Meet Freddie Georges, Founder & CEO of Freddie Georges Production Group – FG|PG
It’s a very busy time in the Exhibition and Tradeshow Industry, but FormDecor still caught up with Freddie Georges, Founder and CEO of Freddie Georges Production Group (FG|PG) to get a “behind the scenes” interview. Established in 2001, FG|PG is a full service exhibit house based out of Southern California with national capabilities. With a long list of prestigious clients, FG|PG creates interactive experiential environments for tradeshow exhibitors, earning the reputation as a leader in exhibit design and execution. As a female business owner with over 20 years of experience in the industry, Freddie Georges has a lot of wisdom to share, and we are delighted to share her insight on the FormDecor Featured Professionals blog. But we don’t want to give it all away… Get to know Freddie Georges!
FormDecor: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Freddie Georges: Before the age of 21, I wanted to be a designer, any kind of designer. After I graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Interior and Environmental Design, I obtained my first professional design position as an Exhibit Designer with a firm called Design and Production (D&P). I knew then that I eventually wanted to own my own business. D & P specialized in museum exhibit design and fabrication with their biggest client being the Smithsonian. From my childhood exposure consisting of visiting museums all over the world, I was fascinated with how museum and interpretive exhibits were conceived, designed and produced.
After pursing my career at D & P for a year, I discovered their tradeshow division and I immediately fell in love. The projects were set at a much
faster pace than the museum exhibits…Twenty-five plus years later, my love of “all things” exhibits has only gotten stronger.
FD: When clients read your biography on www.FGPG.com, they immediately learn that you were quite the interior decorator at an early age. Where did you find the inspiration to redecorate your childhood home?
FG: As a child of parents in the airline industry, both Air France and Swissair, I benefited from the international travel where a lot of my inspiration came from. I spent many summers throughout my childhood in Paris with my grandparents who took me to places like the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre, and many more. My favorite part of the Palace of Versailles was the Hall of Mirrors, which spawned into a love of mirrors to this day.
A personal favorite interior design project of mine to date is my primary residence in California where I took a non-descript beach house in Huntington Beach and completely transformed it into a Craftsman-style revival. My favorite room is the living room that consists of custom display cases filled with family heirlooms, some over 200 years old!
FD: Starting your own business in a male-dominated industry must have been daunting at first. What gave you the courage to succeed? Did you have any particular challenges that you had to overcome?
FG: I never really thought about how daunting it would be before getting into the exhibition and tradeshow industry because I have always been team focused. I had the “all for one and one for all” mentality that everyone gets along for joint success. That was the naiveté of a young woman. Once I got into the business, the challenges were less about gender and more about knowledge, although gender issues did come up in my younger years. Since I did not have a mentor in the industry, I learned a great deal on my own or through occasional team-spirited colleagues.
Genuine LOVE of the work accounted for 80% of my success, and 20% was sheer tenacity… These percentages still apply today.
Regarding difficult challenges, there is nothing more discouraging, demoralizing and exhausting then an unappreciative, disrespectful client. I’ve
had a few that, later in my career, I actually had to “fire” as clients after concluding that they were the type of people who a) cannot be pleased and b) are too toxic to be able to build a healthy business relationship with. The result is that I have time to pursue and maintain more rewarding client relations.
FD: You have many impressive clients at the Electronic Entertainment Expo every year… Rumor has it, you’re known as the “E3 Queen”!… Tell us about some of your favorite E3 memories.
FG: My fondest career memories stem from two categories: History and Challenges!
One of my clients in the cable television industry has been a client for 25 years! Wahoo! I can tell you, that is a huge achievement in any industry by any standards.
Other fond memories are all based in the most challenging projects. For example, one of my clients asked me to locate a real vintage (circa 1920) train car to rent or purchase for their tradeshow booth. The idea was that they wanted to use the train car as a display to promote a locomotive-based marketing campaign. Finding the inventory was a fun and exciting project in and of itself, but then working on the logistics of bringing it to the show site was quite a rewarding experience.
FD: What is one of the most memorable exhibits you designed and built for a trade show event? Do you have any photos to share?
FG: That’s a tough one to single out because they are all a labor of love… But if I had to choose, I would have to say one of my most recent, 2K Games at E3 2011, followed by Vivendi for E3 2006 and then King World for NATPE way back in 1998. Below you will see a few photos from my favorite exhibits.
FD: Recently, we read your blog on www.FGPG.com about the custom exhibit you built for Borderlands 2 at PAX East 2012. What were the highlights for you working with The Shop @ Show Ready on this project?
FG: After years of creating scenic environments, overseeing the production of four human-like characters from the video game Borderlands 2 was exciting because I’ve only produced creatures, never human figures. The Shop @ Show Ready had the skill set to bring blocks of foam to life, depicting four very realistic human-like characters. In the world of exhibits, the harder the projects are to produce, the more I enjoy the project because I love to learn new production techniques. I love a new challenge!
Overall, it was a harmonious and collaborative team effort… Always a must for ANY successful business relationship.
FD: You have won a number of awards and you must be particularly proud of your woman-owned business awards. What was the first award you received? Are there any award experiences that stand out in your memory?
FG: My first award that I received was the “Top 500 Business in Southern California” award. I have to laugh out loud when asked what award experiences stand out in my memory… I share the same award experience with Warren Buffet, as he has the same award hanging on his wall… The ‘Dale Carnegie Sales Course’ award which I earned back in 1986!
FD: Being a woman and a strong leader in the exhibit and events design industry, what wisdom would you impart for a young
woman just entering this profession?
FG: TALK LESS, LISTEN MORE… but only to qualified mentors because there are a lot of “know-it-alls” in our industry who won’t necessarily always give you the best leadership guidance.
FD: We’re especially proud that FG|PG incorporates FormDecor modern furniture into its award winning designs… If you could choose one design from the FormDecor inventory for your office or home, what would it be?
FG: Wow… That’s especially tough because of course, all the inventory is absolutely to die for… But if I had to choose, it would be the Red Warren Platner chair. This chair matches my personality… Elegantly simple yet sophisticated. I love the Red Warren Platner chair!