Events Industry Insights Across The GCC
Emily Stracey, Byrne Equipment Rental UAE, and Praveen Kumar, Byrne Equipment Rental KSA, chat to TPMEA about their respective roles at this mainstay of the Middle East events industry.
Founded in the UAE in the early 1990s, Byrne Equipment Rental has since grown to become one of the largest plant and equipment rental companies in the Middle East, with 20 operational bases, covering the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, as well as a fleet of over 14,000 items and a dedicated team of over 1,500 people.
Here, TPMEA catches up with Emily Stracey of Byrne’s UAE branch, as well as Praveen Kumar of the company’s Saudi Arabia operation, who share some industry insights from their respective divisions.
Tell us about your role at Byrne…
Emily Stracey: I’ve been with Byrne for over five years now. I joined the company as a Sales Executive in 2017 and, after two years in the role, I was promoted. I now oversee the Events division for the UAE, where I plan and manage the forecast for the year ahead while supporting operations. I’ve worked on some of the biggest events in the UAE including Dubai Rugby Sevens, Papal visit, Special Olympics, Dubai Air Show, and UFC, not to mention hundreds of concerts over the years. I’ve built some great relationships during my time here, on behalf of Byrne but also where clients have become my friends, and this has been an invaluable benefit of the job and my role in this region.
Praveen Kumar: I have been part of the Byrne family for over 12 years. I joined as Branch Manager of the Riyadh operation and have since worked my way up to be the Assistant General Manager for the Events division in KSA. I develop, manage, and execute the operations, with an excellent experienced team here in the Kingdom.
How were you affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
ES: We were fortunate during the pandemic as Byrne services other industries such as Construction and Oil and Gas, which enabled us to restructure and adapt to the climate around us. As a result, no redundancies were made and, pre-2021 season, we restructured back to meet the upcoming demands. During the pandemic, we were heavily involved in the COVID-19 relief efforts and supported the construction of field hospitals in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which was extremely rewarding for all of us involved. We also deployed equipment and manpower to Africa to install hospitals.
The events sector in the UAE has adapted to the challenges posed by COVID-19 and is steadily moving towards recovery while keeping the latest safety regulations at the heart of all planned future events, and we are no different. Q4 of 2021 was a fantastic period for us, which led us to expand the events team, our fleet and our single-source solution offering, and we are now ready for an even bigger 2022.
PK: The events division in KSA was hit hard by the pandemic due to the industry coming to a complete standstill. However, to weather the storm, we pivoted our skills and capabilities to provide temporary hospitals, camps to maintain social distancing norms and COVID-19 testing centers. Our operational teams worked tirelessly through the challenges it was presented with and we have come out stronger, ready for the year ahead and beyond.
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