Job Title: National Account Manager
Type of Company: My company provides the services, equipment and labor that are needed to produce trade shows and other arena-style events: the tables for display, the pipe and drapes for decoration and the teamsters, grips, wranglers and audiovisual specialists who assemble, dismantle and run them.
Education: BA, Journalism, San Diego State University
Previous Experience: I was an operations manager at a company that produced and managed trade shows nationwide and I was lured to my present job by a business acquaintance.
Job Tasks: A typical day for me centers on obtaining information about an upcoming show or event from one of our customers: when it begins and ends and when we can start to get them in and start erecting their display. We discuss details: the colors they want to use; their graphics and what they'd like their signs to say; what audiovisual and electrical requirements they have. Armed with this information, I distribute assignments to our production departments. Once the event is under way or about to take place, we manage its operation from start to finish, making sure that the customer is satisfied and dealing with any problems that arise on-site.
Back at the office, we're responsible for bidding on jobs and for budgeting those that we've won. We make sales calls and even help to draft proposals.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job, without question, is the people I meet. Because I spend so much time with customers, in situations that can often be stressful, I form real friendships. But I also enjoy the challenge this job offers. I learn something new every day and, for me, that's important.
The worst part of the job are the schedule and the crazy hours. I've worked for four weeks straight on occasion, without a day off.
1.) If you are going to college, see if you can get a position interning.
2.) Know what your strengths and weaknesses are. A job in this industry weeds people out pretty quickly. It can be very intense, but very exciting as well.
3.) Consider joining a local chapter of IAEE (International Association of Exhibition and Events).
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