In the rapidly changing world of IT, we must also ensure that the system is relevant and appealing to potential partners. We put a lot of effort into ongoing system enhancements that we know will help to streamline the administration and overall efficiencies of the system.
Sport and Event Consultant
The interview with Adam Purdy was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.
1Tell us about your role as a Sport and Event Consultant at KIMIK iT. What does a typical day look like for you?
In my role at KIMIK iT, I manage and supervise the use of our Games and Event Management Systems (GEMS.pro) within the multi-sport games communities and partners in the North American market.
I work directly with the company CEO (located in Nuuk, Greenland) and our Product Manager (located in Aarhus, Denmark).
Daily tasks involve email correspondences and virtual meetings with games representatives and system administrators to help orientate and train them on specific aspects of GEMS.pro as they relate to the hosting process. With games taking place across Canada and North America, meetings can take place at any point in the day.
GEMS.pro is a robust database system that allows for many customizations for a variety of hosting needs – and this requires a detailed understanding of the system functions as they relate to the needs of each local organizing committee.
I meet remotely and daily with our GEMS.pro development team in Denmark to discuss marketing, sales initiatives, project management milestones, and product development.
A big element of my role is to ensure that our partners have all the necessary support leading into their big games, and this means providing excellent customer service! Making sure that games-specific hosting protocols closely mirror what is capable in the GEMS.pro modules is a task that needs a direct line of communication and knowledge interpretation.
I love working with like-minded games administrators.
These performance-orientated individuals seek to host the best event ever, all while engaging and involving their community of volunteers with an end-goal of successfully welcoming delegations of athletes to their region.
Consulting and networking skills are an integral part of this amazing position. Through a proven IT solution, we are evolving and improving the hosting process from small to large scale events.
2GEMS.pro allows for sports organizations to manage game schedules, athlete accommodations, participants, guests and officials registration, as well as medical and incident reporting. How do you see GEMS.pro growing with the pandemic moving many sporting initiatives from in-person, to online?
GEMS.pro is the result of games hosting business insight that has been accumulated over the last 20 years – working a wide range of stakeholders in the sport landscape.
Through our effort with our valued partners in the Arctic Winter Games International Committee and Canada Games Council, as well as our provincial games e.g., Saskatchewan and Manitoba Games, we have been able to narrow in on the core hosting requirements and thus contributed to a consistent and standardized system for host societies.
In March of 2020 when we were a week away from the opening ceremonies of the Arctic Winter Games due to be hosted in Whitehorse, we quickly became aware of the severity of the situation by nature of the cancellation of this event.
The associated challenges are gradually being understood and the long-term impact that a pandemic scenario would have on the future hosting of games and events in North America is still unwinding from a day-to-day and region-to-region perspective.
As we have all seen, people have adapted to technologies like Skype, Zoom, and MS Teams – and the pandemic has not really impacted the way that we are able to communicate with our partners – in fact, it has helped by opening the lines of communication through the use of video teleconference and screen sharing tools.
Physical interactions will always be paramount when trying to establish and sustain relationships with host staff and administrators, so for the time being, we will need to closely monitor regional lockdown measures to then determine if we are able to travel to a host community to deliver “one-year-out” visits or onsite support.
The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown of sport and events have left many in a state of existential contemplation.
Is sport an essential service? For physical and mental health wellbeing– absolutely!
We work in a world that depends on the opportunities to perform and compete. Canceling and postponing events due to a global health threat is a difficult decision to have to make and has costly implications for event communities and their service providers.
In this downtime from sport, we at GEMS.pro must continue to communicate and be flexible with our partners while working on the aspects that can improve and enrich our solution for our end-users.
3You have many responsibilities with KIMIK iT, including overseeing the sales and marketing of GEMS.pro. Tell us about your approach to marketing this service and the key to winning over new partners.
Every set of games is unique.
Each with a new set of directors, staff, protocol, level of ambition, and hosting timeline. Marketing a system like GEMS.pro means that we must continually reach out to existing partners and potential games staff to gain insight into their specific hosting cycle.
Decision-making for the acquisition of a games hosting solution like GEMS.pro is often done 18-24 months out from a set of games and we need to make sure that we are visible, recognized, and available to these stakeholders to initiate preliminary dialogue on the delivery of services.
In the rapidly changing world of IT, we must also ensure that the system is relevant and appealing to potential partners.
We put a lot of effort into ongoing system enhancements that we know will help to streamline the administration and overall efficiencies of the system. We have a presence on social media that follows major games, sports events, sports personalities, and affiliated businesses that at some point could benefit from using a system like GEMS.pro.
System developments are highlighted/mentioned on social media and we strive to gain momentum through the word of mouth marketing at-games and in the timeframe following an event.
The key to winning over new partners is through the trusted use of a proven solution.
Sport often highlights its accolades and within a community of sport stakeholders all it takes is someone of influence to say “Go with GEMS.pro!”
Potential games and event partners need to see that we have been a consistent and reliable hosting partner in the multi-sport games scene for close to 20-years now, and committing to use GEMS.pro for a future event, reflects fundamental confidence in our solution.
4You have experience as an athlete competing in the Atlanta, Sydney and Athens Paralympic games as a swimmer. Have those experiences given you a better understanding of what components make for a successful event? How does this help you with product development?
In my days as a Paralympic swimmer and competitor, my responsibility was primarily to show up at a set of games and represent Canada in the pool.
Arrive – Eat – Sleep – Race (Win) and then Depart (with medals).
This perspective did not truly take into consideration the exhaustive list of tasks that were necessary for administrators and planners to take care of, just to get me there. It was not until I worked my first set of games that I fully realize the amount of work that went into the hosting of a set of games or sporting event.
Surely, along the way I adopted an athlete-centric perspective towards the hospitality, entertainment, and accommodations; however, there are so many other areas of hosting that extend beyond the sport competition and accommodating the needs of athletes.
Volunteer management is one crucial component that is to me, of equal importance (if not more) to the welcoming and hosting of the participant delegations.
Volunteers make the games or events happen – and are the ones on site who are there before the delegations arrive and they are the ones tidying up after the closing ceremonies, so to me – it is critical that volunteers are effectively encouraged, supported, valued for their contributions.
This means using administrative tools like those available in GEMS.pro to simply create workforce plans and communicate volunteer schedules to large groups of people. Keeping in mind the end-user viewpoint on the use and expectations of the technologies requires a lens that incorporates a variety of options e.g., accessibility needs, ease of use, and preferred platform.
Sporting games and events are usually made up of a recognized group of individuals. We see these people going from games to games in various capacities and their feedback, evaluations, and opinions are highly valuable to us in the delivery of a professional turnkey hosting solution.
We regularly host GEMS.pro User Community sessions.
These webinar sessions bring together representatives from the various sets of games using GEMS.pro to share hosting knowledge, discuss best practices, and demonstrate new product enhancements. This initiative is a great way to keep in touch with partners while providing a networking opportunity for administrators across the sport scene.
5What do you find challenging about being the sole employee in Canada for KIMIK IT’s hosting solutions? Share with us how you stay motivated and inspired.
When I first jumped on board with KIMIK iT, I was fresh out of the successful hosting the 2009 Canada Games in P.E.I. I had a lot of ideas, concepts, and possible directions for GEMS.pro that have over the years either been pursued and delivered or re-evaluated.
It is true that I am the only KIMIK iT employee in Canada and this really has not been an issue for me. Being the only representative means that I had to quickly get into a remote work rhythm with my colleagues – daily contact points on Skype, weekly interactions, and teleconferences; in general, make me feel as though I am a part of the whole KIMIK iT Team.
I have amazing colleagues and an approachable senior management staff who have been flexible and supportive - enough to allow me to come out of retirement and pursue one last kick at a high-performance competition at the 2015 Para Pan American Games – Thanks, Team!
I am motivated by sport, the games, its participants, and the greater culture of the sporting community.
Outside of my work with KIMIK iT, I am conducting research at a Canadian University on the sport and social impact of major parasport games.
I am also a part of Swimming Canada’s Para selection committee.
I find motivation for my work with games and event partners through my sports community network, my research initiatives, and my volunteerism.
As an advocate for sport for all, I inherently try to promote the parasport agenda, seeking out ways to highlight the opportunities to participate for people with impairments. I’m a firm believer that passion drives performance!
6What would you list as the top 3 to 5 most important software/tools/apps to know for someone who wants a job similar to yours?
As we have witnessed with the pandemic scenario, many people are now taking to virtual teleconference technologies e.g., Skype, Zoom etc. In a globalized and increasingly tech-savvy world, it is necessary to know how to fully utilize the functions available in these IT services.
I produce a lot of tutorial videos for our variety of games and events partners and have really enjoyed using a product called Camtasia. It is a simple screen recorder and video production software that allows editors to quickly and professionally, generate and push-out relevant content.
Our team uses Microsoft DevOps Services. This business enterprise product is comprised of several tools designed to promote collaboration among team members and to effectively monitor and track customer development backlog projects.
The project management tools delivered in this product helps us keep to timelines and estimates so that products and services are delivered when clients need them most.