Before we could start to prepare for our very first Photokina we had to fulfill two contracts to design laboratories for the governments of The Philippines- NMPC and Malaysia- Filem Negara. The workshop was busy manufacturing the equipment and eventually our installation teams got to work on site with the installations.
Having these projects out of the way we could direct our thoughts and activities to the exhibition. One of the first issued to be resolved was who would represent our company in Cologne. It was decided that four people would be required, three were an automatic selection, our General Manager, our Production Manager, and our Electrical Contractor (who was the brother of the GM). So, a decision was made and to my great surprise and happiness, I was to be number four on the team. I guess that my knowledge of the German language and German customs was an important if not the deciding factor.
While this was going on, I was busy designing the stand layout, contacting freight agents, stand builders in Cologne and a local customs agent. As time drew closer, the team members were measured for a uniform, we even got new shoes, shirts, and ties.
Our Team and two Head Office Managers
The flight over to Cologne was quite memorable. At that time Lufthansa still flew into Sydney and we used them to travel to Photokina. Apart from all the comforts of travelling first class I got invited to visit the cockpit to have a chat with the Captain. After landing in Frankfurt, having had a very pleasant flight, we tried to look for our connection to Cologne. As it turned out, our travel agent had not booked a flight but the Lufthansa Airport Express to Cologne. The train carriages were laid out like an airline cabin and the food they served was as in a plane as well. But most importantly, the route along the Rhine river was most beautiful and I was quite proud and happy that my Australian colleagues could see some of the beauty of my native country.
Then the work began. We had allowed quite a few days for the set-up as everything had to be perfect. The stand had already been constructed and the freight company was extremely efficient in delivering the exhibition goods so we could finish with a day or two to spare. Finally the opening day of the show arrived, a last minute check, our hearts beating faster and then the doors opened for the visitors.