People News Headlines
POLAR Promotes Will Turney to Head of Integrated Solutions
UK – POLAR, established supplier of key industry brands to the AV Integration, MI and professional audio markets, has announced the promotion of current national sales manager for integrated solutions, Will Turney, to the post of head of integrated solutions. Will joined the POLAR team in 2017 as a business development manager after five years with Harman-owned AMX. A marketing and management graduate of Newcastle University, Will's career at POLAR been impressive, and his promotion to leading the Integrated Services Division is a reflection of his dynamism and detailed understanding of the AV industry.
Will Turney comments: “My role managing the integrated solutions division will include supporting and developing the sales and technical support teams at POLAR in continuing to meet the challenges of a fast-moving technology sector. I will also be responsible for liaising with our brands to develop strategies for new product launches, as well as ongoing product updates. My task is based on taking a holistic view of the industry to help us develop in new areas and respond quickly, as a value-added distributor, to the needs of the market.”
POLAR managing director John Midgley adds: "In his time at POLAR, Will has demonstrated a comprehensive understanding of AV technologies and their application in the widest range of market sectors. He’s very well respected by our team members and customers, displays great energy, and possesses a highly developed set of skills that make him the ideal fit to take charge of the division.”
22nd September 2021
The Astera After Sales Technical Support Team Expands
Germany – Wireless LED lighting manufacturer Astera has announced the appointment of Thor-Andre who joins the after-sales technical support team based at the company’s HQ in Munich, Germany.
Norwegian-born global citizen Thor has lived and breathed the brand since he was introduced – and blown away by the quality and ingenuity – in 2018 whilst working for UK distributor Ambersphere Solutions.
At that point he was moving to Australia to work with another leading sales company, ULA Group, where he ran their Sydney office with great energy and enthusiasm and further enhanced the Astera success story which kept rolling throughout the pandemic as the film and television industry boomed.
About to start his permanent residency application in Australia, Thor discovered that the criteria for PR had changed since arriving in the country, making him no longer eligible. A combination of having enjoyed working with Astera products so much and his ongoing quest for new challenges and horizons led to a conversation with Astera’s sales director Sebastian Bückle, which resulted in the job offer.
“This is a fantastic and hugely exciting chance to work directly with one of the world’s leading entertainment LED lighting manufacturers,” stated Thor, adding that while he has relished living and working in Australia enormously and will miss the sea and warm weather, this “new adventure” is an absolute dream job opportunity.
Thor and his 12-year-old Norfolk Terrier dog, Maiko, who is also from Norway, are upping sticks and relocating back to Europe and the lively and buzzing Bavarian capital city of Munich.
The new role is perfect for Thor.
He will be engaging directly with key customers and companies worldwide offering after-sales support and be working with gaffers, DoPs, lighting and set designers, rental and production companies, combining his first-class communications skills with his love of geekery. He will also be travelling extensively as well as attending all the major international trade shows once they get up to speed post-pandemic.
The role will also involve future Astera product planning and R&D. And, building on the great connections he started at ULA Group, his role at Astera will include a ‘special relationship’ with the Australian market to ensure continuity for that ongoing evolution.
“Astera’s growth has been extremely strong even through this very difficult pandemic period, and that’s a testament to the ingenuity, foresight and imagination that goes into producing products that are so ultimately useful and usable,” he commented.
Astera has brought three cool new products to the market this year, and apart from the great products and people, Thor is impressed by the company’s organisation, strategic planning, and future vision.
Sebastian Bückle comments; “Thor is one of the most knowledgeable Astera users and technical supporters out there. His expertise and dynamism will help take our after-sales services to the next level.”
21st September 2021
Pro Audio Systems Appoints Chris Beardwell
UK – Bradford-based Pro Audio Systems has announced the recruitment of Chris Beardwell to the post of video and lighting sales. For more than 30 years, Pro Audio Systems has supplied professional audio for sales, hire and installation, offering bespoke system design and comprehensive technical support to a wide variety of clients. In a response to consistent customer demand, the company recently began to expand its operations in the direction of the video and lighting sectors; Chris joins to oversee this development.
His role will be to develop existing and new relationships with manufacturers, to enable Pro Audio Systems to supply video and lighting products alongside its extensive audio inventory. Chris will also look to drive sales and deliver turnkey audio-visual solutions for a variety of different customer applications.
Having taken an early interest in technical lighting and AV, Chris worked alongside school and amateur dramatics groups before deciding to pursue a professional path in the industry. Having graduated with a BA (Hons) in Media Production from Lincoln University, he joined Luminar Leisure (now Rekom U.K.) as a lighting technician at ‘Liquid’, ‘Envy’ and ‘Trinity’ nightclubs. Chris gained valuable experience utilising moving light technology and control systems from Robe and Martin Professional, before moving to become head lighting technician/operator at Wolverhampton super-club ‘Faces’. As well as broadening his scope using products from SGM and Madrix, Chris also assimilated valuable audio skills, maintaining the venue’s sound system and associated DJ equipment.
In 2014, in search of a fresh challenge, Chris joined AC Entertainment Technologies as a technical video sales executive, using his technical knowledge and experience from the ‘shop floor’ to develop and grow the company’s video department. During his seven years at the company, Chris developed strong relationships with suppliers and customers, providing sales, technical and after-sales support, including product demonstrations and technical training sessions and was involved at every stage in the sales process from specifying to shipping. His in-depth knowledge and experience of video projection, LED screens, media servers and control systems, will be invaluable to Pro Audio Systems as the company broadens its offering in this area.
Pro Audio Systems MD Brian Lumb comments: “Chris’s extensive experience in the video and lighting sector, both in hands-on roles and as part of a successful sales team, qualifies him as the ideal candidate for this position. He has established many strong relationships within the industry and shares our commitment to offering the highest standards of customer service.”
Chris Beardwell adds: “Lighting and video systems continue to push the boundaries of what is possible within live, corporate and installation spaces, so I’m really excited to be joining Pro Audio Systems to help build and develop their offering in this area. I look forward to working closely with our customers and helping them to achieve their creative visions through the use of cutting-edge lighting and video technologies.”
21st September 2021
POLAR Appoints Richard Ward and Stuart Russell
UK – POLAR, established supplier of key industry brands to the AV Integration, MI and professional audio markets, has appointed Richard Ward and Stuart Russell as business development managers.
With a career spanning more than 35 years, Richard Ward is a widely recognised face in the industry, where has been associated with world-leading brands such as Korg and Technics, and played key roles in the UK launch strategies of Mackie and Nord Lead. A professional keyboard player, producer and DJ in his own right, Richard possesses a keen understanding of the needs of customers across the MI, production, broadcast and DJ sectors.
Richard Ward looks forward to his new role: “I think that learning the industry from both sides of the fence has been key to creating a synergy where both the retailer and end-user get the best from the brands I represent. The range of POLAR’s portfolio and the diverse market it serves, including retailers, professional AV companies and consumers, aligns perfectly with my knowledge and experience.”
Tim Riley, director, brand development at POLAR comments: “I’m excited about Richard’s appointment. His passion and enthusiasm for all things audio shines through in every conversation, and his commitment to delivering exactly the right product technology and value to his customers makes him the perfect fit for the role. He’s a highly dynamic operator who’s sure to make a significant impact at POLAR.”
Stuart Russell is another highly-regarded professional who has worked for many leading brands including Audio-Technica, Soundcraft and Harman Audio. Familiar with every aspect of AV manufacturing, distribution, installation and retail, Stuart brings a wealth of knowledge that can be readily applied to support POLAR’s extensive portfolio.
Stuart Russell is relishing the challenge: “Being part of the POLAR team gives me the chance to work with a fantastic range of top brands which cover a huge section of the MI sand Pro Audio markets. I know my customers will love these brands, and I’m looking forward to continuing the great relationships I’ve built with them over the years, as well as developing new ones through the breadth and depth of the POLAR portfolio.”
Tim Riley adds: “I’ve known Stuart for many years, and worked with him at Audio-Technica. His drive, professionalism and determination, not to mention his great sense of humour, will be of huge benefit to POLAR. He’s very experienced and held in high regard by all his customers.”
Reflecting on POLAR’s emergence from the pandemic, Tim is optimistic: “I’m confident that as we emerge from the pandemic into a strengthening market, POLAR will be in an even stronger position following the recruitment of two such experienced and customer-focused managers.”
16th September 2021
Mike Jarvis 1956 – 2021
UK – The family of Mike Jarvis are sad to report that Mike passed away on 9th August 2021 at the age of 65. Mike grew up in south Birmingham in a loving home, with his parents Douglas and Peggy and his brother Paul, and it was from his parents that Mike gained his strong morals and sense of fairness.
Early on, as a reward for sitting quietly while Paul had visits to the orthopaedic hospital, Mike was allowed to buy a Dinky car on the way home and thus began a lifelong collection of model vans.
Music was very important to Mike, especially when it was live. Growing up in Birmingham meant that he saw bands in small clubs before they went on to become rock legends.
He attended Harborne primary school, followed by Lordswood boys school. Mike was always artistic and he produced some beautiful ceramics at A-level. His foundation year at Fazely street in Birmingham studying art was a happy one, experimenting with sculpture and design which led him to the Theatre Design course at the City of Birmingham Polytechnic in the mid 1970s.
Joanna was one of his fellow students on the course and they quickly developed a strong friendship, in spite of his Brummie reaction to her posh southern accent. At the end of the three years that friendship developed into the loving relationship that has lasted for 42 years, 35 of them as a married couple.
Mike moved from the polytechnic to a job as an electrician at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. He quickly gained a reputation as a cheerful and reliable member of staff and he became responsible for running the lighting for shows in the studio theatre. He loved the intimate atmosphere of the studio and enjoyed the camaraderie of the small company of actors for each show. Sitting at the lighting desk in the box, he was physically close to the performance, something that he appreciated.
Promoted to deputy chief electrician he moved to running shows in the main theatre, sitting in the lighting box at the back of the auditorium night after night, chatting to the other technicians on the headphones and reading his newspaper, as well as running the show.
Mike worked at the Rep for 14 years until complaints from the three-year old Elizabeth that she never saw daddy and the imminent arrival of Alice prompted him to accept a job as hire manager at Midland Theatre Services in Smethwick, in the hope of more regular hours.
Mike’s daughters, Elizabeth and Alice were the centre of his life and he was always proud of their achievements, but more than anything else that they have both grown to be strong, independent women. Among other qualities, they have inherited his kindness, his strong sense of fairness and maybe a little of his left-wing bias.
Mike’s job was very important to him, it was here where he could exercise his mind. When he became a project manager for live events and a freelance lighting designer, he found the work challenging and stimulating and he valued the friendships that it brought to him. He often worked long hours away from home and those friendships became doubly important. Joanna always felt that one of his skills was in knowing how to put together a team, using each person’s strengths to the benefit of the task. He had very high standards and expected a lot from the lighting professionals who worked for him, but he never had trouble finding people willing to join him.
Lockdown was very difficult for Mike, as it was for many others. Over a 24-hour period a year of bookings for work disappeared as if in a puff of smoke. One small comfort is that Joanna and Mike got to spend a great deal more time together over the past year than would have otherwise been the case.
His last, and possibly greatest role was as a grandad and Lego master. He adored without reservation both Henry and Cora his grandchildren. For Henry, grandad was his Lego master, for Cora he was a loving and cuddly man who would do anything for her.
His home was the centre of Mike’s life and he was the still, calm, centre of that home. Mike’s life was celebrated on 2nd September at Lodge Hill Crematorium where his family and a large number of industry colleagues and friends paid tribute to “an unflappable, smiling, lovely man.”
Donations are being collected in Mike’s memory, for #WeMakeEvents and Heart Research UK.
14th September 2021
Fabian de Brücker joins Ayrton as regional sales manager
France – Ayrton has welcomed Fabian de Brücker to its dynamic sales team. De Brücker joins Ayrton as regional sales manager for all French-speaking countries and regions with effect from 1 September 2021. Brücker’s new role includes responsibility for maintaining a high level of designer relations, as well as promoting and supporting the Ayrton brand across these regions.
Fabian brings a wealth of industry experience having worked with many major lighting brands for over 25 years. He has built an extensive network among lighting professionals, but has developed a particularly close relationship with Ayrton.
“Fabian has always been a great advocate of the Ayrton brand since his days working with Axente, so his joining us is a huge bonus,” says Ayrton’s global sales director, Michael Althaus. “His years of experience means Fabian has super-strong designer relations in France. We are very proud to have him as the latest addition to our team.”
“This is a completely new role for me and I am very excited to join a company I have admired for so long,” says de Brücker. “I have represented some of the leading brands in my professional life, but Ayrton occupies a special place, in part due to a great relationship and friendship with Yvan Péard, founder and CTO of Ayrton but, even without that, because Ayrton is the most innovative brand on the market.”
14th September 2021
David Launay Joins Chauvet Professional
France – Continuing to build on the knowledge and industry insights that have guided its impressive growth, Chauvet Professional has added David Launay to its team as a product specialist.
Highly regarded as a lighting designer, operator, and Wysiwyg trainer; Launay was the LD for Marcel et son orchestre (2003), and Ghinzu (2005). He has also worked extensively as lighting operator for photography director on French and Middle Eastern events, such as the Paralympic Opening Ceremony, the Hand Ball World Cup, and “Show Hello.”
“I have known David for 25 years,” said Martin Fournier, European sales director of Chauvet. ‘His personal character and professionalism make him a valuable addition to any organisation.”
Echoing this enthusiasm was Michael Brooksbank, managing director of Chauvet Europe who said: “David brings an extraordinary set of talents and experiences to this position. Combining his strengths with those of our existing product specialist team puts us in an even stronger position to serve our customer and address market trends.”
For his part, Launay (who began his career at Audiolite in 1997), is excited to join the Chauvet Professional team. “There seems to be no limit to what Chauvet can accomplish right now,” he said. “This is a dynamic company with a very bright future, and I’m very excite to be part of the team.”
10th September 2021
Stuart Leader Joins Audiologic as Senior Sales Manager
UK – Audiologic has announced that after almost ten years at POLAR, well known industry figure, Stuart Leader joins the team as senior sales manager.
Stuart started in the AV industry back in the late 90s working on internal sales for a distributor local to where he was living at the time, selling projectors. His career began mainly in the displays, video and control side of the industry, working for distributors and manufacturers. Stuart then moved into the audio industry in 2012 joining POLAR audio. Stuart’s background has always been sales based, until 2014 when he progressed into sales management. In 2016, he joined the board at POLAR, heading up the integrated solutions team, leading a sales team selling AVoverIP, audio solutions, video distribution, control and unified communications.
The senior sales manager role is a strategic step forward for Audiologic and will see a holistic approach to the sales function. Andy Lewis, managing director, Audiologic, comments: “We are genuinely excited for Stuart to join us, he brings a wealth of industry experience which will drive the sales function. Stuart will oversee the responsibility for the entire sales function. The role is a very strategic and focused one, which will drive Audiologic through its next growth phase. We would like to take the opportunity to congratulate Dave Smith on his retirement and say a huge thank you for his seven years of service.”
Stuart Leader concludes: “I have observed the accelerated growth of Audiologic over the last few years and have had great admiration for what the company has achieved. I’m delighted to be joining such a well-established and strong team and I look forward to contributing and playing my part in the building and development of the business in the future.”
1st September 2021
Michael T. Strickland Honored by Academy of Country Music
USA – Bandit Lites founder and chair Michael T. Strickland was bestowed the ACM Gene Weed Milestone Award at Wednesday night’s Academy of Country Music (ACM) Honours. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group, or industry leader for a specific, unprecedented, or outstanding achievement in the field of country music during the preceding calendar year. Strickland was voted as the winner by members of the ACM in a rare unanimous vote.
“I’m humbled and honoured and flattered,” said Strickland as he accepted the award Wednesday night. “I cannot believe the ACM has done this. It’s a long way from touring with Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn in the early seventies to stadiums with Garth Brooks.”
Past recipients of the Gene Weed Milestone Award include Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Loretta Lynn, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Sam Hunt, Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Jeff Foxworthy, Merle Haggard, George Burns, Gayle Holcomb, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Jennifer Nettles and Blake Shelton.
Strickland’s tireless efforts on behalf of country music and the entirety of live events, mobilising millions into action, breaking down applications and forms that entire companies and individuals hinged their survival on, and on raising awareness to the public with appearances on MSNBC, CNBC, NBC, WGN America, and others to keep the focus on the entertainment industry.
He testified before the United States Senate on 15 December about the effect of COVID-19 on the live event industry, leading to the passage of the COVID Relief bill providing Save Our Stages, additional PPP and additional PUA to the industry. Strickland also worked with others to create COV-AID, which tied live entertainment, The NFL, NASCAR, and the White House COVID vaccine effort together. COV-AID allowed the delivery of vaccines across the US in all of the entertainment’s largest venues.
He is now working on passing The MUSIC Act (Music Under Sever Income Crisis) (Senate Amendment 2412), an amendment from Senator Bill Hagerty and Senator Marsha Blackburn, who was in attendance with Strickland, that would utilise four billion dollars already allocated from Shuttered Venues Operators Grant and disperse it among a wider net of live event professionals. Strickland spoke about The MUSIC Act as he accepted the ACM Award.
“One of the things SOS failed to do was take care of the service and support people,” he said. “That’s all the guys and gals that load and unload the trucks and make the shows go. This bill will take care of the service and support people. There is five billion dollars left in SOS and it shut last week. The CBO has scored our bill as four billion dollars, so what we all have to do, and managers, artists, agents, I challenge you tonight: please contact Senator Chuck Schumer. He was the champion and reason SOS passed. We must all reach out to him and ask him to please pass The MUSIC Act with unanimous consent as soon as the Senate reconvenes so that there will be funding coming to the service and support guys and gals in this industry. That will complete the picture.”
1st September 2021
Creative Technology UK Appoint New Head of Client Relationships
UK – Creative Technology’s UK operation has recently created a new senior-level position, head of client relationships.
This role will enable a more personal and dedicated level of client contact, covering all sectors across the business activities within Creative Technology (CT). It will focus on promoting the capabilities of CT to the corporate live events industries as well as helping to define the client experience in all aspects.
Lee Dennison has been appointed to fulfil this new role. With over 25 years of experience in the live events industry, Lee brings extensive technical knowledge as well as a deep understanding of how to build and maintain strategic relationships and partnerships.
Lee has previous experience at Autograph Sound Recording and DeltaLive. More recently, Lee was part of the senior management team at White Light Ltd, performing the role of head of business development. He now joins CT where he will leverage his knowledge and experience to support the current and future CT client base.
Dennison comments: “The world has changed so much in the last eighteen months, and we have seen technology rapidly evolve to support new ways of communicating and engaging with audiences. It’s an exciting time to join CT and I am looking forward to helping our clients explore technologies and solutions we offer, to help achieve their objectives.
“Creative Technology is a brand I have always held in very high regard. The nature and scale of their work is something I am excited to be part of. I’m really looking forward to supporting the existing client relationships that CT have and introducing new ones as we move forwards.”
“We’re really excited to have Lee on board,” notes Nick Askew, head of corporate. “Lee is well known and respected in the industry and alongside Lee, myself and the team are looking forward to developing new relationships and strengthening existing ones over the coming months, focusing on delivering high quality projects for all our clients. We want to continue to share our knowledge and learnings with our clients but also know that requirements have and will continue to change as events return and Lee will help to make sure we’re satisfying all requirements.