What Does an Event Operations Coordinator Do?
Bringing together large numbers of people for a concert, convention, theatrical performance, fundraiser, or festival can be incredibly rewarding, but doing it right requires excellent research, planning, and coordination. Event operations coordinators take responsibility for every aspect of the events they manage, and ensure that people are talking about them for all the right reasons instead of the wrong ones—such as a poorly equipped venue, inadequate crowd control, or a dangerous incident. 
Good event operations employees have an uncanny ability to look into the future of a situation, see what could possibly go wrong, and plan for it.
When it comes to planning a live event, event operations coordinators do it all. They scout locations and bring in appropriate equipment; contract with vendors for food, bathrooms, and other necessities; book additional talent; hire all event staff, including security; create and post necessary signage; book transportation; handle audio and video needs; work through logistics related to site and weather; and ensure cleanup. If licenses are needed, or if contracts contain curfew stipulations, event operations coordinators seek and maintain those orders. And when problems of any kind occur, it's their job to be on-site, managing the situation.

Event Operations Coordinator at a Glance

Career Path
Although a degree in hospitality or event management can be helpful—particularly for getting initial gigs—event operations coordinators are usually qualified on the basis of their experience and track record rather than education. Music and theater education can also be useful, as it helps coordinators plan for the talent's needs and ensure that they can perform in the best conditions.
 
When it comes to getting promotions, anticipating needs and finding innovative ways to improve an event's logistics go a long way. Event coordinators whose events consistently go off with a hitch may work their way up the company ladder to become senior events associates and directors of operations, or take a position as a festival director
 
The skills utilized by event operations coordinators can also be applied in a number of other settings. Theater companies, concert halls, and similar organizations often have operations departments that tackle similar tasks, while development departments at nonprofit companies are usually involved in planning events such as galas. 
Finding Work
Event operations coordinators usually work for independent event-planning companies, which may specialize in a particular kind of event, such as weddings, festivals, tours, or conventions. Event operations coordinators may also work in-house for companies that own and rent large event spaces, Including fairgrounds, ballrooms, and event halls. Some event coordinators are freelance, but due to the high labor requirement in organizing live events this is comparatively uncommon.
 
Aspiring event coordinators usually get involved in event planning while still attending school by organizing university events and volunteering for music festivals or conventions. This kind of early experience is the perfect qualification for entry-level event planning positions. 
Professional Skills
  • Event planning and management
  • Logistics/operations
  • Hiring
  • Budgeting
  • Negotiating
  • Contracts
  • Personnel management
  • Security
  • Communication
  • Problem solving
Interpersonal Skills

To say that this position requires attention to detail would be a gross understatement. For event operations coordinators, details are the job. Good event operations employees have an uncanny ability to look into the future of a situation, see what could possibly go wrong, and plan for it. They are cautious, intelligent, and hyperaware of potential problems, which is all to say that they have backup plans to their backup plans. They are also excellent multitaskers who are deeply concerned with efficiency and resource management.

Work Life

For events operations coordinators, life can be unpredictable. Their schedules vary widely depending on whether a large-scale event is coming up or already under way. Event coordinators are always on hand at the events they plan, troubleshooting issues as they arise. They are the first to arrive and the last to leave, setting up and staying late to ensure cleanup is completed, vendors are paid, and audience members are happy. Between events, they usually have more breathing room, and may only have minor administrative tasks to take care of until it's time to start on the next event. The job can require some travel, particularly for the best in the business, who are always in high demand.