Home' micenet eMag : micenet February 2016 Contents and his work helped corporates see the potential of events to deliver results. At the forefront of
the emerging Australian events industry, he boosted its profile through his work.
His brother Peter Grant worked with David during the early years and well understood his style.
“David viewed and structured an event like a theatre production, a series of dramatic acts
and reveals that took guests on a journey into the unexpected. He turned guests into the cast
without them knowing, and gave them a unique shared experience outside ordinary life. He
relied on surprise, wonder, fear, adrenalin and amazement to create an experience that would
have each guest talking about that night for weeks and years.”
His imagination ran wild as he dreamt up new ways of approaching the project and
sometimes outlandish elements which surprised and thrilled the audience. DGSE’s Hickson
Road office reflected his style. The warehouse-style office boasted a piano, pool table and
pinball machine, all well used many Friday nights.
David was the life of the party: people were attracted to him like moths to a flame because
they knew he was where the action and the thrills were.
He could also be cheeky, profane, and cutting. But this was tempered by generosity, passion,
sentimentality and humour. Somehow he got away with it. Many have heard the story of how he
played President Clinton’s favourite tune during his Sydney official visit to Sydney instead of “Hail
to the Chief”.
Earlier he’d accompanied the secret security guys on a site visit to Mrs Macquarie’s chair and
couldn’t resist remarking “looks like a f#*&# grassy knoll to me”.
One colleague remarked fondly: “he was the gayest straight man I ever met”. Married twice,
with four children, David was always quick to acknowledge the support of his family and team.
“If David Grant was a sportsman he would be labelled a once-in-a-generation player. He was
that good from the day he started; a natural. A bright young man in a bright developing industry
who became an industry leader.” – John Trevillian, Assistant Director General, Office of
Protocol & Special Events at NSW Department of Premier & Cabinet (1985-2005)
“The Spielberg of the event industry with so much more unfulfilled.” – Peter Rix, Managing
Director, George P. Johnson Australia P/L m
big picture at the same time. He was there from
the load-in until the last body had left the
building at every event he ran. This gave him
the opportunity to make last-minute changes
and to build extraordinary relationships with
both his clients and his supplier group. That
ability and that willingness to work for 25 hours
a day to deliver the completed package, and
yet still appear to be a participant in the party
itself, gave David a global reputation.” - Peter
Rix, Managing Director, George P. Johnson
Sandra Chipchase: “He earned every cent. He
worked hard and he played hard.”
• Constant researcher
Insatiable curiosity with interests across a broad
spectrum: politics, art, music, fashion, theatre,
cultural festivals, food - he took inspiration from
“He would dream up an idea and then spend
hours scouring the internet to ensure it truly had
never been done before and then would spend
hours finding a way to make the impossible,
possible.”- Katerina Grant
Courage to try daring new concepts and ability
to sell them to clients.
There are so many thrilling, hilarious and
extravagant examples: lighting buildings with
corporate messages, live models hanging from
a giant chandelier, setting fire to a cane field,
tap dancers on tables, a talking human
watermelon head on a buffet table, sending ball
guests down an ice slide, putting them in
dodgem cars or Dita Von Teese in a giant
cocktail glass, creating walls using milk crates,
lighting 25,000 candles, and lowering a fully-set
dining table from the ceiling as a reveal for over
He could be budget conscious when necessary.
Ian Stuart: “When asked to theme an indoor
product launch at a small venue in The Rocks,
there was negligible budget. David’s answer
was to invest what there was in a very large
fabric bow affixed to the front door. And to
ensure it was well lit. This first impression, a
simple solution, made the event feel very
special and somehow “bigger” than it was.”
• Industry contributor
An enthusiastic and generous volunteer to
Giving back to the
industry and a little
bit more at a MEA
conference in 2010.
David Grant with
Kerri-Anne and John
Kennerley (The Star
Speaking at an ICCA
congress in India in 2010.
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