Meetings & Events Australia has announced the passing of Australian business events industry pioneer Bryan Holliday.
Read the full statement from the organisation below:
It is with great sadness that Meetings & Events Australia farewells a pioneer of the Australian business events industry.
Bryan made a considerable contribution to the industry over many years particularly with Meetings & Events Australia.
He was actively involved with the association from 1978 onwards when it was the Association of Conference Executives, before becoming the Meetings Industry Association of Australia.
In 1993, Bryan was elected the inaugural National President of MEA and went on to attend over 25 of its annual conferences.
During his term of office, he accelerated the introduction of industry accreditation, national awards and residential meetings management programs. His company, ICMS Australasia, remains a MEA member today.
Bryan was also a board member of the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre advisory board and the Sofitel Australia advisory board.
He was a board member of the Sydney Convention & Visitors Bureau (now Business Events Sydney), and an advisory panel member of Business Events Australia at Tourism Australia.
Born in Bristol in March 1948, Bryan spent his childhood in Leeds, studied sociology at Newcastle upon Tyne, worked for an educational publishing company in Cambridge and arrived in Australia in 1973 as a “10 pound pom”.
In 1976, he co-founded Sound Information Pty Ltd with Ian Stuart, publishing spoken word audio cassettes for schools, libraries and colleges, before discovering the opportunities available in what was then a very small meetings and events sector.
In 1995, after 20 years as Sound Information offering an expanding suite of conference communication and production services, the company merged with leading PCO ICMS Australia, changing the name to ICMS Australasia.
In 2002, Bryan and Ian bought the company outright and in 2004, Bryan purchased Ian Stuart’s share of the business becoming the sole owner, growing it into the success that it is today.
ICMS Australasia currently has 35 full time employees spread across three offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Clients include leading professional bodies and associations, government agencies and private enterprises.
ICMS Australasia manages around 30 conferences per annum, averaging 1,000 delegates per event.
Bryan was a strong mentor with a passion for the industry. He was always available to help young people grow their expertise, realise their goals and reach their full potential. He had a firm belief in “hiring for attitude and training for skill” in all staff appointments.
He published many reflections on the industry under the title ‘Face to Face’ and contributed a monthly opinion piece to industry magazine Micenet.
Bryan’s love of literature, theatre and the arts extended to a memorable performance dressed in hippy costume as a key member of cabaret trio the Divine Delegates, which received a standing ovation at the ACE conference dinner in 1989. A performance reprised in 1995 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of ACE.
An avid runner, a firm believer in the benefits of physical exercise and an eternal optimist, an unstoppable cancer claimed him at the end.
He has many friends in the events industry here in Australia and overseas and will be missed by all.
MEA extends its sorrow and best wishes to Bryan’s wife Emma and the team at ICMS Australasia.