1. What makes LIGNA so special for you?

LIGNA is a very special trade fair because of its community. It is a very down-to-earth industry that is well connected with each other, and the diversity of the industries and target groups involved makes the interaction between all the players so exciting.

I find LIGNA as a trade fair so special because I have the feeling that, as part of the industry, it is also a kind of engine that supports and drives progress in the woodworking industry.

2. What have you been most pleased about at a LIGNA?

Seeing the fruits and results of the work every two years - not just from us and the VDMA as organisers - but especially being able to experience the results of the intensive preparation of each individual exhibitor who put so much dedication, commitment and effort into a LIGNA - that is always something very special. Over the years, exhibitors who were initially likeable have become such valuable, great partners on an equal footing that it is simply incredible fun to walk around the trade fair during the build-up and then to the event itself and to celebrate the reunion and the very special atmosphere of a LIGNA with so many familiar faces on the stand and in the aisles.

3. What is the funniest/best/surprising thing you have experienced at LIGNA?

One of the "nicest" feelings is definitely, and I have already said this in one or two interviews or podcasts, when you stand behind the admission counters at 9.00 a.m. on day 1 and watch how the visitors jostle in front of them and then the "turnstiles" open after two years of preparatory work. It's always a highly emotional moment which gives you goose bumps.

But the weeks leading up to this are also exciting: as a team, we are lucky enough to be able to be there live from day one of construction to watch how the laying of the first cable and the first floor slab sometimes results in thousands of square metres of fantastic stand space. When the first stand takes shape in the empty hall and the "ghetto blaster" music accompanying the construction crews from all over the world booms through the halls, we count down.

And the funniest moment ... (in hindsight): I can hardly say it - and it was almost 14 years ago, but I can still remember how I naively and thoughtlessly believed at my first LIGNA as the "new kid" on the team that I could walk through the halls wearing flip-flops when dismantling. The stunned looks from my colleagues and the dismantling crews haunt me to this day ...

4. What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome for LIGNA?

Threats of rail strikes, strikes by train drivers, pilots, airport ground staff - when others are fighting for their rights, it's a real challenge for us, at least shortly before and during a trade fair. Emergency plans are then used, but we rotate a lot in order to realise short-term solutions.

Water damage to a machine during set-up, a short circuit on machines during the trade fair that paralysed everything, an intense horse odour as a remnant of a previous trade fair in cable ducts including "scenting" so that it smelled at least a little less like horses... we've had it all before and solved everything after taking three deep breaths.

But the biggest challenge was certainly - even if not only at LIGNA - Corona and the effects. Postponing, ultimately cancelling LIGNA for the first time in its history, then setting up a completely new digital event and programme in 2021 within just a few weeks and pulling it off under our own steam: that was something you only want to experience once in this form as a team. Exhibitors and we suffered and rotated together. But in the end, it also showed us all together that the trade fair presence format is not simply interchangeable and replaceable.

5. When is a LIGNA a successful LIGNA for you?

When our two important target groups are satisfied: Exhibitors and visitors. Even though we as a team certainly have several benchmarks and criteria that we use to measure "success" - also on a very personal and individual basis: the satisfaction and success of the trade fair participants must have the highest priority. Of course, this feedback does not only determine our success, which we can ultimately only achieve together, but also the mood during the current trade fair and the outlook for the next event.

One of our long-standing partners always says "If I'm not hoarse by the end of the second day of LIGNA at the latest, then there's not enough traffic on the stand." With this in mind, I'm always happy when, after five days, we're all sitting barefoot in the temporary office on the exhibition grounds, hoarse without a voice, with tired legs, small eyes and blisters on our feet - then everything has gone well.