Last Word with Bill Butler

The MD of Brintex Events on delegate catering, being mesmerised by Paul McKenna and receiving his dad’s Arctic Star medal. 

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What is the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?


1) The lack of exhibition space and dates in London.
2) The cost of providing quality delegate catering in the UK compared to much of Europe, where the quality is so much better for the same price.

What are the three things you would change in the industry?

 

Too many straight lines, organisers including me generally think in just straight lines; more curves please. Lack of creativity caused by overzealous health and safety regulations, which will soon discourage any individuality. Lazy exhibitors, despite all the advice, help and tools that we provide as organisers, there is always one stand that does not put any effort in at all.

Which speaker has most impressed you at an exhibition?


There have been many over the years that have inspired me but Paul McKenna was absolutely mesmerising.

Which member of the industry is least likely to get a round in first?


Difficult one to answer because at Brintex, all candidate employees undergo an extensive interview and screening process that immediately weeds out the sort of person who is backwards about coming forwards in getting a round in at the bar.
I lead by example regularly.

Where is the best place for a nightcap and what would it be?


Samoan Fog Cutters at Trader Vicks or frankly anywhere with a late licence, preferably my local pub.

Favourite restaurant – best dish?


Living in London that’s a tough question with so many great restaurants to choose from, but for me the tasting menu at Pollen Street Social Club is hard to beat. For midweek spice, Masala Zone. The chicken and egg curry is one of life’s great riddles; they also serve up the best Thalis in London in
my opinion.

Most prized possession?


I have a few boys’ toys. But what I am most proud of is my Dad’s Arctic Star medal that I recently received from the MOD. It was posthumously awarded for the time he served on the Arctic convoy ships, north of the Arctic Circle in 1939.

Biggest weakness?


Too positive and generous, I always try to find the positive in everything and everyone. I suspect this drives some people in my office mad. This is why I need a strict FD to keep me in check.

Proudest moment (in and outside the industry)?


As a young but ambitious organiser I think it was my promotion to event director of Traffex that is now the largest show in the Brintex calendar. I remember my final interview at the NEC with Andrew Evans and Malcolm Taylor who I somehow convinced I was the man for the job. Of course outside of work I am most proud of my three daughters who are all cool and unique in their own special way.

Team you support and why?


Has to be Arsenal. The only team I was bothered about enough to collect the full set of stickers in my 1980 Panini sticker album, aged 8 3/4.

What’s the best putdown you’ve heard in the industry?


“The only thing you can authorise is the colour of your underwear.” Not said to me but heard during an (alleged) telephone sales call.

Tell us something we don’t know about you?


I was born Lee William Butler and nearly died of pneumonia aged six months. Apparently I was very lucky to survive. Dropped Lee and changed my name to William aged 16, after my dad. Never looked back.

Worst item of clothing you own?


A white Ali G puffer jacket with fur, I thought it looked cool until someone told me what it really looked like.

Worst job you’ve had/worst experience you’ve had in the workplace?


I have worked at Brintex for 25 years so not many to choose from, but probably the worst but also oddly the best was selling door-to-door carpet cleaning in the evenings after college.


It was a job that taught me persistence and determination pays off. Probably my worst professional moment was locking myself out of my hotel room while on-site. I have done this twice now. Both times I was completely stark naked, once in Stockholm and again in Dublin. I apologise in advance to any readers who witnessed either spectacle.

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