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IFSEC SA gets a makeover
November 2010, Training, Conferences & Events

Ross Cullingworth is in the hot seat for IFSEC South Africa 2011, Hi-Tech Security Solutions spoke to him about his task.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Can you introduce Montgomery Africa to us and describe your current role in the company.

Cullingworth: Montgomery Africa is a subsidiary company of Montgomery Specialised, which incorporates Specialised Exhibitions, Montgomery Africa and SE Shows and Events. It is 100% owned by Montgomery Worldwide and through these companies runs or manages around 40 exhibitions over a two-year period.

UBM Montgomery is a joint venture between United Business Media and Montgomery Africa and is the company that runs IFSEC South Africa. Montgomery Africa is under the leadership of Grant Mills who is the MD and reports to Damion Angus (MD of Montgomery Worldwide) who is based in the UK.

My role as the commercial events director is to look after the UBM portfolio in
sub-Saharan Africa – firstly to grow the IFSEC brand into the region and secondly to look for other opportunities, both locally and throughout other African Markets. The OSH Expo will be the first of these new shows that we will be launching into South Africa in 2011, co-locating at Gallagher Convention Centre with IFSEC SA.

From left: Jacques Swanepoel – sales executive; Sean Osterloh – marketing executive; Grant Mills – managing director Montgomery Africa; Ross Cullingworth – commercial event director; Brad Hook – operations manager; Julie Corbett – office administrator
From left: Jacques Swanepoel – sales executive; Sean Osterloh – marketing executive; Grant Mills – managing director Montgomery Africa; Ross Cullingworth – commercial event director; Brad Hook – operations manager; Julie Corbett – office administrator

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Please provide a brief history of your work experience.

Cullingworth: After spending five years overseas, I started working for Stellenbosch Farmers Winery (SFW) in the mid-nineties as a sales executive and later moved on to become the promotions manager for the Northern Region. After leaving SFW, I joined Ramsay Son & Parker (now Ramsay Media) working as an advertising sales executive on Getaway Magazine. Within two years I was promoted to Exhibition Manager. I then did a brief stint with Primediaonline where I was responsible for sales on the iafrica.com, sport365 and Ster Kinekor platforms.

I then joined IHS in 2008 as the national sales manager. In July 2010 I was approached by Montgomery Africa to take over the management of the UBM Montgomery international portfolio, of which IFSEC is one of the most successful brands.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: What news can you tell us about IFSEC SA? Was the 2010 show well received? What about 2011? Is the Securex name vanishing?

Cullingworth: IFSEC SA/Securex will be aligning itself even closer to the IFSEC brand internationally, which will see the Securex brand fall away from 2011. The move promises to offer visitors an unforgettable experience with all the knowledge, expertise and latest developments that would be available at the international event, without losing the local flavour.

Our aim is to improve on the overall look and feel of IFSEC SA in order to open the doors to international markets, as well as attracting a more diverse exhibitor mix and visitors from throughout the SADC region.

By all accounts the 2010 event proved to be a huge success with increased visitor numbers and a wider range of exhibitors present at the recently completed show. The continued growth bodes well for the future of IFSEC SA and has allowed for some exciting opportunities that will be opening up in 2011.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: Will there be a new team working on organising IFSEC SA? Why the change?

Cullingworth: The recent developments have necessitated a complete restructure of the IFSEC team locally, which will now incorporate a commercial event director, responsible for the overall management of the shows, two dedicated sales executives, a marketing manager and an in-house operations manager to assist with service requirements. The restructure of the division will create a more streamlined approach to the organisation of the event with the intention of seeing increased growth over the next three years.

Hi-Tech Security Solutions: What are your views on the future of IFSEC and similar shows in South and southern Africa? It is an untapped market? Are you expecting good growth?

Cullingworth: With an increase in both exhibitors and visitors from outside of South Africa to IFSEC 2010 (the majority being from Nigeria) the future bodes well for companies looking to expand their market share into Africa. The American, Asian and European markets are saturated which leaves the African continent wide open to opportunity. We have taken the first step into exploring opportunities outside of South Africa with the launch of IFSEC West Africa. With security high on the political agenda and the West African security market estimated to be worth around R11 billion, IFSEC WA is well positioned to open up unparallel expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa.


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