Legacy Member Q&A: Rick Andrews
Friday, July 14, 2017
Post school, Rick Andrews went to work as an outside sales representative for a Fortune-500 company for 10 years. As conglomerates began taking over companies, Rick went looking for something completely different, which led him to the event rental business. This field is not for people who do not handle stress well—and Rick has spent 19 years in it. Currently the Southeast regional representative for Airstar, Rick has enjoyed 31 years in the special events industry.
ILEA: Looking back over the course of your career, what has been the most influential factor that has shaped the direction of the events industry?
Andrews: I believe the advancement of communication is the largest factor in how we deal with our industry from photos to contracts. I remember a time when a fax and a phone call were a must in order to do business. But now with instant communication, so much can be done in a shorter amount of time. However, even with this advancement in communication I feel it is important that we never lose the importance of having that phone call. While instant communications has made our lives easier, it shouldn’t take away those personal interactions, which is what the events industry is truly all about.
ILEA: What is the one piece of advice you wish you had at the beginning of your career?
Andrews: Looking back, I learned a valuable lesson, which is to make yourself invaluable to client’s needs. You learn much more by listening, not speaking. There are times when it is important that you get the conversation rolling with some pertinent questions—an absolute must! But then, the smartest people at the table are those who are sitting back and listening. It’s an old sales adage, but one that is still very pertinent today: The smartest folks are those who have their mouths closed and their ears open.
ILEA: Looking forward, what do you anticipate will be the most significant trend to shape the future direction of this industry?
Andrews: Truthfully, it is a robust economy. This is absolutely integral to the success of the events industry. We’ve all lived through periods of a down economy that has forced our clients to make some very undesirable decisions. Going forward, I anticipate a robust economy that will keep us all moving forward, and one which can create a lot of opportunity across the board.
ILEA: What does it mean to you to be considered a mentor or leader in this space?
Andrews: I am personally humbled but always plan to be available to help others find their way.
ILEA: Please describe the value of being a member of ILEA and what this has meant to your career.
Andrews: ILEA is a trusted referral source and a business pool for ideas as well as a forum to discuss ethics and build lasting relationships.