How much real benefit is there in having a spot in the distinctive Netherlands Water Pavilion? Actually, quite a lot, at least in the experience of Hans Verhoeven from MTD. In October he had a prominent position at IWA Brisbane 2016, and he will soon sign contracts to become the official ‘events plumber’ for the Commonwealth Games in 2018, also being held in Queensland, Australia. MTD has a great track record, having installed the temporary infrastructure for all locations at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro: 70 locations and 143 km of pipes.
In his blog, Hans Verhoeven explains how his spot in the pavilion benefited MTD. "There were two reasons to go to Brisbane. The first was that the Commonwealth Games will be held there in 2018. We call ourselves events plumbers, and that’s 70% of what we do, so we were keen to win that contract as we had in Delhi in 2010 and in Glasgow in 2014. The Games are not very well known in the Netherlands, but 72 countries take part. At the fair in Brisbane I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people and collect information: how the market is looking right now, who the key players are, the places where business can be done. The pavilion was perfect for that."
"I was able to use that information later, in meetings with the organisers of the Games. For example, I knew that we would need to adapt some of our equipment to fit the Australian context, and that plumbers in Australia have to meet specific requirements. That’s how to demonstrate your added value in those meetings: you can show that you know what’s what, that your information is up to date. Now we’re in the end stages of the tendering process, which has a scope of €2 million. It’s about 95% certain. Our presence in the Netherlands Water Pavilion meant that I surpassed my own expectations for the success of my plans. I’m going to do something similar in Mexico in September, during Aquatech Mexico, because we’re keen to do Formula 1 in that country. We’re in the price negotiation phase at the moment. We were also in the Netherlands Pavilion during Aquatech 2017 in Amsterdam, in cooperation with the Amsterdam International Water Week – in fact we are also responsible for the water provision there, as the RAI’s regular plumbing firm."
Meet the right people
"That market research had a second purpose, because we are also looking to open a second office in Australia, using the Commonwealth Games as the catalyst. For example, in Brisbane I also asked people from water companies how drinking water and waste water are processed at events in Australia. It turns out that it is often organised using small tanks behind toilet units, which means that tankers have to drive to and fro across the festival ground all day, getting in the way of the public. We don’t do it like that – we lay a complete network from the get-go. Another important result was that I spoke to people from the Dutch embassy at the fair, and when I went back to Melbourne for the contract negotiations I also got to speak to the Dutch consul. The consul helped me find a good lawyer and a good auditor to get our Australian branch off the ground. That’s really useful too, of course.
You can raise your profile in the events world without actually having a stand at a trade fair, so we don’t do that very often. That said, it can add a lot of value as part of a process – in those few days you can meet just the right people your project needs. It’s worked out really well for me, anyway!"
NWP will be organising various different Netherlands Water Pavilions in the near future in cooperation with Water Alliance and Envaqua and the Partners for Water programme. For instance, in 2017 you can find us at Aquatech China, Aquatech Mexico, WEFTEC and Aquatech Amsterdam. You can check out the agenda for all the events and meetings taking place this year.