If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you’ll be familiar with our ‘Meet the Team’ series, in which we have interviewed staff members from several sectors of the Gallowglass workforce, from theatre experts to elite crewmen.
This month, we interview Regional Senior Crew Chief, Ben Humphrey. As one of our longest serving staff members, Ben has successfully climbed the Gallowglass career ladder over the years, starting as a general crewman and working his way up to Regional Senior Crew Chief. Today, he shares some insight into his time with Gallowglass as well as his current role:
Tell us a little more about yourself?
I’m a northerner born and bred, raised in the north of Manchester and spent the majority of my adult life in and around Manchester with the exception of moving to London for the 2012 Olympics. I believe in the old-fashioned ethos of working hard and accomplishing things first hand instead of waiting for things to happen, like a lot of the current millennials!
How long have you worked for Gallowglass?
I joined Gallowglass in 2008, so ten years and counting!
What led you to apply for a role with the company?
I was at university, and as we all know, student loans do not cover the expenses of the student lifestyle. The job offered a way better rate of pay than any typical jobs and Gallowglass were recruiting for the build of the indoor swimming championships at the MEN Arena over two weeks, which promised a lot of money!
Describe an average day in your position?
An average day is an uncommon event. Average would mean my responsibilities and tasks would have little change; working for Gallowglass means that the demands and workload change significantly from day to day depending on the job. Throughout the winter, I could be building sets for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 etc. and running the shows as a Scenic Supervisor. Throughout the summer, I could be project managing jobs for some of our overlay clients, whilst also running jobs as a crew chief with varying amounts of crew, all of which offer their own challenges.
What do you enjoy most about working for Gallowglass?
There is massive diversity from day to day, so the fact that every day can be in a new location or venue stops me getting the feeling of groundhog day! The variety of people you work with varies too, and it’s a great way of meeting people from all walks of life.
What do you find most challenging about your role?
The most challenging thing can be trying to motivate crew when a job has been smashed early, and there are still a number of hours to go on the shift. The client may require a few small jobs doing, and there may be a large crew left waiting around to do whatever is required, that’s when the heads start to drop. It’s all part of the nature, though, and managing large crews comes with its perks and challenges!
Tell us the funniest story you’ve experienced during your time at Gallowglass?
There are plenty of things I shouldn’t say, and although I’d like to keep this strictly professional, watching a crewman swallow a hotdog sausage whole, in one go, is by far the funniest thing I’ve seen on a shift. There is video evidence of this too, but maybe something left unshared to the public domain!
How have you progressed through the ranks at Gallowglass?
I started off as a PBC (probationary crew) as with everyone joining Gallowglass, and slowly but surely worked my way up to Elite Level two/three years later. In 2011, I was offered the opportunity to undergo training for my NEBOSH certificate, which then allowed me to gain valuable life experience as a safety advisor with our partner company, Gallowglass Health and Safety, at the London 2012 Olympics. Upon my return from London in late 2012, I mixed the crewing life with the health and safety life, whilst becoming a Crew Chief in the process and continued to do so for a number of years later. In early 2018, I was promoted to Regional Senior Crew Chief of the North, where I now assist the regional manager in the multi-aspect world of event crewing.
When you’re not working, what do you like to get up to in your spare time?
In my spare time, I like to gym and run regularly. I also play rugby for a local childhood club on Saturdays when time allows and thoroughly enjoy the escapism! I also like to travel as much as possible and take holidays whenever I can.
Finally, what advice would you give to those aspiring to a career in events?
Nothing can prepare you for some of the jobs we are involved in. The physical demands are sometimes a lot higher than the mental demands, but the job is as versatile and as diverse as you can possibly expect. That said, you can also expect long days or long nights in an ever-changing climate – but it is always different. And that’s what sets it aside from any normal 9-5 because that is exactly what it is not!
If you would like to discover more about the Gallowglass team or are searching for event crew jobs in London, get in touch with us today to see what exciting opportunities we could have in store for you!