Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

May 18 2015

How One Team Navigated Around Restrictions In Front Of Their Meeting

By Mary Reynolds Kane

Each September, one of the biggest cities in Canada turns into a massive display of science, art and engineering. It’s called Beakerhead, and it’s Calgary’s citywide celebration of ingenuity. The event launched in 2013 and captured plenty of attention with the interactive Raygun Gothic 40-foot tall rocket ship. Impressive, right? Well, bringing that big rocket ship to Alberta was no small feat.

The rocket was originally created for Burning Man in the United States. From dealing with the sheer size of the piece to the adhering to Canadian standards and local building codes, moving a 40-foot tall piece of art isn’t an activity that comes with simple guidelines. So how did they do it? Here’s a look at three simple steps.

1) They looked for professionals with proven track records.

Event organizers knew they needed some outside experts, so they worked with 5 Ton Crane to get the project moving. 

2) They found someone with the local technical expertise.

While the installation was approved at the Burning Man location, those standards didn’t apply in Alberta. Organizers partnered with Williams Engineering, a local firm. Williams reviewed the drawings from the California-based firm to provide Alberta’s stamp of approval.

3)    They started early.

The installation wasn’t going to be ready for inspection until the day before it was scheduled to open to the public. Still, organizers sent all the work to Calgary’s Development and Building Permit Business Unit well in advance. The result? Success. More than 62,000 residents and visitors scaled the rocket ship during the inaugural Beakerhead.

Do you have a story of how you worked around a potential challenge to bring a creative vision at your meeting to life? Send it to communications@pcma.org, and we might feature your work next!


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