, Kieran Moran.

First of all, are you happy with the results of the CIC series? Did they meet your expectations?

The Connecting Industry Conference NSW was the second CIC event with the first being held in Queensland last year. We changed the streaming platform for the NSW event where some of the presenter had some teething problems however, the feedback has been good and it did go a long way in meeting our expectations in terms of attendance and what was delivered.

How did you get involved in the industry events business? You started as a journalist, isn’t it?

Working as a journalist in the central Queensland region allowed me to have strong contact with the resource and construction sector which was followed on as a media advisor for major projects in the region.  I started the communications, engagement and events business called Resource Industry Media a couple of years ago in which I staged face to face events however when COVID hit they had to move online which gave rise to staging major procurement online conferences like Connecting Industry Conferences.

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How much effort did the origination process take for you? Was it a piece of cake or required hard work? Did you face any issues? Who did help?

As I had staged many events over the years it’s basically a five-step process.  Of course, there were issues but nothing significant as the major projects and sponsors were happy to come on board and it’s a progression of getting better as we encounter issues.  I staged the first Connecting Industry Conference on my own, however, the major sponsor of the first conference has now come on board as a business partner which has assisted in the preparation and upscaling of the events.

Which points did you find most interesting at the conference?

It’s amazing the work people do and the scale of the projects.  Many of the presenters are CEO’s, managing directors, or procurement managers of the projects and sometimes I wonder how they sleep at night.  For me, it’s about the people and their story and even though they don’t get to tell their story at the conference, I’ve got to know them in the lead-up where I’ve even become friends and for me, that is what is most important.

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Some of the projects presented are pretty huge; how did you manage to have them summarized in such a precise way?

We ask projects to predominately present up-and-coming procurement opportunities for the sector and get straight to the point. Of course, it can be difficult with only 30min to present however, most of them focus on what’s needed over the next 12 months and direct people to where they can get all of the required information.

I noticed that a lot of these presentations are dedicated to the mentioned projects procurement needs. Is this the key point for your attendance?

Yes.  Connecting Industry Conferences are designed to assist all tiers of the supply chain from SME’s through to large civil construction and engineering companies on the latest project and procurement information.  To build any business most within the sector are always looking for the next project and the key is to accommodate those aims.

We noticed the great work of Nicola Curtis as Master of Ceremonies. According to your experience, how important is this kind of role in these types of events?

To have a good MC is extremely important.  Nicola works within the resource and construction industry and also MC events from time to time.  Her experience within the sector allows her to ask the right questions as well as filter audience questions and she is also very professional and calm when the stakes get high.

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Even though the event was held online, the conference looked like a real event with staging, rooms and lobbies. How do you think the business events landscape will look like in the next years?

The online platform allows us to keep costs down for SME’s compared to attending a face-to-face event. Our goal is to connect industry by maximizing value based on sustainability for all Stakeholders i.e. business, projects, sponsors, and industry. We believe industry and business can no longer justify thousands of dollars on tickets, travel, food, and accommodation to attend an event and are asking all Stakeholders to contribute with a purpose where their social, economic, and environmental impact is minimal.  Attendees can get just as much value online if the format is right compared to face-to-face events and due to COVID and the costs involved to attend a normal conference, we believe more and more businesses will be open to attend our events.

What are the CIC’s next steps? Are you planning to go further and expand the area you are covering in Australia or overseas?

Our next event is in Western Australia in June then back around to Queensland in September and likewise next year again for New South Wales.  As we grow the business we will expand to more states most likely next year and as we have international attendees, we will most look at international events by 2023.

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