People News Headlines
New Year and new colleagues join the Follow-Me team
The Netherlands - Victor Petitjean is a French software developer, living in the Netherlands for five years. He received his Master's degree at the Institute of Optics in Bordeaux, France, in Optical Engineering and Computer Graphics. He then moved to the Netherlands to work in research and development at Delft University of Technology and Siemens Software. Victor joins Follow-Me combining his love for concerts and shows with his technical knowledge of optics and thus lighting: “I’m excited to finally discover the secrets behind the scene and to do my best to make show lighting even better!”
Follow-Me founder and lead product developer, Erik Berends states: “Victor’s strong background in computer graphics matches perfectly with Follow-Me's ambition for upcoming product releases, we are excited to have him on board.”
Based in the Netherlands, Sander van der Meij has been in the entertainment industry for almost 20 years as a lighting technician, rigger, dimmer technician, system technician and more recently as crew chief and project manager. Looking for a new challenge, Sander found Follow-Me and they welcome him to the team!
Product manager Tim van Dijk, who will be working closely with Sander in the Follow-Me team, states: “Sander has a lot of hands-on experience in the entertainment industry, working as project manager for a large variety of shows and events. Due to this we believe he will be of great value to our team, he will take the lead on Follow-Me integration for projects all around the world.”
21st January 2022
AV Stumpfl appoints Jan Walter as global business development manager, screens
Austria – The Austrian family company AV Stumpfl recently announced the creation of a new management position in its screens sales department. On 1st January, Jan Walter joined the team as global business development manager, screens.
Walter began his AV industry career as a field application engineer and recently worked as a senior regional sales manager for an internationally known technology manufacturer.
The focus of his new role will be expanding AV Stumpfl's international projection screens distribution network
Walter explains the reasons for taking on the new role: “Ever since I started working in the wider area of projection technology, AV Stumpfl screens have been a household name. I always associated their products with the highest quality possible and a great drive towards innovation. I see great potential for expanding the existing distribution network further and am looking forward to tackling this exciting challenge.”
Stefanie Niederwimmer, AV Stumpfl‘s executive director, screens, comments on the strategic importance of the newly created role: “In addition to technological innovation, we as a family company attach great importance to the interpersonal market presence as well. In order to strengthen this key factor even more, we decided to add the new global business development manager position to our screens department. Due to his great knowledge of both the products and the wider AV industry as such, Jan Walter is perfectly suited for taking on this new role and to support our screens team.”
20th January 2022
Elation welcomes back Esteban De La Torre to US sales team
USA – Elation Professional is extremely pleased to welcome back Esteban De La Torre to the Elation Professional US sales team in a new position of channel market manager – west.
Esteban previously worked for Elation for several years in various capacities from programming trade show booths and showrooms to supporting the controller and data distribution business nationally prior to his leaving the company to pursue designing and programming full-time.
“I am excited to be back with the Elation family,” Esteban stated. “During my time freelancing, I saw the tremendous growth that Elation was experiencing. When the opportunity arose to return to the team as channel market manager, I knew it would be a great fit. I have always been a supporter of Elation products when working on set or live environments, and now I get to help expose the company to new markets and help create the next generation of lighting products. I’m looking forward to working with a team that values its employees and its customers. It’s a win-win.”
Over the last few years, Esteban built a successful career designing and programming numerous high-profile TV and film projects, from live performance to scripted television. During this time, he gained invaluable experience and developed close relationships with industry leaders in the TV/film and live performance markets, and he will be leveraging this experience and his relationships in his new role with Elation.
Esteban, who started in the new position at Elation on 6 January, will primarily focus his efforts on the key vertical markets of broadcast and film, and live entertainment across the western USA region. Working in coordination with Elation’s growing channel market team, and alongside the company’s existing independent rep team, Esteban will promote Elation to designers, specifiers and key stakeholders to help drive brand and product awareness, increase product adoption and help Elation to continue to grow its overall market share.
19th January 2022
Vice President Mike Golden Celebrates 40 Years at Bandit Lites
USA – During Bandit Lites Annual General Meeting, vice president Mike Golden was honoured for his four decades of service. Michael T. Strickland shared how he came to know Golden, recounting a classic photo from the Bandit archives that feature a crew of young men standing in a parking lot. Strickland is on one end sporting an orange Kenny Rogers crew shirt, while at the end stands Golden, arms folded, in a plaid button down. Golden had jumped in the photo at the last minute.
“When I saw that photo, I had to ask, ‘Who is that guy on the end?’,” laughs Strickland. “I had no idea he’d be standing here 40 years later.”
Golden had started working as a stagehand at the coliseum in Johnson City, when a friend who worked for Bandit Lites told him Michael Strickland was looking for someone to go on the Kenny Rogers tour as the stage builder.
“I drove to Knoxville and met with Michael, and he gave me the job,” recounts Golden. “From there he offered me a position on Alabama and things just continued from there.”
Golden spent the next decade as a lighting technician, then crew chief, lighting director and designer. He worked on countless productions including, Kenny Rogers, Alabama, Debbie Boone, REM, Paul Young, Cameo, Suzanne Vega, Crystal Gayle, Charlie Daniels, Dan Fogelberg, Stryper, Blackfoot, The Judds, The Tubes, Anita Baker, Menudo, Neil Young and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
In 1989, he came off the road and transitioned into the warehouse manager for Bandit’s new Nashville facility before being promoted to vice president of the company.
“There is no way I can express the memories, relationships and accomplishments I have been a part of as a member of Bandit Lites in the past 40 years,” said Golden. “It takes many parts of a dedicated team to achieve success and to have been a part of this machine has been my lifetime passion. I am honoured to have worked with Michael Strickland for all of these years and through it all I have admired his drive, dedication and vision.”
“Mike grew up in the neighbourhood with my brother Steve, Kent, Kyle and Eric Shafferman,” said Strickland. “All became Bandits, and Steve and Eric are here today as well. Mike made the very delicate, graceful transition from crew to crew chief to lighting designer and then into the office. His ultimate position as VP is one richly deserved. Mike is loved by all and every client he has ever worked with has come back. Bandit would not be the same without Mike. I want to thank him for what is now 41 great years, as he actually crossed the threshold in 2020 and Bandit did not hold an AGM due to COVID. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
18th January 2022
Alistair Smyth joins zactrack International as Brand Manager: A veteran of the industry
zactrack has announced that Alistair Smyth, a long-time veteran of the industry, has been hired as brand manager. After earning a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Kingston University London, he worked for Vari-Lite, High End Systems, Christie Lites, A.C. Entertainment Technologies and Flashlight. Most recently, he was a technical sales advisor at Elation, where he was responsible for product demonstrations, sales support and technical communication.
Alistair comments on his new role: “I am proud to join the Lightpower family of companies and be a member of the zactrack International team. I look forward to meeting our valued distributors, customers and users. The zactrack products are amazing and we believe they will revolutionise tracking in many areas of our industry. As part of the team here, we can work together to help promote this intuitive technology and bring it to a wider audience.”
Stephan Saremba, managing director of zactrack International, said: “We are very happy to have Alistair on board now. Since zactrack International was established just last year, zactrack has been chosen for iconic projects like the ongoing Alanis Morissette 2021-2022 world tour or MJ the Musical on Broadway. We have also signed on several new distributors in key markets around the world, expanding our global service and support offering. With Alistair’s industry experience and enthusiasm for the brand he will help put zactrack on many more stages around the world.”
18th January 2022
Electrosonic Announces Ewan Smith as its new Global President and Managing Director
UK – Electrosonic Group has announced that Ewan Smith has been appointed the global group president and managing director effective 1st January, 2022.
In announcing the promotion, Electrosonic Group interim CEO and chair of the board Lori Cross commented: “I am delighted to announce that Ewan Smith has agreed to serve as Electrosonic’s group global president and managing director. Ewan is precisely what Electrosonic needs to lead the next phase of our global strategy and deliver exceptional customer experiences around the world. We knew we wanted our president to have high integrity, accountability, and passion for the customer. Simultaneously, our leader would need to care deeply about the well-being and growth of our employees: the ultimate collaborators in designing, delivering and supporting our iconic installations. We found all of those traits in Ewan, combined with an innate desire to learn, innovate and develop new skills and emerging technologies."
Ewan Smith had initially joined Electrosonic as US president in August of 2020. He was promoted to global chief revenue officer in July of 2021, where he led the growth and development of Electrosonic’s global sales and marketing efforts to a very strong year-end position.
The successes of Ewan’s tenure at Electrosonic, as well as his solid background in the audiovisual and technology industry were key drivers of the appointment, but as Lori Cross states, it was much more: “Over the last six months, we experienced first-hand Ewan’s consistent, creative commitment to drive the necessary changes, positioning us to surge in a post-pandemic market and retain our position as the most trusted and innovative engineering advisor in the industry.”
Commenting on his appointment, Ewan Smith said: "I'm truly honoured to have the opportunity to lead Electrosonic into this exciting new chapter. The type of innovative and experiential solutions we offer are increasingly in high demand, and I believe that our strategy and, most of all, our talent are perfectly positioned to capture and deliver those opportunities. As the industry continues to evolve, as One Global Team we will focus on what we do best, designing, building and supporting best-in-class technology for our partners and customers.”
17th January 2022
Atlona Adds Scott Varner to North American Sales Team
USA – Atlona has announced that Scott Varner will fill the role of regional sales manager, north-east recently vacated by Adam Griffin, who was promoted to director of sales and business development for North America. Reporting to Griffin, Varner assumes all sales and channel management responsibilities in the north-east and mid-Atlantic areas, effective immediately.
Varner joins Atlona with an impressive AV pedigree. His career began in the residential AV market, where he specialised in home theatre and audio sales, training and account development for nearly 25 years. Varner’s responsibilities initially shifted to the commercial AV market while at projectiondesign, followed by commercial AV sales and channel management roles with Vivitek and BenQ North America.
Varner’s diverse professional experience include years of experience working with Atlona’s core customer base of dealers, distributors, manufacturer representatives and systems integrators. He intends to leverage his experience to build Atlona’s channel throughout his region, with the goal of increasing Atlona’s brand visibility and market share. He is particularly bullish about Atlona’s strength in collaboration, and sees endless opportunities to win business in the growing corporate and education verticals in cooperation with Atlona’s partners.
“Market research shows that virtually every space where people connect computers or personal devices to a screen will incorporate wireless connectivity,” said Varner. “Atlona’s recent innovations in this space, such as the WAVE-101 wireless collaboration solution, are built specifically to help people connect wirelessly and share the content without difficulty. Our partners are finding increased business with enterprises and universities throughout my region, and Atlona has developed the right product portfolio to win business with their end customers.”
“Scott’s experience working with customers and system architectures across the AV spectrum makes him perfectly suited for this role,” said Griffin. “His account management and training background will bring exceptional value while working with existing Atlona partners, and recruiting new ones, to continue raising Atlona’s profile throughout the busy north-east and mid-Atlantic regions.”
12th January 2022
ALPD celebrates 60 years with 11 new fellows announcement
UK – The ALPD has announced that for 2021, the year in which the association not only changed its name to reflect its membership better, but also the year in which it celebrated its 60th anniversary, 11 new fellows should join its membership for life.
The ALPD Fellowships are bestowed in recognition of the immense contribution each individual has made to the Association and to the lighting community as well as the industry as a whole. A further two honorary members were also welcomed into the ALPD fold. The presentations will be made at the lighting dinner to be held at the Park Plaza Hotel, London, in February.
ALPD chair, Johanna Town, said: “It is an extraordinary year for the ALPD, which has followed on from a truly extraordinary period for all of us in the lighting profession, the theatre community and far beyond. It is for this reason that we wish to celebrate and thank our new fellows and highlight the lifetime of work they have given and the opportunities they have created for others.”
The new 2021 fellows include:
Paul Pyant – For his immense contribution to the art of lighting design.
Howard Eaton – For his immense contribution to performance lighting.
Durham Marenghi – For his immense contribution to performance lighting.
Ian Saunders – For his immense contribution made to the Association.
Paule Constable – For her leadership in campaigning on behalf the people who work in Performance lighting.
Les Bone – for his immense contribution to performance lighting at the ROH.
Laurie Clayton – For his immense contribution to performance lighting at the National Theatre
Bryan Raven – For his leadership in campaigning on behalf the people who work in Performance lighting.
Coral Cooper – For creating and supporting opportunities for women in performance lighting.
Anne Valentino – International Fellow of the ALPD – For her immense contribution to the development of programmable lighting control.
Kathy Perkins – International Fellow of the ALPD – For her immense contribution to the art of lighting.
Sarah Rushton Read
In picture: Paul Pyant, Les Bone, Ian Saunders and Paule Constable; Kathy Perkins, Bryan Raven and Coral Cooper.
11th January 2022
Matt Nettlefold Joins Audiologic as Business Manager
UK – Audiologic has announced that after over 20 years at POLAR, Matt Nettlefold, joins the team as business manager.
Matt has over 21 years experience in the AV industry. His career began in plastics and laminates sales, but with a keen interest in music, he moved into the audio industry in 1999, joining Polar Audio (or Beyerdynamic GB as they were known then) as technical support manager. As business development manager, Matt worked closely with the R&D department at Beyerdynamic in Germany on focus groups and product development, as well as being a point man for some key audio product demonstrations (microphones, conference products and loudspeakers and amplifiers) from other manufacturers.
The external business manager role at Audiologic is an exciting opportunity for Matt as he comments: “My key interests lie within the audio field and I am extremely excited to be joining Audiologic, the premier distributor of industry-leading audio products. I have known many of the team for some years and I look forward to bringing my experience to such a professional, driven and respected company to drive business forward into the future.”
Matt joins the existing team of five other business managers and will be responsible for the management and growth of existing business, as well as the acquisition of new customers and will be involved in field-based sales activity, including account management and product demonstrations.
Stuart Leader, senior sales manager concludes: “Matt was such an obvious choice for us for this role, a very knowledgeable and familiar face within the industry, he has a long-standing history with many of our customers. At an exciting period of growth for Audiologic, the external business manager role allows us to split account responsibility across the southern regions of the team to give us as a team more focus, to better serve our ever-increasing customer base.”
10th January 2022
Rigging Team has announced the appointment of Adrian Skelton
UK – Independent rigging specialists, Rigging Team has announce the appointment of Adrian ('Ade') Skelton to the role of project manager at its Stevenage headquarters.
With an extensive career spanning over 25 years working within the live events industry, Ade brings with him a huge amount of expertise. Beginning his career in the world of touring theatre, before gravitating toward the area of specialist rigging projects, Ade has more than 3,000 events under his belt, including numerous high profile engagements, such as the G20 Summit and 2012 Olympics.
Working previously as head of rigging at ExCel London, Ade has built a comprehensive understanding of all areas of the project management remit. Having supported a huge variety of productions, delivering rigging solutions for a broad selection of UK and international clients, Ade’s responsibilities have included the creation of venue technical specification and safe systems of work documentation, as well as O&M manuals, risk assessments and training matrices. A strong communicator, who has managed a diverse range of crews on projects of all size and genre, Ade has forged close working relationships throughout the industry.
Rigging Team director, Adam Searle says: “Ade has amassed a wealth of specialist knowledge, working at the highest level. His management capabilities, hands-on style and thorough technical understanding will be an enormous asset to our team.”
Ade comments: “I’m absolutely delighted to be joining Rigging Team. Their service and support is renowned within our industry, it’s a pleasure to be bringing my own experience to the mix of skills they offer.”
Particularly accomplished in the use of AutoCAD, Ade has been using the package for over two decades. In a fast paced industry known for ‘last minute solutions’, with no room for error, his CAD skills have seen him prepare detailed drawings, in the space of a phone call, which have gone on to become full blown designs.
Ade continues: “As we make the careful transition back to normality, I am really looking forward to working with friends and colleagues as part of Rigging Team. I’m particularly interested in the technical training which the company provides, something that will help create a more secure future for our industry.”
Adam adds: “People are the key factor in everything we do. Ade has experience at all levels, creating safe, practicable solutions and his extensive knowledge of our industry makes him an ideal fit for us, I am absolutely delighted to welcome him as part of Rigging Team.”