Whether it is an event with the Dalai Lama, a football conference in the Hotel Okura, or a podium on the football field of the Amsterdam Arena – give the assignment to Herman Stöve (43), Operations Coordinator at ACS audiovisual solutions, and he will ensure that it will be delivered to the customer’s requirement. Day and night. “I have my phone turned on all night long.”
What’s his secret? Stöve is a multi-tasker. He began with ACS at the age of 21 as a driver, and moved step-by-step to his current position. Because Stöve has worked his way up through the organisation, he knows everything that the audiovisual portfolio can do and also what the limitations are for each piece of equipment.
Can you explain exactly what you do at ACS the AV company?
“After sales have secured a contract and agreed on the deliverables, I start working on the customer’s requirements. I look at what is achievable in terms of light, sound, video and display screen. For example, we recently had to take care of a conference for a football organisation in the Hotel Okura. They wanted a full colour background screen of five by twenty meters that would display images of football players. They also wanted the option for sound and microphones. I always check in advance that everything is available on the days that the conference will be held. It was an event of two days, but it is also important to take into account the time needed for the construction and dismantling. For me, an event is only complete once all the equipment is back in its place in the warehouse. Sometimes things can get broken. When this happens I know that I cannot use the broken equipment at my next event.”
“The event at the Hotel Okura was a relatively simple assignment. However, I also had the responsibility of the conference with the Dalai Lama. I needed to take into consideration the enormous security requirements. To the same levels were required for a conference about radicalisation.”
“I am busy with national events. Someone else focuses specifically on the events in RAI Amsterdam. For international events we have the AV company’s Projects Department.”
What makes this job fun?
(Without thinking). “The variety. No day is the same. Each customer has their own needs and requirements and you have to constantly make sure that a beautiful finished product is being created. What was special about the example I described at Hotel Okura, was that we were only able to start setting up at 20.00. The conference would start the next day. So we needed to work in shifts through the night to get everything ready on time. In the morning, we hand over to the engineers.” “When do I feel relief? I have done this job for long enough not to panic. I stay calm. But I was happy when it ended well and everything was back in the warehouse.”
What makes ACS so special in the way they handle this?
“Taking care, is what ACS the AV company is good at. That allows the customer to have full peace of mind and leave it to us to take care of the audiovisual aspects of the congress. In addition, and I speak on behalf of the department in Amsterdam, we offer flexibility. We are available from six o’clock in the morning until two or three o’clock into the night. We are able to supply at least 95 percent of the requests we receive – requests to supply audiovisual equipment like microphones, sound systems and screens – we are available at these times and deliver within an hour. Our customers know that we offer this, whilst other audiovisual companies do not.”
What is the biggest challenge you have overcome?
“I have experienced everything. But what I found particularly challenging, was a conference in the Amsterdam Arena. The client wanted visitors to see a podium on the football field from the stands. It was important that the sound equipment from the field could be heard in the stands.” “In our profession technology is a necessary evil. At a concert the audience will see the light, sound and images. But at a conference you do not want to see all of these elements. Technology is therefore not more than an aid.”
How do you ensure a satisfied customer?
“If all the customer requirements are implemented within budget. You do not want to make lots of changes halfway through.”
What are the possibilities for a customer of ACS audiovisual solutions?
“Anything is possible as long as there is a big enough budget. We are a one stop shop: we supply every product. If we are missing something in-house, then we look for partners who can supply to us. The customer can leave everything to us.”