A day in the life with Andy Preece

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Andy is a 4global Director, mainly delivering projects in the areas of sport strategy and planning and major sporting events. Andy is currently providing event bidding support to the NEOM project in Saudi Arabia and also advising on legacy implementation following the 2019 Pan American and Parapan American Games in Lima. 

What does a typical day look like for you right now? 

Prior to C19 I would always enthuse to anyone who would listen about how much variety I enjoyed in my role and the fact that genuinely, no two days were ever the same. Since the onset of the C19 restrictions and especially those around travel, I have found myself experiencing the groundhog day effect, often having to ask colleagues or family members what day it actually is! 

Like many people, my work day and calendar has become dominated by video conferences and online ‘chat’ covering both internal meetings and catch-ups as well as project review meetings. As my current projects and project contacts span four different time zones, this can often lead to quite an extended working day. One constant however in the daily routine has been our daily dog walk with Huxley which was an absolute lifeline during the days of full lockdown.  

Alongside whatever is a typical day, we have two teenagers home schooling with A levels and GCSE’s looming next year. We also started a house renovation project just before lockdown which ground to a halt as building materials were just not available but this has now sprung back to life and has a top project manager in the form of my wife who is balancing this alongside her actual full time job. 

How have you adapted to remote working? 

Others may beg to differ but having worked remotely in one form or another for most of my career, I think I have adapted well or rather I have just carried on working as I did before. Having the whole family under the same roof 24 hours a day every day has inevitably presented some challenges at times, not least on the home WiFi which has struggled to keep up.  

Despite some of the technical challenges of remote working I was reflecting recently (as people of a certain age do) how this way of working would just not have been possible even 10 years ago as the technology didn’t exist or was in its infancy. We certainly would have struggled to maintain business continuity in the way we have been able to over the last few months. 

For someone used to spending a lot of time on trains and planes, it was a little unsettling to start with staying in one place but it has also been nice just to pause that aspect of working life which at the best of times can be both stressful and tiring.  I haven’t quite made my mind up yet whether I’m looking forward to resuming international travel!  

What has been your biggest learning moment of the C19 era to date? 

I think there have probably been two main ones. The first was the realisation that actually, despite what we may have thought, many international projects can be delivered on time and on budget without jumping on a plane every few weeks. Some aspects of our approach have had to be adapted as you would expect, but not hugely so. 

The second learning moment has been that it is possible to build and maintain strong client relationships over video and without being in the same room. Those relationships are not necessarily better, they are just different. Literally everyone I have interacted with across many countries over the last few months have been subject to the same challenges, restrictions and concerns so we can all empathise.  

What is the lasting impact that C19 will have on the industry?

Even before the impact of Covid-19 began to be felt, there was a discernible lack of appetite to bid for and host mega sporting events in particular, mainly due to the spiralling cost of bidding and hosting, and C19 will only compound this situation. There is already speculation that it is “very unrealistic” the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will take place next year unless a coronavirus vaccine has been found by then.  

There are, however, a few examples of cities or countries that see major events as a way of stimulating the economy post-C19. Hamilton, Canada with the support of the Commonwealth Games Federation is now looking to bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games and benefit from a reported GDP boost of at least USD $1.2 billion as well as other social and economic advantages.  

In the short term however, the events sector will initially recover where events can be held outdoors with modest numbers of competitors and for individual rather than team sports.  

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