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‘We have always viewed Expo as a remarkable opportunity’


CMtoday is starting a series of interviews, opinions, and articles related to The Expo 2020 Dubai. In this interview with Dr. Greg Ward, Managing Director, Transguard sheds light on how they are managing some of the top pavilions at the Expo site.


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October 20, 2021
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‘We have always viewed Expo as a remarkable opportunity’

On October 1, 2021, Expo 2020 Dubai opened its doors to the world. News has spread far and wide of the numerous wonders awaiting discovery on this 438-hectare-wide site. Not only is this world Expo the first in the region, but it is also the first time a nation has ever hosted a whopping 190-plus countries at its fair, allowing each participant to set up their dedicated pavilion. 

Over the last seven years, the facilities management industry has been preparing and talking about what it takes to be ready for the Expo. Now, it’s time to walk that talk! And boy are they ready! In this interview with Dr. Greg Ward, Managing Director, Transguard Group sheds light on how they are managing some of the top pavilions at the Expo site.  

Excerpts from the interview:

Q. What are the focus points for you as a company when it comes to catering to the pavilions in particular? 

Dr. Greg: We’ve been growing our relationships with our pavilion partners for quite some time. One great example of this is the New Zealand Pavilion: We’ve been working with their team since June 2019, so we have a well-rounded understanding of what they are trying to achieve. Once our core team understands the objectives of each pavilion (including that of the Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg, among others) they are then able to cascade that knowledge down to the on-the-ground teams through specific training that we created for each pavilion.

Q. The pandemic is still amongst us and the last two years have been instrumental in raising the overall standards in the industry. We have learned many lessons along the way. What are some of them that will be adapted for the Expo? 


Dr. Greg: Early on in the pandemic, we recognized that the only way to maintain our edge would be to think and act more strategically and to aggressively break out of old habits so that we would be agile enough to meet many new obstacles that would come our way, all while caring for and celebrating the people on the front lines who are out there, every day, representing Transguard. This mindset has helped guide the practical elements of this adaptation, which include full vaccination for all staff, high touch point sanitization in all pavilions, the active management of social distancing, and regular PCR testing (even for those who are fully vaccinated). In addition, we are working with leading chemical suppliers who are providing tried and tested products that are instrumental in the fight against the spread of Covid-19.

Q. Can you elaborate on any additional training provided for the staff?   

Dr. Greg: During the height of the pandemic, we cross-trained upwards of 5,000 employees so that they could be utilized across the business, including FM. In addition, the Transguard team deployed at the Expo has undergone customer service training, health, and safety training, and first aid training; this is in addition to pavilion-specific emergency evacuation procedures and fire drills. This doesn’t include the bespoke training for each team based on their assigned pavilion, which could include knowledge about the host country, an understanding of the pavilion’s concept, and more.

Q. Although it is a six-month event, what is the plan for the company to post the Expo? 

Dr. Greg: We have always viewed Expo as a remarkable, though finite, opportunity, so our involvement has always had one foot in current deployment and the other in future contracts. We are already setting relationships and contracts in place to ensure that as many of our Expo staff as possible smoothly transition into new employment once Expo concludes.