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The Rigging World: “Here’s to ADVERSITY and Raising Our AQ!”

by Andrew Fulton

We all know IQ stands for Intelligence Quotient, and EQ stands for Emotional Quotient. But have you heard of AQ? It stands for Adversity Quotient, and was coined by Paul Stoltz, PhD, in his 2007 ground-breaking book, The Adversity Advantage. His premise: There are benefits to be had from adverse circumstances when the adversity is used to our advantage.

In terms of the circumstances we’re in now, could there be a more AQ challenge? At the start of 2020, we were sympathetically following a far-away situation, never dreaming the crisis would eventually land on our front porch!

What was once safely far-away is now something we’re all experiencing up close and personal, and it’s having a tumultuous effect on every aspect of life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who’s had a family member, friend, coworker or employee infected with the COVID-19 virus. Our prayers and praise are being sent to those on the frontlines, who are sacrificing their own well-being as they give their love and dedicated attention to those in need. God bless you! And we’re praying that the biomedical industry will soon create a vaccine to effectively address the spread of this pandemic.

Speaking of adversity and tumultuous effects, you know how Las Vegas has been affected by this pandemic. In February, the load-in of the 2020 ConExpo-Con/Agg at the Las Vegas Convention Center was going well.  At the same time, we’d learned of the cancellation of several industrial shows (staples to the Las Vegas entertainment industry).  Nevertheless, we were all doing our best to stay optimistic and understanding of the business decisions being made.

Then word came that a very large Las Vegas springtime tradeshow had cancelled and reality started to sink in. As time passed, show after show dropped off and adversity was hitting our industry in a BIG way. Despite all this upheaval, however, GES demonstrated remarkable AQ in doing a phenomenal job at managing the 2020 ConExpo-Con/Agg event. Then factor in the stellar AQ of the show riggers, who safely and efficiently dealt with a massive amount of rigging in a timely fashion, and we see why this behemoth tradeshow was a great success–adversity or not!

It’s because of this demonstrated AQ that we can know we WILL rally back. It starts with the AQ of the sales staff of every convention center, expo hall, hotel, arena, and stadium. They’re working hard to bring events to their spaces; jobs are already being planned for this summer.

This pandemic will pass, and when it does, we’ll be better for it because we’ll have used this adversity to our advantage. We’ll have made the best of our situation and the benefit it offers. And that benefit? Time. Time to improve our physical health and time to improve our rigging knowledge and skill level.

The golden gift of time. If we use it well, then when we do go back to work, we’ll be more fit, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable—able to provide the best possible service to our clients.

The best service to clients comes from best practices. And best practices come from increased knowledge. The more knowledge you and your staff have pertaining to your projects’ rigging improves several aspects of your job. Most importantly is the safety of everybody that’ll be underneath the rigging for the days to come. It’s a best practice and a fact: The better trained and educated we are, the more skills we have to take on and mitigate challenging projects.

This training and education is easily acquired through online courses. It’s proving to be our best path of action for continuing education. Every exhibit and tradeshow company whose projects need rigging should be signing their employees up for online courses. And the best resource for this online rigging education is Industrial Training International, also known as ITI (www.iti.com). Here are just a few of the comprehensive, excellent ITI instructor-led courses available to you and your employees:

  • Basic Rigging & Inspection
  • Basic Entertainment Rigging & Inspection
  • Rigging Inspector
  • Intermediate Rigging
  • Intermediate Rigging Theory

We have the opportunity to benefit from this adversity. Going forward, let’s use this benefit—time—to love each other more, get to know our families better, and as mentioned above, improve our health, and take advantage of training and education to better serve our clients when the rally commences once again!  Cheers to adversity and raising our AQ!

Andrew Fulton is a 23-year member of IATSE Local 720 and is currently the lead production rigger at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center. He manages projects for the Las Vegas PRG office and is also part owner of Rigging International Group, a rope access training and services company established in 2015. He offers rigging training & education through his entertainment rigging school RIG FOR SUCCESS. Contact him at andrew@rigforsuccess.com.

This story originally appeared in the May/June issue of Exhibit City News, p. 34. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_may-june_2020


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