"We were appointed in January 2003, after an exhaustive nine-month bidding process," says Jacobs. "We were relatively unknown in the UK at the time. The contract raised our profile and made us a recognisable name in the industry."
Her experience was a positive one. Although, while the promotional video of Jack Morton’s Olympic endeavors plays for the audience, Jacobs cringes: "It still makes me feel sick to the stomach."
Jacobs exhorts the employment opportunities created by the Games. "We took on 800 people in Athens," she says. "And 90 per cent of those were Greek. Of our 947 different collaborators – that’s techies, choreographers, risk assessors etc – 75 per cent were Greek."
In 2012, there will be cash flowing into Britain as national and international companies pick up local talent for various projects.
Once you’ve worked on the Olympic event, she continues, it becomes an invaluable string to your bow. "We couldn’t find all the skills we needed in Greece," she explains. "So we hired most of the core team from Australia; fresh from their learnings at the Sydney Games."
Having pulled off both the opening and the closing ceremonies with aplomb, Jack Morton was asked to return, in a consulting capacity, for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Jacobs may also be involved in the upcoming 2012 preparations.
The firm benefited from the Olympic contract in other ways too. "It’s no coincidence that we were contracted to run the New Year’s Eve fireworks in London the day after the Athens ceremony," says Jacobs.
Financial incentives aside, Jacobs remembers the Olympic experience fondly: "The emotional reward of working at the Olympics is unbeatable."
The summit was organised by Caspian Publishing.
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