No other AV Alliance meeting was in the making longer than the Annual General Meeting that took place last month in Bangkok on April 12-15, 2023. After having had to postpone the event for three years in a row due to the global pandemic, we were finally able to meet with our members and sponsors for an unforgettable few days of meetings and social activities.
It was certainly worth the wait though: we had the pleasure of having 110 members and sponsoring partners with us during the two meeting days, making this the AV Alliance meeting with the highest number of attendees since the association was formed over a decade ago. During the three and a half days of meetings and social activities our 125-strong group, including many spouses, partners, and even children of our members, we embarked on a cultural and culinary experience like no other.
Our global network traditionally meets twice a year: for the Annual General Meeting and a more informal Get Together, each time in a different location around the world and hosted by a local member company. We were incredibly fortunate to have our Bangkok-based member Creative Rock as our most welcoming and generous hosts, who went above and beyond to take the best care of all of us during our stay in Thailand, as well as providing impeccable, state-of-the-art audio visual support for us during our meetings.
The venue of our meeting was The Sukhothai Bangkok, a stunningly beautiful urban oasis and luxury hotel in the heart of Bangkok. After having worked with us for over three and a half years and most graciously allowed us to retain our original booking during the pandemic, we were greeted and treated with the highest level of hospitality and service.
The AV Alliance, 2023
The Annual General Meeting serves as the official evaluation of the previous year’s activities within the AV Alliance, as well as the presentation of the financial status and spendings of the organization, which is then formally approved by the members in accordance with Swiss law. The two meeting days also include presentations by the AV Alliance, our sponsoring partners, as well as updates from all the present members on their current activities, and excellent networking opportunities for promoting business connections and personal relationships.
This year’s AGM in Bangkok was once again hosted by Chairman Peter Muller and General Manager Artur Kovacs, and served as the official welcome of the newest member companies that joined the AV Alliance since the Get Together in Panama in December 2022: BeWunder from the United Arab Emirates, and Capital Production Group from Raleigh, NC in the USA. We had the chance to officially introduce our newest Gold Sponsor AV-Drop, represented by CEO and Founder Toni Martinez and Dru Whitacre, CEO and President of Drape Kings, AV-Drop’s US-based distributor and representative.
Alex Ostermaier and Artur Kovacs presenting the AV Alliance’s long-term strategy
The first of the two meeting days we spent time sharing great stories and inspiring speeches, as well as the presentation of the long-term strategy of the AV Alliance, delivered by its creators, our former Board member Alex Ostermaier and General Manager Artur Kovacs. During the past two years Alex and Artur, together with a task force comprising of a group of AV Alliance members, invested countless hours in research and discussions within the network (including our sponsoring partners) around the purpose, vision, and values of our organization and updating them to fit the current economic and social environment, as well as the diverse and large global network that currently spans 50 countries and 101 locations, uniting 83 member companies. Their work has culminated in creating the framework and foundation of the long-term strategy of the association. You can now find the Purpose, Vision, and Core Values of the AV Alliance here, made available to the public.
The first meeting day concluded with fantastic presentations by our sponsors that highlighted their new products, services, and updates on their business operations, and an almost 2-hour networking carousel that allowed our sponsors create meaningful discussions with the representatives our member companies around their product and service needs.
Chairman Peter Muller presenting the AV Alliance’s financials
The second meeting day, as always, hosted the financial presentations of the AV Alliance, as well as the latest Board Elections. Having elected four members of our main decision-making body back in 2021 for two years, this year’s AGM marked the end of their terms. With four Board positions up for the taking, the AV Alliance members present at the meeting day on April 14 were asked to vote for the running candidates. Three of our previous members of the Board were re-elected unanimously: Simon Ackermann (Habegger AG), Matt Emerson (AVFX/CEAVCO), and Martin Blanchard (Les Productions Expert’ease) have retained their position for the next two years.
This AGM also marked the bittersweet last chapter of our former Board member Alex Ostermaier‘s time in the AV Alliance, as he left our member company Neumann&Müller Veranstaltungstechnik and started fwd:, the federal association of the German events industry, of which he is CEO. With Alex leaving the AV industry behind to follow his passion that lies in representing the entire events sector in his native Germany, something he actively has actively pursued ever since the global pandemic, we had to say goodbye to him for the time being – but we did it in true “AVA family style” during an AGM that will be remembered for many years to come!
In his place the members of the AV Alliance have elected Joaquin de Elias as the fifth Board member. Joaquin is the CEO of one of our Argentinian member companies, Congress Rental, and is very well known in the AV industry after also being in the main committee of the Congress Rental Network. With over 8 years of experience in the audiovisual industry after inheriting the family business, Joaquin will undoubtedly bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the AV Alliance.
Following the Board Elections our members and sponsoring partners have also attended an Entrepreneurial Mindset Meeting, hosted by Matt Emerson, and a number of different workshops to collectively brainstorm new and actionable ideas to tackle challenges they all face in the AV industry, in leadership, organizational management, and business development.
Dinner cruise on the Grand Pearl I on the Chaophraya River
At the heart of every AV Alliance meeting is our global family, and after two days of intensive business meetings we always take just as much joy and pleasure in connecting with each other on a personal level, enjoying our dinners, lunches, daytime – and nighttime – social activities alike. We celebrated our largest AVA family reunion yet with a fantastic drinks reception and welcome dinner at The Sukhothai Bangkok on April 12 with a traditional Thai welcome and an unforgettable dinner. The evening of April 13 saw us take a scenic dinner cruise on Bangkok’s Chaophraya River on the Grand Pearl I, where once again we were spoiled with the most delicious Thai cuisine and gorgeous night views of many famous sights, including the stunning Buddhist temple Wat Arun. On the 14th we had the pleasure to dine at The Red Oven, the World Food Market-style restaurant of the Sofitel Bangkok that definitely deserves its reputation for being one of the best restaurants in Bangkok. Our meeting coinciding the Thai New Year, the night ended in true AV Alliance fashion as many of us took part in the Songkran festivities, involving many water wars in the streets and bars, and even more unforgettable memories.
Finally on the last day, April 15, our group took a small tour of the Bangkok that hides beyond the skyscrapers, shopping malls, and bustling streets: a boat trip through Khlong Bang Luang to see some of the most important Buddhist temples in Bangkok: Wat Pho, the oldest temple of Bangkok and home to the world famous reclining Buddha, and Wat Kamphaeng Bang Chak, an ancient temple in Thonburi. We also paid a short visit to The Artist House, a century-old art gallery and traditional Thai puppet theater, before getting to wander – and shop – around the Talingchan Floating Market. Following the scorching heat of the morning trip, the last official social activity of this AGM was our group lunch at the famous Methavalai Sorndaeng, a Michelin-star authentic Thai restaurant on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in Bangkok’s historic district.
Recap of the AV Alliance AGM 2023 in Bangkok, courtesy of Creative Rock
Having waited so long for this meeting to finally become a reality, we can now say that it was worth all of the wait. Having so many of our members and partners with us for these three and a half days, strengthening business connections and friendships, getting to enjoy lovely weather in Bangkok, experiencing the Songkran Festival, the incomparable Thai cuisine and culture, and the world-famous hospitality, kindness, and generosity of the Thai people, we came back from the Land of Smiles with memories that will surely last for a lifetime.
Our heartfelt thanks to our friends and AV Alliance members Wikran (Nit) Maneesri and Matee (Tae) Wongviyount and their incredible team at Creative Rock, and to Lawan Malapet for taking such good care of us.