Stories#086 Joey's inspiring event management

#086 Joey's inspiring event management

The story of Sterre's scavenger hunt is a story of Joey's inspiring event management

Event manager Joey Pals likes to do things right. Give him a subject and his imagination starts flowing. Groundbreaking tech-med research, up-and-coming talent, impressive innovations: the TechMed Centre produces so many beautiful things, the spotlights on it! And even in his spare time, he can't resist organising from A to Z. "Just a meeting", that's not Joey's style. He goes for the total experience. For content and interaction. For knowledge and cross-pollination. For wonder and indulgence. How would a birthday be celebrated in the Pals household?, is what Master's student Sterre van Arum wonders.

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Monday 5 september 2022 

Arranged from A to Z

Sterre: ‘Hi Joey, nice to talk to you. You're an event manager at TechMed Centre, a position I didn't even know existed. How did you hear about this?’

Joey: ‘My first introduction to UT was through Pals Events, my own events company at the time. I became involved in organising Pre-U, a science and technology programme for high school students, and was commissioned to organise Inspire-U, a summer camp slash science festival for 4, 5 and 6 vwo students from all over the world. The atmosphere of the group was great, the project collaboration went very smoothly, I have nothing but fond memories of it. So when the vacancy for event manager at TechMed came up a while later, I was immediately enthusiastic. I have a very nice and versatile job.'

Sterre: ‘How do you organise an event?' 

Joey: ‘I sometimes compare it to building a house. You have an idea, make a blueprint, make all kinds of calculations, check the feasibility, arrange financing, buy materials and hire professionals, start building and ensure that interested parties will attend. As an event manager I take on all those tasks from A to Z. Or from A to E, just what TechMed Centre or a researcher wishes.'

Sterre: 'In times of corona, the event calendar was suddenly empty. What did you do then?'

Joey: ‘An important pillar of TechMed is to create a connection between academia and the corporate world. And because a lot of corona-related research was done within our institute right off the bat – and admittedly, also because I don't like to sit still – I immediately started to delve into organizing online and hybrid events, in order to be able to share those research results and to realise matchmaking. Since that went pretty well, colleagues from all over campus came knocking on my door for tips and advice. I was definitely not bored then, haha.’

“Sitting on a chair and looking at a screen is something people can do at home too. Event attendees also want to be entertained and pampered”
Joey Pals

Sterre: 'When is an event successful for you?'

Joey: ‘If the client and the visitors get what they expect – and preferably more. The program of events often looks similar: first one or two keynote speakers, then workshops. But, to put it bluntly: sitting on a chair and looking at a screen, people can do that at home too. A big name on the bill as a crowd-puller is good, but participants also want to be entertained and pampered. A good event is a total experience of content, interaction, entertainment, and pampering. And everything around the program is also important. Because where does it happen? Not during the lecture, but during the breaks, during lunch, the drinks, the walking tour, the game. "Hey, how nice to see you here, let's catch up later." Those are the moments when contacts are made and plans are forged.'

Sterre: 'I'm curious what a birthday at your house looks like. Can you just invite some people without making a big spectacle out of it?’

Joey: 'My girlfriend is also a project manager, so in theory a party could very well turn into a festival, haha. But no, I’d rather celebrate my birthday intimate and relaxed, with my girlfriend, our 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son, and some family. For a weekend with friends I always try to come up with a surprise. For example, by combining a long mountain bike ride with a beautiful running route – we now call our weekends training camps – and of course with good food and drinks. And then in the evening I turn out to be the quiz master of a friends quiz or game show. It's always great fun. In my spare time, I also recently organised the Stoer Voer food truck festival in Enschede, which took place for the first time at the end of May. More than 15,000 visitors, workshops, lectures, music and of course a lot of food trucks. It was a big success.'

Sterre: ‘Great, tell me! And I believe you're already working on the TechMed Event, early November. I read on the UT website that it’s part of the MedTech Twente Week this year. That's new, isn't it?'

Joey: ‘That's right. MedTech Twente Week is a meeting platform for knowledge centres, medical specialists and the corporate world, with the aim of strengthening medical technology in the Twente region. At our own TechMed Event, we present innovations, offer our up-and-coming and established researchers a stage, foster collaboration with industry and make connections with potential investors. Because we organise various MedTech-related events every year, these complement each other nicely in terms of content and attract the same visitors, including many foreign guests, I thought it would be a good idea to join forces with various partners in the MedTech Twente cluster. Together we can leave a mark and present even more medtech talent and innovation to all interested parties.'

“The events we organize around TechMed's research contribute to a fair, sustainable and digital society”
Joey Pals

Sterre: ‘Sounds good! Do you have any wishes for event management on campus?'

Joey: ‘The events we organise around TechMed's research contribute to the fair, sustainable, and digital society that UT describes in its mission. I would therefore like to see our events receive the same attention as, for example, the open days and other corporate UT events. I also think that we can make much more use of each other's knowledge and expertise campus-wide. I see interesting collaboration partners in the Events Office, Booking Office and Marketing and Communication. Let's meet up and see when and how we can work together.’

Sterre: 'I'm going to keep an eye on the event calendar!'

Joey Pals (1985)

studied Leisure Management at the Breda University of Applied Sciences (then: NHTV tourism college) and Leisure Sciences at Tilburg University. After gaining a few years of work experience at an event agency, he founded his own company: Pals Events. In those years he was also a lecturer in Event Management at Tio University of Applied Sciences. Since 2018, he has been working at UT as an event manager at TechMed.

Sterre van Arum (2000)

 is in her last year of the master’s Interaction Technology. Before that, she did a bachelor’s creative technology, where she has been a student assistant since 2018. She also committed herself to the Green Hub for six months as Community & Communications Officer.