Meet the MD: Richard Bowden, Sterling Event Group

Meet the MD: Richard Bowden, Sterling Event Group

Richard grew up helping his dad in the entertainment industry, so that he runs his own events business should come as no surprise. He talks about his 18 year journey to employing 30 people.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words

I look after the company as a whole including our strategy and direction to keep us moving forward in this fast past industry. Alongside this, I work closely with our projects team and often take on the role of technical project manager for many high-profile events. When I’m doing this I design event layouts and specify all of the technical equipment to facilitate it, coordinate the technical team and logistics to deliver spectacular results.     

What is it the company does?

We provide creative audio visual and technical production services to the live events industry. Our extensive portfolio includes international corporate events, work on Political Party conferences, worldwide sporting events and production for A-list popstars. We combine cutting edge, high specification equipment and a team of people who are quite simply amazing at what they do. In basic form - we help produce spectacular experiences.    

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

As a child, I grew up helping my father who is still a mobile DJ. With this early insight into the industry, I became fascinated with sound and lighting technology. During my time at high school, I used to buy and sell second hand equipment whilst DJing at parties to build up my finances. In my final year of school, I set up Sterling, initially to provide PA systems to corporate events, this soon developed into providing a wider range of technical services. 18 years later, we are now a well-established company carrying a vast in-house stock of the latest equipment and a highly-experienced team of over 30 full time staff.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

I believe to be a great leader you need to respect your team and in-turn they will respect you. They will also be far more likely to go above and beyond their set responsibilities if you work alongside them as a leader rather than looking down from the top. Great leaders understand that the need to listen and utilise the knowledge and experience within their team. 

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

As the founder of the company there have been many challenges along the way. But a current challenge I’m experiencing is making sure I step back from being hands-on and out onsite so I can truly focus on directing the overall strategy of the company. However, I am slowly learning to let go of the reins as I have a fantastic team of skilled people that are more than capable.

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

I don’t really get stressed, I try to take everything in my stride -  there is always a solution but sometimes you have to dig deep to find it. I do find a walk with my dogs is a good way to unwind, clear my head, and think through any challenges and ideas.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Exactly this. However, I never could have dreamt how successful we would be -  I feel so very lucky.

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?

Negative people, and I would always try to combat this head-on with positive solutions. 

Where do you see the company in five years’ time?

We plan to continue to improve and develop our offering - as we have done since day one. This will hopefully help us to become one of the UK’s leading providers.     

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Don’t sit back, develop ways to constantly improve your offering to keep your business or concept moving forward. You may make mistakes, or face setbacks, but learn from this and believe in your ambition.