Johnny was born in Tasmania, Australia in 1983 to British immigrant parents and was raised in a rural community on a farm near Launceston. An early passion for electronics was developed from the age of five years old. Johnny subsequently developed a fascination with audio equipment from the age of nine when a family member gave him some old hi-fi equipment to play with. "It was quite a strange thing for a young boy to be into, but I found amplifiers and speakers mesmerising to play with. I recall making my first record player that used a paper cone as both the diaphragm and horn" By the age of 12 Johnny had built of collection of hi-fi equipment that was a mixture of old PA, hi-fi from family friends and items he had purchased from the "tip shop". This subsequently led to an interest in DJing, whereby he did his first gig for his grade six prom. From that point forward Johnny's interest in audio, music, electronics and lighting grew into an obsession and passion. At age fifteen Johnny moved to the UK where he immediately founded SXS and started doing mobile DJing to fund the purchase of lighting and audio equipment. This cycle continued into university where he started providing production for events, as well as DJing society and coporate events throughout Europe. By age 20 Johnny was providing event services and DJs to up to ten events on the same day. Johnny produced his first stadium show at 22. The money earned from this work formed a model of exponential growth for SXS to become one of Europe's leading production companies.
Originally founded in 1998 SXS has grown to become one of Europe's leading event production companies. The company is now highly diverse and provides credible offerings in the areas of audio, lighting, rigging, staging, drapery, video production, set build, fabrication and content management. The company also has in-house capabilities of flightcase manufacture, show systems control manaufacture, equipment repair, 3D CAD visualisation and graphic design, as well as working on an agency basis to procure and manage other services including software development, structural engineering and construction. Johnny is founder and Managing Director of SXS. Between him and his wife they own 100% of the company, as well as the freehold title of the warehouses and land SXS occupies.
"I aim to keep up to speed with the latest technologies in events, and in the wider technology and engineering fields" Johnny says. In his career Johnny has led, or worked as part of his team on: * Developing the HOLOX holographic projection concept launced in 2012 * Developing a series of custom outdoor stage structures allowing for multi-angled roofs * Developing the Holactive interactive augmented reality holographic concept * Being an early developer of 4D mapped content for live events * Developing the world's first extended truss section which allowed for precise truss alignment to the nearest 5mm * Pioneering underwater stage construction as a mainstream production service, namely in swimming pools * Developing the SXS Hudor Water Screen (a "peacock-style" water screen) which utilises off-the-shelf fire fighting equipment * Developing the SXS Aqualia Rain Curtain as used on Britain and Ireland's next Top Model # DESIGN PHILOSOPHY "It is all about establishing output specifications, working from first principles and applying established methods used in other sectors" Johnny says of his design philosophy. "My company has won a lot of work against competitors by finding the simplest way of achieving the desired outcome. Too many people overcomplicate things; with most engineering challenges I am faced with I find that someone, somewhere has already done what I am trying to do but in a different way." SXS Events engages with large amount of research and development of new technologies.
Johnny has one of the most advanced and diverse event CVs in Europe. His broad skill set, open mind and acute awareness of the transferability of skills has resulted in him working on sites ranging from Buckingham Palace to the landfill sites and working with brands ranging from leading FMCG brands to the world’s most exclusive product launches. Some of his most notable projects include::
- Production Designer for Fashion Show Final on Sky TV’s “Britain’s Next Top Model”
- Production Designer for the arena-show finale for the feature film “Teen Spirit” – see here:
- Tech and Production design for Xbox One UK launch
- Production Design and Communication strategy for two Olympic Houses simultaneously for the London 2012 Olympics
- Lighting Design for Magdalen College (Oxford University) Commemoration Ball
- Production Designer for the Millenium Stadium (Cardiff) NY parties with one of Wales’ largest ever party audiences.
- Structure and Production Design for feature stands at Buckingham Palace for the Coronation Festival
- Production design and production manager for the UK launch of Rolex-owned “Tudor” watches.
EDUCATION AND ACADEMIA
Johnny studied GCSE and A-levels in the UK and gained a BA in Business in Adminstration from the University of West of England. Throughout university and after graduation Johnny studied engineering, design, electronics and architecture extensively on an independent basis. "While I do not have formal engineering training, I have a passion which has led me to read widely. The knowledge I have gained is useful, but even more useful is having an extensive network of mentors and consultants I am fortunate to be able to call upon to bounce ideas off. I am very aware that I don't know what I don't know!" says Johnny. Since graduating he has been a guest lecturer for the University of the West of England in both the Engineering Department and Business Faculty. He has also guest lectured on event production and management to Birmingham City University. He frequently does guest talks, mock interviews and career day activities for local schools around Bristol.
Johnny works as an independance consultant and advisor for a range of international projects. In many cases these are not projects where his company is providing production services. These have included visiting the sites for the following: * Video projection advice for the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC * Water Screen and video advice for hotels in the Algarve * Production and event design for a Ukrainian mine * Structure design at Lake Como, Italy * Drapery reveal in an aricraft hangar in Prague
Johnny lives in the Hotwells area of Bristol with his wife Cathy and their children, Wilfred and Max. Johnny enjoys cycling, swimming, lighting campfires, scouting and playing with solar panels.
Johnny is the freehold owner and curator of the industrial estate SXS is based on which includes various third party tenants. Johnny also has holdings in agricultural, residential and development properties.
Sustainability and environmental activites are very important to Johnny. He tries to take a mindful and conscious approach to the environment in all his work in events and property. This has lead to SXS being involved in lots of sustainbility activity including running the largest solar array in west Bristol and the company sponsoring educational events around solar energy and batteries. Johnny has also made land available to local food-growers at his industrial estate. In 2018 Johnny founded the Warleigh Weir Project with the stated aim of ensuring that this stunning and popular location can remain available for generations to come. More information can be found on the project here www.warleighweir.co.uk
AUTHORED CONTENT AND OTHER INTERESTS
Johnny has written an extensive range of articles relating to events, business and technical production. These can be found here and may be syndicated freely. Johnny is also an occasional contributing writing for local press and trade publications. Johnny also owns and manages several investment properties including the warehousing that is occupied by SXS. In 2014 Johnny founded Clunk Storage, Studio and Support (www.weareclunk.co.uk) which is a specialist business providing services to companies in live events and media.