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Standing The Test Of Time: Dubai-Based DLC Events Owner Lorraine Ludman On Thriving In Her Industry For 28 Years How Lorraine Ludman has been at the helm of an events company that has been actively engaging in a plethora of activities and events in the UAE for 28 years.

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed Edited by Aby Thomas

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DLC Events
Lorraine Ludman, Managing Owner, DLC Events

"In August 1992, I received an enquiry for a laser show in Dubai, and despite following up, I heard nothing," recalls Lorraine Ludman, owner of Dubai-based events company Definitive Laser Centre (DLC) Events. "On 30th December, the same year, at 6:00am, I took a call asking if we could do a firework show in Dubai on January 3, 1993. I replied "Yes!'" In the anecdote that follows, Ludman goes on to narrate how her company, which was located in the United Kingdom at the time, went on to offer lighting and sound services for celebrations of the UAE ruling families, two occasions of the Oman National Day, as well as for the Dubai airshow, all during the early nineties. Since then, DLC has grown into becoming a platform that, in addition to providing lighting, sound, and communications solutions for events of all sizes in the UAE, also offers simultaneous interpretation and conferencing solutions.

In more recent years, DLC Events provided the lighting elements for the 2015 new year celebrations at the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. "Along with major events, DLC also provides its services to small and medium-sized events, press launches and even shop window displays and school plays!" says Ludman. "These events were, and still are, our "bread and butter' income." Given the innately transient nature of the events industry, Ludman realized early on that her company needed to look into other verticals too. "When DLC was formed in Dubai in 1993, we were the first lighting and sound company offering services on a rental basis for the diverse marketplace of corporate, private and government functions in the Gulf region," she says. "But as the years progressed, DLC progressively changed its direction away from its core activity in light and sound, recognizing the rapidly increasing market demand for conferencing and simultaneous interpretation. With Dubai being an international hub for travel, finance, and tourism, DLC seized the opportunity."

In the transitory process that ensued, DLC managed to acquire a vast rental stock of conferencing equipment. These include cutting-edge conferencing microphones, automated camera technology, and wireless infra-red transmission tools for live translations of multiple languages. The company also hosts one of the largest rental stocks of fully licensed walkie-talkie radios in the Gulf. "We went on to become the leading member of the Shure Conferencing Network worldwide, working with international partner companies as far afield as Iceland, Thailand, Cape Town, and Georgia," explains Ludman. "DLC's investments in conferencing equipment have led us to proudly hold the largest stock of turn-key conferencing solutions in the world."

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An example of the lighting services DLC Events offers. Source: DLC Events

In what has possibly been the company's biggest project in this arena yet, DLC Events got to provide its interpretation services at Expo 2020 Dubai. During the daily National Day events on the Stage of Nations at Al Wasl Plaza, the DLC team provided simultaneous interpretation in Arabic, English and French. "We came up with a unique remote solution that enabled guests attending each ceremony to be able to enjoy the event in either Arabic, English, or French without any interpreters needing to be physically present on site," Ludman says. "For those ceremonies delivered in different languages, for example Vietnamese, Turkish, or Farsi, to name just a few, we were able to expand the team effortlessly to incorporate these additional languages."

Ludman notes here that there was one event in particular at the Expo that went beyond geographical barriers- quite literally. "The most memorable event by far was right at the start of the Expo, where a live interview via video link with a French astronaut on the International Space Station was projected onto the dome of Al Wasl Plaza, and our system enabled attendees to understand his French speech in English and Arabic," Ludman recalls. "This was the first time we have provided simultaneous interpretation for someone who was not on this planet!"

Lorraine Ludman, Managing Owner, DLC Events. Source: DLC Events

It is this drive to keep pushing boundaries that has defined Ludman's career throughout these 28 years. So much so, that even when the onset of the COVID-19 crisis affected her company as well as the events industry as a whole, she still managed to retain her team and work towards alternative solutions. "It is a sad reality that the first reaction of many companies was to immediately release and abandon their staff," she says. "But DLC's first reaction was to pull together to work out a plan to get through this unprecedented time. Our office staff spent the worst of the pandemic writing to prospective customers and building relationships. We also embraced virtual simultaneous translation enabling translation to take place remotely. Our perseverance has paid off, with 2021-22 being one of our best seasons yet!"

To lead a team through the peaks and valleys of a business, Ludman believes that there are three key traits that one should possess: humility, ethics, and fairness. "Anyone can buy equipment; you can't buy loyalty and respect," she points out. "I have always been a firm believer in common sense, enthusiasm, and intuition, all of which I am lucky to possess. But I also always listen to feedback from my team, and look for new market trends and market demands. We are in a people's industry, and I strongly believe that it is the people who make a company." Having maintained such a stance throughout her career is what has helped in navigating the many unpredictable hurdles that come with the events industry, and it is with this mindset that Ludman hopes to navigate 2022 as well. "Our main goal for the coming year is to maintain and expand our professional standing in the marketplace," she concludes. "DLC is constantly evolving, so watch this space!"

Related: Driven By Purpose: Dubai-Based Veganologie Creates Bags From Recycled Plastic Bottles

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

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