Event day is when all the countless brainstorming, planning, and organizing sessions come to fruition in the form of a unique experience and atmosphere for attendees. Today, we are very excited to talk with our Event Operations Coordinator, Tara Friel, who works behind the scenes preparing for our partners’ events.
Tara graduated from California University of Pennsylvania with dual Bachelor Degrees in Art and Radio/Television Production. After college, she became a freelance artist specializing in painting and drawing. She has been a published artist since she was 15 years old, and has had art displayed in numerous exhibitions! Tara soon found a job as a Production Assistant at CID Entertainment, where she traveled around the country working with VIP services for nationally touring events. Tara worked as a bartender at Pittsburgh’s Mr. Smalls Theatre starting in 2013, and even today considers the concert venue her home away from home.
Joining our team in 2016, Tara brought with her an in-depth knowledge of the strategies necessary to help create extraordinary events with our partners.
One of your responsibilities as Event Ops Coordinator is to manage our hardware that is used onsite at events. Tell us more about what that entails, and walk us through a typical work week for you.
One of my major goals after starting at ShowClix was to overhaul our hardware inventory. I spent months planning and researching better methods to create a more organized system, and since then our hardware inventory has grown by leaps and bounds. Managing hardware entails everything from setting up new hardware, to tracking it through our new inventory management system, to performing maintenance on each device. My work varies depending on the size of events taking place. If we have multiple large events coming up, then my weeks are spent organizing all of the necessary hardware, prepping it, packing it, and arranging shipping. On a lighter week with fewer events, I split my time between preparing smaller shipments and catching up with all things related to event operations.
Our Event Operations team helps event organizers with planning, strategizing, and onsite support. What do you consider the major benefits our partners can expect to see as a result of consulting with Event Ops?
Our Event Ops team helps organizers plan admissions strategies for events of all sizes. It will differ for every partner, but our Event Ops and Client Services teams will work with our partners to go over how their event has worked in the past and what their future goals are. From there, we can help make improvements where needed and make our partner’s vision a reality. Another major benefit of consulting with Events Ops is the possibility of having onsite event support. Our specialists can assist with admissions planning and execution onsite. They can also train the staff and provide oversight throughout the event to ensure a smooth and successful event.
With so many large-scale events to support, how do you stay organized leading up to the events as well as onsite?
There are processes put into place with timelines in order to keep things organized and on-track. We begin organizing for the the events as early as possible, especially if we have multiple large events at once. Event Operations works closely with our Client Services department, and responsibilities are divided up to ensure every aspect of the event is covered. When we take a team onsite, everyone is given a particular role and duties they are responsible for. This helps us cover more ground and focus on the tasks at hand.
As part of our Event Ops team, you’ve traveled all over and worked with some amazing events. What has been one of the coolest experiences you’ve had while working at one of our partners’ events?
I’ve been really fortunate to work many amazing events for ShowClix, and I’d have to say one of the coolest experiences is getting to be a part of New York Comic Con. I’m responsible for hardware logistics and taking hundreds of devices onsite, prepping each piece, then sending them to their respective locations. Every single device has a purpose that helps the event run more smoothly, so it’s incredible to see it all come together for such a massive production.
It’s also inspiring to see how much heart our local Pittsburgh partners’ events have. For the past two years, I worked onsite at Replay FX, and they have this fantastic staff and volunteer base who are just so excited to help with the event. It really makes for an amazing event atmosphere when they have such a solid network of people bringing the event to life.
We know that you’re a skilled artist. Can you tell us a little about some of the work you’ve done and what you most enjoy about creating art?
I’ve been in love with making art for as long as I can remember! I specialize in painting and drawing, but am also skilled in working with wood, metals, sculpture, and pretty much any medium I can find. Most of my artwork errs on the darker side and explores the beauty of life and death. For painting, I use a dry brush technique (no water) and paint on masonite board. For drawing, I use a mixture of media and tend to switch between charcoal, graphite, and chalk pastels.
What I like most about creating art is the sense of freedom that comes with it. When an idea starts to develop, I can’t sleep until I get it down on paper or paint it. Art has no rules or boundaries; you can dive into the deepest parts of your mind then put it into physical form. I’ve been fortunate enough that the last two collections I created completely sold out, but am currently working on a new collection, so stay tuned!