by Sarah J.F. Braley | October 01, 2007

Bob Walker“I ask planners what ‘must’ be part of the event and then what ‘might’ be part of the event.”

Bob Walker, vice president of creative services for Dallas-based AVW-TELAV audiovisual services, was the winner of Meeting Professionals International’s 2007 International Supplier of the Year award. He came to the industry 31 years ago from the broadcasting world.

What has kept you in this industry for so long? This has been an extraordinary adventure for me -- allowing me to experience a lot of new things and meet people I never would have met otherwise. The variety has made this so interesting -- no two days are ever the same.

How do you help planners create better events? In a word, I listen. I ask planners what “must” be part of the event and then what “might” be part of the event, given no restrictions of time or budget. Then I listen to their dream or goal, and many times we discover it together.

How do you characterize the best relationships between A/V companies and planners? Marriage is a good metaphor for that relationship. It’s a partnership where we can communicate openly and look out for each other’s best interests. We work together for each other’s common long-term good.

What mistake do planners make most often? It’s no surprise that planners are driven by cost and, in many cases, taking the lowest price. It’s also no surprise that A/V costs have grown substantially over the past decade. If a planner feels comfortable with an A/V partner and can share goals -- both needs and budget -- any A/V partner worth his salt will find a way to get the job done.