Meet the Team: Jamie Pang, Director of Technical Services, MICE

Jamie Pang, Director of Technical Services, MICE, shares how his team helps clients to navigate the uncertainties of the pandemic and attain regulatory approvals for their events.
Meet the team: Jamie Pang, Director of Technical Services, MICE

1.  Tell us more about yourself and your role as the Director of Technical Services at Marina Bay Sands.

I have been in the MICE industry for over 20 years and am part of the pioneer opening team here at Marina Bay Sands. Before joining Marina Bay Sands, I was the Director of Operations (Conventions and Exhibitions) at The Venetian Macao.

As the Director of Technical Services at Sands Expo and Convention Centre, my team of 80 delivers audio visual, internet and electrical services for exhibition and conference events. We act as consultants to our clients, advising them on feasible and practical solutions, to deliver and ensure that their events run smoothly and successfully with us.

Since 2020, I’ve also taken on the Compliance function within the MICE department. Together with two other colleagues, we provide step-by-step guidance to clients and work closely with the local authorities to develop, plan and implement Safe Management Measures (SMM) for all events that are hosted at Marina Bay Sands in the new normal. Armed with an in-depth knowledge on regulatory requirements for MICE events gained over the past year, this team is the go-to dedicated resource that Marina Bay Sands has specially put in place to help clients navigate the regulatory approval process.

2. Can you walk us through how you and your team work together with your clients to attain these regulatory approvals?

We handhold and provide step-by-step guidance as many of our clients are not familiar with the regulatory requirements. To simplify the process for our clients, our team developed a standard form for the clients to follow and input the required event details. The form is prepared based on the latest stipulation, distilling the process and key information required from them. We also advise our clients on the overall event programme flow, floorplans, SMM, and manpower requirements prior to submission.

Depending on the scale of the event, the entire process – from planning, submission to obtaining regulatory approval – takes approximately six to eight weeks.

Our job doesn’t stop after the submissions are done. In fact, that is only the beginning. The team is in constant dialogue with our clients to provide the end-to-end support while ensuring that all SMMs are executed well pre- and during event days.

3. When these regulations were first announced in 2020, how did you and your team get up to speed with the regulatory requirements? Can you elaborate on how the team adjusted to help clients in the initial stages?

When the authorities first announced the Safe Business Events Framework in 2020 to allow for the resumption of MICE events, we were just as unacquainted with it as our clients. The MICE Compliance team had to do a deep dive of the regulations and simplify the requirements for the other stakeholders and clients. We also engaged in numerous discussion sessions with the authorities to clarify additional queries.

For example, one of the mandates states that event participants must be separated into two zones, with a 1.8 metre high partition. If adding a partition is not feasible, the zones must be segregated by 3 metres, cordoned by barricades. We anticipated that clients would want to understand why the rules were stipulated this way. Through further research and making inquiries to our peers at the Singapore Tourism Board, our team found out that the use of 1.8 metre high partition, which exceeds the average height of an adult, would reduce the spread of respiratory droplets and minimise the risk of transmission between attendees. Through this process, we also learnt that the 3 metres segregation between the event zones and the presence of barricades would help prevent participants from intermingling between groups.

All these works that are done behind the scenes have boosted our confidence in addressing our clients’ queries. It has also empowered us to develop an effective process for our clients which makes the entire submission procedure intimidating.

4. How do you ensure that your team continues to stay nimble, flexible and up to date with the everchanging regulations set out by the authorities in response to this ongoing pandemic?

The fluidity of the COVID-19 situation requires the team to be in constant dialogue with our counterparts to ensure that we are kept abreast of the latest developments. With any new changes announced, we share the latest updates with various internal stakeholders and clients. This is crucial in mitigating any downtime by ensuring that prior approved plans are updated accordingly and are resubmitted to the relevant authorities for approvals.

5. What are some challenges that you face when working with clients who may not understand the importance or are unaware of these regulations?

Some clients are not so comfortable with change and prefer to do things in the old familiar ways. It is important for the team to be level-headed and try our best to put things in perspective for the clients. We share best practices from past events to provide clients with a better understanding of the rationale behind the way things are being planned. Thus far, we are quite heartened by the trust and support that our clients have given us. Once our clients see that we have their best interests at heart, they will be more willing to take our advice.

6. Any tips for industry peers regarding SMMs for MICE events?

I would not call them tips. However, it is absolutely necessary for the industry to come together, follow the rules and do our part to create a safe event environment together.