Client Spotlight on Donald Draper, Labor Trailer Office Manager, GES Exposition Services:
Exhibiting Outstanding Mentorship Qualities and Results
When we think of Las Vegas, we often think of fantastic hotels, casinos and the city’s unrivaled nightlife. For many companies however, the city has become the place to be and be seen when it comes to high-profile expos, tradeshows and conventions. Front and center of the city’s massive events management business boom is GES Exposition Services. As the producer of some of the world’s most visible and influential events in the tradeshow industry, GES typically has around 20 major events scheduled in Las Vegas each month. To ensure that each event goes as perfectly as planned, GES deploys a small fleet of mobile offices called Labor Trailers. Operating on-site at the venue of each GES-produced event, Labor Trailers are veritable command centers from which every event detail is carefully orchestrated.
The Eye of the Storm
With up to 1,000 people working on one event and several events on the GES calendar per week, Labor Trailer Office Manager Donald Draper helps oversee the daunting task of coordinating the multitude of tasks required to set up, man and clean up acres of event space. Fortunately, Donald a meticulous yet energetic personality, and the experience his role demands. Before joining GES in 2002, Donald was in the Public Relations and Marketing business, specializing in entertainment and product placement. He also had stints in IT and Human Resources, and had already honed his skills in Office Management. This diverse background comes into full play in his role as Office Manager, which, as simple as it sounds, involves a myriad of duties.
On any given day, Donald’s to-do list includes bringing Temps in, overseeing personnel training by senior clerks, making sure all the teams involved in the production have the right people, watching the budget and making sure that everything and everyone’s charges and pay are correct. “My team, which is spread out from the Labor Trailer to labor desks at the Mandalay Bay, the Venetian and other sites, takes care of checking personnel in all the way to checking them out. In between, we have to make sure everyone is provided with cellular equipment,” says Donald, who programs up to 350 Nextel phones at a time. “We also have to interface when workers report for work, go on breaks, and then leave for the day and match it with payroll.”
Details Big and Small
When asked about his biggest challenge, Donald says, “Just keeping track of all the changes and making sure the whole production staff knows about them, that my team knows about them, and most importantly, that I know about them. I always make sure to get up-to-date on the status of things the minute I get in, and that all channels of communication are clear for everyone involved in the production.” According to Donald, with so many minutiae involved in most aspects of production, it’s vital that he finds good people to work directly with him. “I need to be able to count on and communicate with them,” says Donald, who goes on to explain that this is the reason he has so much appreciation for AppleOne Henderson’s Branch Manager, Amy Dearing. “She’s there for me, even on Sunday mornings, because we work on weekends to prepare for events, and she has a list of people we can work with, from files of those we have had experience working with potential temps who promise to be a great fit. Amy has become a good friend because she really makes me look good by sending great people. She has that necessary level of enthusiasm and perseverance needed to deliver the level of results that I and we as a company require.” Donald adds that Amy has become a partner for the Labor Trailer operations, delivering service that he did not experience with previous staffing providers. “We are, plain and simple, a very demanding company to work with, and yet, we need to coordinate a thousand people in one shift. Still, Amy and her team, including Samantha, Diana, Evelyn and Carole, always come through for us.”
A Great Manager, An Excellent Client
With so much happening on a daily basis, it’s easy to imagine Donald rushing from one task to another. In actuality, he makes time to truly manage his team which is typically 25 members strong. “As a Manager, I place great importance in mentoring. Otherwise, I am just moving people in and out, and there’s no connection. Working at the Labor Trailers can be very intense, and it’s not unusual for some people to burn out. Working here is really like paying your dues, because you are always visible and demanded upon. I have set requirements on what must be done for things to function smoothly, and when my people deliver and prove themselves, I want to be able to help them move forward with more knowledge and prepared to take on bigger things.”
Proof of Donald’s commitment is the growing number of GES employees who began their careers with the company at the Labor Trailers. “We have four labor supervisors, who fill the actual calls for union workers. They have all moved up professionally, and the very first AppleOne clerical assigned with me two years ago is now doing great as a Labor Supervisor. As much as possible, I try to keep good people, and if I cannot keep them here at the Labor Trailer, I recommend them to our headquarters.”
“I have been in this industry for 15 years, and Donald Draper is the best, most precious client that Henderson can ever imagine,” says Amy. “He is kind, considerate, and also direct-to-the-point.” According to Amy, she met Donald when he was working with another staffing provider. “I introduced myself, saying I stand by my word, and he put me through the grindstone, and now we work with the whole company. The entire GES is equally as wonderful as Donald.” In addition to the Labor Trailer, the AppleOne associates on assignment with GES now include administrative, accounts payable, data entry and the call center personnel as well as 3D CAD and graphic designers.
A Higher Level of Teamwork
“I once went in and took the tests myself to see what AppleOne’s Temporary personnel go through,” he says. To further tailor-fit Temporary employees to his team’s needs, Donald includes a detailed Power Point presentation in his team’s new-hire orientation. “Our business uses a lot of jargon that I want everyone to understand. I also want everyone on the same page with our processes, like how to fill out and submit timecards, for example. Time is critical here, and peak efficiency is vital.”
As detail-oriented as Donald is, he knows only too well that there are qualities that you cannot train into people. “One of Amy’s strengths is her ability to find people who possess good work ethics and customer service these and other qualities that are important to me.” According to Donald, Amy always goes on-site to see how things are going with the associates, so she understands how we work here. “This is definitely not an office environment and people really need to be on a higher level of being able to work together if we want things done in a way that meets our standards.”
Las Vegas-based GES Exposition Services, a subsidiary of Viad Corp (NYSE: VVI) services every major convention market across North America. GES provides a wide range of services including exhibition planning and design, exhibit rental and fabrication, material handling, staging and rigging, temporary electrical equipment, signs and graphics manufacturing, installation and dismantling, carpet and furnishings, and transportation services. GES produces many well-known shows including the International Consumer Electronics Show, International Council of Shopping Centers, MAGIC, CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE. For more information, visit www.ges.com