Q. Can you tell us about yourself and your journey in this Industry
A. Hello, my name is Sachin Patil and I belong to a very small town in Maharashtra called Buldana. I did my graduation in Mumbai and started my professional career in a Shipping Company in Mumbai. My second phase of career started with shifting of my base from Mumbai to New Delhi to pursue my higher education.
My journey in the trade fair business started in the year 2009 when I was studying PGDM in Tourism & Leisure Management with specialisation in Events Management from IITTM, New Delhi. My first trade fair project as an Intern was Componex Nepcon organised by Reed Exhibitions which opened the doors for me in the trade fairs business. Soon after that I started working for Messe Duesseldorf India. I climbed the ladder of success quite fast as I was a quick learner and absolutely dedicated to the projects that I handled and subsequently became Project Manager there. A major breakthrough knocked my doors when I was approached by Reliance group (ADAG Group) to join them as a core team member to launch their exhibition business in India which was later moved to Bloomberg TV India. We jointly organised India Manufacturing Show in Bengaluru with Laghu Udyog Bharti which was a super success. This event gave me a great exposure as I worked with the industry veterans like Mr. Anand Mahindra, Mr. Baba Kalyani, Mr. Kris Gopalkrishnan, etc. as a part of the core committee of the exhibition. I was called back again at Messe Duesseldorf India after the successful delivery of India Manufacturing Show to take care of couple of projects including some preliminary launches.
I was then later promoted to Director of Business Development & Corporate Strategy as a core management member during my second stint with them and worked on a lot of areas including shaping corporate strategy of the company, working on new topics and brining new exhibitions and setting up modern IT infrastructure for them. Later on, I worked with India Art Fair, a JV of MCH Group and Montgomery Exhibitions, as the Director of Production and Operations. Executing India Art Fair was most challenging for me in my career. The magnitude at which it is organised and the way it is executed widened up my thought process. The idea of opening Messe India brewed in the year 2018 to provide quality trade fairs in the local markets with our international expertise. And, now we are currently in the process of planning and executing 14 trade fairs before the financial year 2019 ends. We are already working with good partners in this industry and hope to grow inch-by-inch in this sector. I owe my trade fair journey to Mr. Udo Schuertzmann, Mr. Sachin Dev Sharma and Mr. Himanshu Gupta, who have always been there with me in all times and has been the guiding light of my life.
Q. What are your greatest professional strengths?
A. I have always been an avid learner, I always went deep inside any topic I was working on, which gave me a good base to build. Staying with the new technological trends and ability to use software like AutoCAD, Corel Draw, Adobe InDesign gave me an edge. I learned the additional skill sets only with the use or internet without any formal training, all in my free time. Now, I am able to make websites, work on designs and create marketing materials, work on the floor layout, all by myself. The corporate & the trade fairs websites for Messe India has been made by me only.
Q. What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
A. I am jack of all trades and master of none! I believe, I have not been able to master any particular area as my mind is constantly occupied with different things and sometime, I lack focus when it is needed.
Q. What is your greatest professional achievement?
A. To be the Founding Director of Messe India and manage to retain the best talent from the exhibition industry who worked with me in the past to work together for Messe India.
Q. Tell us about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.
A. Working with multinational has its perk and has it downsides as well. I have had an experience of lifetime working in one of my previous organisations. Any organisation’s biggest assets are its employees and everything works well if there is mutual respect and admiration between peers and bosses within the organisation and there is harmony in working. If someone sitting at the top tries to dictate his terms and behaves in an autocratic and fascist fashion, it is essentially required not to get bullied and do what is right for the organisation and for you individually. You should be able to take a stand for your own self and your subordinates in such a situation. Ultimately, it is the truth which always triumphs no matter how hard anybody tries to play you down.
Q. How do you deal with pressure or stressful situations?
A. I listen to music! It helps me re-energise and come out of stressful situations. I like not to panic in stressful situation, I believe that any situation can be overcome if you have the confidence and grit & determination to come out of it.
Q. How do you balance your professional work life? What do you like to do outside of work?
A. Honestly, I have not been able to balance my professional work life due to the kind of work I have been dealing with in the past few years. I have become a workaholic, though, I would like to change this situation soon. I am thankful to my family for their support and sacrifice.
Q. What according to you are the challenges and the opportunities in the Indian Exhibition Industry?
A. Currently, the exhibition industry in India is looking to restructure itself. There has been a lot of integrations and mergers lately, not only in India but globally also. A lot of new players have emerged bringing new exhibitions which is a good sign for the industry. New exhibition venues are planned and existing ones getting revamped! Although, I feel there is a lot of concentration of exhibition taking place in Mumbai and Delhi, and some in Bengaluru and Chennai also. There is a strong need to develop new exhibition venues in the other parts of India to develop the local markets and also bringing small niche trade fairs to these markets. The country is going to ride on good GDP growth rate for the next couple of years, which will be a great opportunity for the exhibition sector in India to touch the lives of every citizen of the country in some way or the other.
Q. What do you think about the contribution of exhibitions industry in promoting small-scale business?
A. I am a firm believer that exhibitions, particularly trade fairs, acts as a catalyst to develop & grow the economy of a nation. Trade Fairs bring new technology, products, solutions which can ultimately help local economy to grow at large. SMEs by the means of participating in a trade fairs adopts the global trends, bring innovation, enter new markets, establish international business co-operation, etc. Ultimately, SMEs being the backbone of any economy, is considered as a main driver for generating employment. In the grand scheme of things, if we are able to connect the dots, we see that trade fairs have an important role for growing the economy.
Q. Can you recount an event where you handled a crisis situation effectively?
A. In one of my previous organisations, I was asked to execute an event with an area of 15,000 sqm at the very last hour (2 weeks prior to the event) for which I had no previous experience, with all new team members (including me) and that too with a lot of new suppliers. Despite all these challenges, we executed a very successful event, better than all past editions, just by keeping our basics rights. The planning was executed to perfection with trusted team members who worked rigorously on-site sometimes with straight 48 hrs shift without leaving the site.
Q. What innovations would you like to introduce in your show format?
A. We are young start-up and are inclined towards using technology for the betterment of our exhibitions. We are currently working with a technological platform which would ease interaction between our exhibitors and visitors in our show. It will be too early to talk about this at the moment but soon we will announce it for all. Also, we have decided that we will take care of safety and security of the people on-site very seriously and would make it mandatory for workers from our suppliers, exhibitors and anyone present on-site during build-up of the exhibition, to wear safety gears like helmets, reflective jackets, boots, masks, etc. and would also urge other organisers in India to start this practice.
Q. What are your upcoming plans?
A. We have some great announcements in the next couple of months regarding some good JVs and Partnerships. We also like to focus on emerging markets like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka and Myanmar to organise niche exhibitions there.
Q. As an Exhibition Organizer, what process do you adopt to choose the Event Venue & what are your expectations from Venue owners?
A. First of all, a lot of research goes in determining the place where any particular trade fair has to be organised. Choosing venue for that place probably is a secondary option for majority of the trade fairs organisers. Also, organisers have not much options for choosing venue thereafter. It all depends on the availability of the halls for your choice of date with respect to your area requirements. All organisers expect that venue owners accommodate their needs and small requests on a short notice. A special shout-out to India Expo Mart, Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, NSIC Exhibition Centre and HITEX Exhibition Centre for being that venue organiser who accommodates your needs and requests and for being super supportive at all times.