The biggest event in the trucking industry goes virtual for 2021
Challenges in the Covid-19 landscape have seen New Zealand’s largest road transport industry event go digital for 2021.
Organizers of the annual Mobil 1 Delvac NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame made the difficult decision to cancel the physical event – which was to be held at the Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill – and instead hosted an online version.
The event, created by HWR directors Jocelyn and Scott O’Donnell, is normally attended by over 500 people from across the Australasian trucking industry. With international borders still closed, the event was to be a more intimate affair and had already been postponed once due to the Delta outbreak in August.
Each year, the event honors the contributions of six Kiwis: their stories are diverse, but they all have a common passion for the New Zealand trucking industry.
Joc O’Donnell says it was a tough decision to make – planning for the event takes a full 12 months and the event is highly anticipated every year – but the digital event was a smash success.
âWe have heard very good feedback from people who have logged in to watch the livestream,â she says. âThe Mobil 1 Delvac NZ Road Haulage Hall of Fame is an annual opportunity for our entire industry to come together and celebrate the contributions of our six inductees as they rightly deserve.
âWhile this year’s event looked and felt a bit different from normal, we are really delighted that we were able to come up with an option to allow this celebration to go ahead regardless,â she said.
Scott O’Donnell says attendees were encouraged to come together to celebrate this year’s inductees, where they could safely do so, and watch Robin (Cliff) Bennetts, John Alexander, Kate Bucknell, Neil Peterken, Richard Riley and Steve Murphy were inducted into the Hall of Fame.
âWe know that people really look forward to this event every year, and like us, they were disappointed that it couldn’t have happened,â he said. “But, like our inductees, we are all looking to find solutions and look to the future – so we are already looking forward to 2022.”
Profits raised at the gala dinner where the inductees are announced are donated to the ProActive Youth Driver Education Trust, which supports driver training for young New Zealanders.
This year’s auction also went live: items up for grabs included guitars signed by Bruce Springsteen and Willie Nelson, packages that included brew-on beer and on-site tasting experiences, and more.
TW Events & Incentives Events Manager Adam Reinsfield said that while the event had moved online, it still required a substantial logistical effort behind the scenes.
âPutting together an event that has been attended by hundreds of guests is no easy feat, and pivoting to set it up digitally meant we definitely had to get creative,â he said.
The tight time frame between the decision to put the event online and its live broadcast, setting up the online auction and communicating with attendees were among the most difficult aspects, he says.
âNeither myself nor anyone else on the TW Events team had hosted an online event like this before, so it was almost uncharted territory,â said Reinsfield. âI think the biggest concern was ensuring ease of viewing for our guests, so nailing down the technicalities was a pretty daunting prospect.
“Fortunately, we have had fantastic support from our AV team at Strawberry Sound, and the continued support from our sponsors and inductees has kept things going well.”
About 300 unique users followed the livestream overnight.
âWe know a lot of people were coming together to make it a party – including a party of around 60 people – so we’re really delighted that the show not only got to go on, but was enjoyed by quite a large audience as well, “said Reinsfield. “The industry figures inducted into the Hall of Fame were 2021 worth celebrating, regardless of the format.”
For more information on the Mobil 1 Delvac NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame inductees for 2021, Click here.
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