Atea; One Place – Confessions of a Project Manager

Mennesker, fest, festival, event

We at Oslofjord Convention Center love events – the bigger the better! That is why there is great joy and enthusiasm among our employees now that we can finally have big events again. We recently had Atea visit with 7,000 of its employees and here you can get a little insight into what it is like being a project manager for such an event.

When large event productions are to be launched, there is an enormous machinery that must work optimally so that the guests has the best experience. Therefore, it cannot be understated that a large event requires a lot of planning, and a good deal of flexibility.

Martha Benedicte Skogholm is a project manager at Oslofjord Convention Center and has worked with us for more than three years. We sat down with her to get some insights on what it’s like to be responsible for en event like this.

What is the first thing you do when you are assigned a new event and the final date has been set?
“The first thing we do is to arrange a meeting with the customer where we go into more detail about what the customer wants for their event. That’s when the actual concept development starts, and it’s a very exciting phase!”

How much time is needed to plan an event of this magnitude?
“For this size, we should have 6-8 months, especially considering the concept development. There are many elements that have to be carefully planned in order to get a good flow so that the guest experience is the best it can be.”
Which part of the process do you find most exciting?
“The most exciting thing before the event is to see how the event develops, from an idea to a complete event with its own food concepts, set up, entertainment and everything that goes with it. Suddenly you see how the various components become a large event that will satisfy the customer and end consumer.”
What do you think is most exciting during the event itself?
“During the event, things happen all the time and you really have to keep up with the changes! It happens that something comes up along the way and then it’s incredibly fun to see how quickly we can solve things together internally! It’s also always very nice to see that all the guests are enjoying themselves.”
What is it that you are most afraid of going wrong, when gathering so many people?
“You always have in the back of your mind that something might happen, for example, access systems not working, or that something will happen to the sound and lighting system. Luckily, we have good people who are on stand by and fortunately major incidents happen very rarely. It’s also a moment of excitement in itself if the experience lives up to expectations, so it’s great fun when the result is as good as during Atea’s event.”

But sometimes things happen

One must always be prepared for something unforeseen happening. During a break in the program on Saturday, there was a bit of pressure on the coffee sales in the Oslofjord Arena, fortunately the F&B department was quick and came up with good solutions. They came running with extra coffee and set up the outdoor areas so that we could take advantage of the nice weather. Life was bustling and the guests enjoyed themselves together in the sun.

How was it to be at work that weekend?
“It was really cool to see how everyone at Oslofjord contributed to making this a successful event. We got to see employees from all departments in action and everyone had fun along the way. It’s fun working with such a tight-knit group!”
What was the coolest thing for you as project manager about this particular project?
“Atea as a customer! Here, it was assumed that there would be a real party around the clock. They had planned so much fun for the participants, from the time they got up until they went to bed. They really focused on what would create a better community within their company.”
What was the first thing you did when it all was over?
“I went home, had a drink and slept for 14 hours.”

Hosting fellowship and instant communities

It is during events like this, where people come together and stay together for a long time, that the sense of community can really flourish. Friendships are built, strengthened, and renewed, but also the feeling of a common direction and a common goal gives increased motivation to tackle the future together. That’s why we at Oslofjord love our job; because we can host large and small communities!