UK - Audiotonix has promoted general manager Austin Freshwater to managing director of DiGiCo, signalling a new era for long-serving MD James Gordon, who remains Audiotonix CEO.
Audiotonix oversees entertainment technology brands Allen & Heath, Calrec, DiGiGrid, Group One Limited, KLANG:technologies, Solid State Logic, and newly acquired Sound Devices LLC, as well as DiGiCo.
“We were talking about Austin moving into the MD position just before COVID-19 hit, by which time it didn’t feel right for me to run off into the hills,” comments Gordon. “I don't think it would have sent the right message to our customers and teams.”
“In March 2020, everyone went into ‘serious concern’ mode,” he adds. “We’ve basically spent this time reassuring people within the company who aren’t used to not hitting their numbers that we’re all in it together.
“We’ve also spent a lot of time helping our end users, the DiGiCo sound engineers, because they’ve been miles away from their ‘on the road’ family and their usual support groups haven’t been there in person. Seeing how well Austin has led the team during this time has been exceptional. It’s really shown everyone that he’s more than capable.”
It was the first six months of ‘going dark’ that presented the toughest test says Freshwater. “We were in the office most days trying to keep in touch with everybody and keep them genuinely motivated,” he says. “Just checking in on everyone regularly and letting them know we were still around was vital. It’s been
UK - The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) has announced Mig Burgess Walsh and David Evans as co-chairs. The duo will succeed Richard Bunn, senior consultant at Arup, who navigated the ABTT during the pandemic period.
Walsh is lighting tutor at the Guildford School of Acting, chair of AAPTLE Wellbeing Group, and an active freelancer. Evans is the head of production at National Theatre Wales, former chair of the Production Managers’ Forum and a founding production manager and board member of the Lagos Theatre Festival.
The ABTT says: “The combination of Mig and David’s extensive background in the performing arts, encompassing teaching, touring, programming, production and venue management, alongside their ongoing commitment to improve our industry make them ideally-qualified to lead the ABTT’s council of management over the next two years.
“All at the ABTT would like to extend their heartfelt thanks, recognising Richard's hard work and commitment during very challenging times.”
Commenting on her role, Burgess Walsh says: “I am so pleased to begin this prestigious role with the ABTT. A role to which, quite frankly, I never thought I would ever be able to aspire given my mental health diagnosis. With David by my side as co-chair, I shall have tremendous support if and when I should need it. In fact, appointing co-chairs brings many inclusive and wellbeing advantages, we are each able to support one another, dividing the workload and bringing both our unique perspectives.”
Evans adds: “The ABTT is an organ
UK - Stage One Creative Services has announced a partnership with automation specialist Mark Ager, who will take an associate consultant role. The partnership is intended to elevate Stage One’s automation capabilities
Known for designing some of the first modern automation systems, Ager’s expertise has seen him play a key role in the engineering development of the innovative Bridge Theatre, London, and establish one of the foremost suppliers of live entertainment automation systems, Stage Technologies. In 2009 he and co-author John Hastie published Automation in the Entertainment Industry: A User's Guide.
Mark Ager comments: “I’m honoured and excited to be supporting Stage One. Mark, Tim, and Karl have built an incredible team that delivers world class projects! I really am looking forward to being part of the adventure.”
Managing director at Stage One Creative Services, Tim Leigh, adds: “In the world of automation there are few individuals who are as experienced as Mark. I’m delighted to have him on our team and excited about the opportunities this will bring.”
USA - PRG has made two senior appointments. Stephan Paridaen (pictured, right) has been named CEO. He currently holds the role of president & COO at PRG, leading its operations in EMEA & APAC since 2010, and will step into his new position from 3 January 2022.
PRG has also appointed Jeremiah J. (Jere) Harris (left) as the company’s executive chairman and CCO.
“There’s no one better prepared and able to lead the company than Stephan Paridaen,” Harris said. “Since arriving at PRG 12 years ago, he has demonstrated an exceptional passion for our mission and has focused on the continual growth of our business in the EMEA and APAC regions, while improving our operations and expanding our offerings.”
As executive chairman & chief creative officer, Harris will work with and support Paridaen and the leadership team. Harris felt that the timing was right for the CEO transition. He said, “We are at an inflection point for the company, the industry and indeed the world. After leading the company through the most difficult period in our history, we are now on solid footing. There is still much work to do, and I am confident in Stephan’s ability to realize the tremendous opportunity ahead.”
Speaking on behalf of the PRG Board of Directors, Lauren Krueger, managing director, KKR, said, “We thank Jere for his exceptional leadership of PRG and look forward to his contributions in his new roles. We are confident that Stephan brings the strategic vision and operational focus needed to accelerate growth and profitability at PRG.
Spain - Pixotope has appointed Sergio Cardenas as their regional sales manager for Southern Europe.
A specialist in real-time graphics, virtual studios, and virtual reality solutions, Sergio’s previous experience includes roles at companies such as Orad Hi-Tech Systems and Avid Technology.
Sergio comments, “Pixotope’s ground-breaking mixed reality and virtual production solutions are leading the market, and I’m really excited to help drive this moment of growth. I’ve been following their technology for a while now and look forward to being part of a team that is pioneering virtual production, providing broadcasters with the tools needed to deliver the most demanding live productions in the world.”
This new hire aligns with Pixotope’s growth plans for 2022, which include a number of projects in Southern Europe.
UK - Last month, Sonosphere started the next chapter in its journey to bring all areas of immersive audio to the live, studio and broadcast markets by completing a management buyout which sees existing director, Jamie Gosney, joined by Duncan Bell, a familiar name in the audio industry.
Sonosphere’s mission has always been to make immersive audio accessible to the industry at large. Over the past 18 months it has been part of the 5G Festival (part of the DCMS 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme (5GTT). This project aims to utilise the 5G network to revolutionise the live music industry, creating new commercial opportunities for arts and entertainment, and giving artists and audiences new ways to interact with each other.
“I became a shareholder and director of Sonosphere last year and I could see the huge potential the company had,” says Gosney. “When the opportunity to take over the ownership was presented, I knew that it was too good to miss. But I needed to have the right team in place to take it forward and make the most of all the opportunities that are presenting themselves.”
Gosney and Bell have decades of experience in the audio industry, and first met when Gosney was working as front of house engineer on a show for Autograph in the mid 80s. Whilst Gosney left the show and went on to forge a successful career as a studio owner, mix engineer and audio systems designer, Bell stayed with Autograph, working his way up the ranks to the position of group financial director, a position he held for over 20 years.
Having been an instrume
UK - Theatreplan has welcomed five new members of staff, just prior to and during the pandemic, to assist the company in meeting the demands of current and future projects.
Andy Josephs joined Theatreplan at the end of 2019 from the Bridge Theatre where he had been head of sound, and part of the small technical team that created and opened the theatre in 2017. Prior to this Andy worked as a sound technician at London's Almeida Theatre, Young Vic Theatre, and the St James Theatre, London. Since joining Theatreplan, Andy has been engaged on designing and specifying sound systems for a large school theatre in China and is also an integral part of the team working on the major upgrading project at Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.
Peter Crockett joined Theatreplan as junior stage engineer in summer 2021. Peter graduated in 2019 with an MEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bristol. He subsequently worked with the Cotswold Canals Trust and was involved in Project Velocity Research Lab at the University of Bristol, which is researching into optimisation of chain drives for the British Olympic Cycling Team.
Andrea Sinigaglia and Anthony Grieveson both joined in 2020 to further deepen the BIM expertise within the company. Both had significant experience working for commercial architecture practices, but also had an abiding interest in theatre design. Anthony graduated in Architecture from Liverpool University and his MA dissertation focused on auditorium acoustics. Andrea studied architecture at Universita’ di Firenze and a Master’s degre
UK - Scotland-based event production and site management specialists, Rogue City Productions has appointed Graham MacIntyre as business development manager.
Graham has consulted on and managed projects across the UK including Edinburgh Hogmanay, Mela Festival and Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park, as well as developing growth with international live production suppliers. Graham is known for his ability to build strong relationships and drive strategic growth.
Director of Rogue City Productions, Shane Grieve states: “We are very excited Graham has joined our growing team. He brings with him vast knowledge and experience of the live event industry across the country. I’m confident his positive attitude and can-do approach will work well with our existing and new clients.”
UK - Event and brand logistics specialist Global Infusion Group has announced a change in its leadership. Bonnie May, previously GIG’s global operations director, takes on the role of CEO and Richard Duff joins the company as managing director as the business emerges from the pandemic.
Whilst continuing to lead the day-to-day operations of GIG and maintaining her hands on approach with clients, in her new role as CEO, Bonnie will shape the group’s strategy and vision. Rich, as managing director will be responsible for its implementation and lead all business functions including sales, finance and human resources.
Richard’s career spans sales, marketing and operational leadership roles within the FMCG, consumer electronics and homeware sectors. Over the last few years his focus has turned to the hospitality sector, and in his most recent role he was CEO of hotel technology firm Navarino Services.
Commenting on his appointment, Richard Duff said: “At the heart of Global Infusion Group ethos is a desire to make things happen and put smiles on people’s faces. They’re both things that I enjoy and honestly, who wouldn’t want to join a company that has been successfully delivering those things for the best part of 40 years?”
Bonnie May, CEO of Global Infusion Group adds: “Adding a managing director of Richard’s calibre and having his experience within both FMCG and hospitality puts us in an excellent position for driving the business forward. Like everyone, we’ve been in survival mode throughout the pandemic, and had our own ch
Canada - Solotech has appointed Nicolas 'Nico' Labbé as senior technical specialist (business development). Joining the company's Montreal Live Productions team, he will liaise with the Live Productions Division to offer clients the services they require and aid in the development of new business opportunities.
Over the last 35 years, Labbé worked as a lighting designer with the biggest names in the music industry, such as Charles Aznavour, Véronique DiCaire, Garou, Lara Fabian and Roch Voisine. He is also well known and respected in television, where he served as director and designer of photography on multiple live show recordings.
Solotech says Labbé will also play a crucial role as an ambassador of the company’s multiple technological solutions and his lighting and video expertise will help the team to better support Canadian designers.
Solotech says in a statement: "His know-how and unique approach will contribute to the development of new business opportunities. The entire Solotech team wishes him a warm welcome and much success in his new position."
UK - Pharos Architectural Controls has further strengthened its senior team with the appointment of Simon Hicks to director of product & marketing, and the promotion of Tim Edwards to director of operations.
As director of product & marketing, Simon Hicks will have responsibility for the Pharos product development strategy, while leading the product management team.
Hicks has worked for Pharos both directly and indirectly - with Pharos’ partner brands - since 2006. Having originally been employed in software development for Carallon, he moved to Pharos as the technical director in 2012 - a position he held for a number of years. Most recently, he led the team developing Pharos Cloud under the SixEye brand, before once again becoming part of the senior Pharos team.
Hicks comments: “This is a very exciting time to be taking on this new role as Pharos prepares to bring some innovative products to market. These have been our main development focus for some time and I will be working to ensure they deliver on their potential.
Tim Edwards, a well-recognised name at Pharos, is stepping up to become the new director of operations. In this role, Edwards will focus on a number of areas including customer service, after-sales support, order fulfilment and procurement processes.
Speaking of his latest responsibilities, Edwards said: “As the company grows, I’m delighted to continue my Pharos journey in this newly created role. It is an exciting development both professionally and personally and I look forward to helping the busin
UAE - Creative Technology Middle East (CTME) has announced further senior appointments.
Chad Smith is named project manager in the live events division. He has over 11 years of experience throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia. Projects he has worked on include as Diriyah Season, World Air Games, Amway ALS & NPF Business Forum in Singapore, UAE National Day and many globally broadcast sporting events to take place in Saudi Arabia.
Nick Fenton has joined CTME as an AV project manager with over seven years of experience in the live events industry across the Middle East and South Africa. Over the years, he has worked on various large-scale projects, such as Jazz Fest, Red Fest, Arab Hope Makers, World Economic Summit, Dubai Rugby Sevens and Atlantis New Years Eve events.
Sam Connolly has been appointed head of lighting for the Middle East region. His portfolio includes the Special Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremony, AD Diriyah Inauguration, Burj Khalifa New Year’s Eve celebrations, Commemoration Day and multiple concerts and live event spectaculars.
USA - Ayrton continues to expand its international designer relations and sales teams with the appointment of Brian Dowd as its new designer relationship manager for North America. The new role takes effect from 1 October 2021.
Dowd brings to Ayrton nearly 45 years of experience across almost every aspect of the lighting industry, from production and rental to distribution, sales and leadership roles in a variety of companies. His new role will see him work with lighting designers, specifiers and key production contacts to excite and develop the market for Ayrton, supporting the work of Ayrton’s North American distributor, ACT Entertainment.
“I am thrilled by the opportunity to join the Ayrton team,” states Dowd. “I have always felt that Ayrton designs and produces the highest quality automated fixtures in the world. It will be an honour to help grow the brand. The years I have spent nurturing relationships will be well-served, and developing new ones will be exciting. I have known many of the Ayrton team for a long time so it will feel like home right away.”
“Brian’s previous experience with Ayrton from his time at ACT Lighting means he knows the product well and understands the Ayrton philosophy,” says Michael Althaus, Ayrton’s global sales director. “His work with major US companies has enabled him to develop a breadth and depth of understanding of designers, their needs and the market, which is important to us.
“While we are very excited to welcome Brian back on board in this new role, we are also very grateful for e
UK - Ashford-based Lighting Effects Distribution (LED Limited) has announced the appointment of Nick Terrell as senior sales associate.
With over 25 years of experience in professional lighting, Terrell says: “The chance to be involved with a high-profile distributor & manufacturer with superb range of professional lights is a dream come true”.
“We are very excited to welcome Nick to our team”, states LED Limited CEO, Ian Kirby. “This is the third time we have worked together; the first time was at Roger Squires London back in the late 80’s, then in 1998 Nick joined the team I was managing at Martin Professional UK, so it's great to be working with him again in a similar role. Nick joins other old Martin colleagues here such as Clive Bailey and Stuart Thompson. Nick is renowned in the industry as being very customer focused, something that very much aligns with our values at LED Limited.”
USA - Chauvet Professional has appointed Scott Laurentz to its management team. Formerly with The Lighting Design Group in New York, Laurentz joins Chauvet as product resource manager for broadcast lighting.
In his new position, Laurentz will draw on his extensive global experience working on lighting projects to provide the Chauvet Professional and Kino Flo product development team with strategic input. He will also be involved in building customer relations and conducting training related to broadcast, studio, and film lighting.
“This position is part our product resource group focused on customer-focused product innovations and applications,” says Albert Chauvet, CEO of Chauvet. “Adding Scott’s expertise to the Chauvet Professional and Kino Flo brands will drive our ability to provide a full range of solutions for this market. In Scott, we not only have someone who has valuable insights into this market, but also shares our company’s vision of following a philosophy based on customer first.”
“The experience I’ve had with Chauvet Professional and its people in the past has been very positive,” says Laurentz. “The company is demonstrating the understanding of this market by fueling development that is only strengthened by the addition of Kino Flo. The future is very bright, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”
Norway - Pixotope has added three names to its senior global leadership team.
Ben Davenport joins Pixotope as VP for global marketing, taking charge of Pixotope’s international communications strategy. Ben has established a 20-year career in B2B marketing for the technology, media, and entertainment industries, heading up leadership positions at AmberFin, Dalet Digital Media Systems, and most recently, working as head of portfolio & marketing strategy for Vidispine at Arvato Systems.
After seven years as enterprise account manager at Avid, David Cheng has been appointed as VP sales & marketing EMEA at Pixotope. In his role at Avid, David focused on the sales of Avid video solutions, connecting and coordinating with some of the biggest international media companies, such as Viacom, Comcast, and Discovery.
Travis Sims has become Pixotope’s strategic account manager for North America, drawing from a 15-year professional history working at technology companies, including RED Digital Cinema, Atomos, and Creative Solutions. Most recently, Travis held the position of director of product for live production with Teradek, overseeing the development of several major products within the broadcast and streaming market.
USA - Solotech has announced a new leadership structure in the US in response to the company’s growth. The past two years have seen Solotech acquire Pro Sound & Video, SEAL, Miami StageCraft, and PSSL.
“Our systems integration expertise has been taken to new heights and our footprint in the United States has been significantly strengthened,” explains Philip Giffard, global president, sales and systems integration division. “With our solid positioning, the time has come to take another important step and consolidate our strengths to ensure succession in a context of undeniable growth”.
David Shoemaker is appointed president, sales and systems integration, US. Reporting to Giffard, Shoemaker has primary responsibility for profitability and growth. David is also responsible for defining Solotech's business strategy in concert with Kelly Prince, chief technology officer. He serves as a member of the Division’s global management team and collaborates on major transactions and new strategic business initiatives. After more than 15 years at Pro Sound & Video, he is a well-recognised audio design specialist.
Kelly Prince is appointed chief technology officer, sales and systems integration, US. Prince is responsible for the overall technical expertise and the development of solutions that suit the needs of clients. Also reporting to Philip Giffard, Prince ensures the deployment of all design and engineering services and oversees strategic procurement for the Division in the US, collaborating with the strategic sourcing team in Canada.
UK - Polar 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.
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.”
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.
“This is a fantastic and hugely exciting chance to work directly with one of the world’s leading entertainment LED lighting manufacturers,” stated 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.
“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 says.
Astera’s 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.”
USA - SmartLabs has announced that Rick Sailor has joined the company as VP for business development North America & Canada.
Gary Hamer, SmartLabs global SVP for sales and business development, says: “Service providers are facing some difficult challenges now about the best way to provide video; how to package channels and maintain costly equipment. At SmartLabs, we can help local providers address some of those challenges in a profitable way that gives them a competitive edge, thanks to our global experience. We’re delighted that Rick has joined us to lead our US and Canadian expansion at this pivotal time.”
Rick Sailor adds: “The opportunity to lead the roll-out of SmartLabs to the US and Canadian markets was too good to miss. The company has been in the business since it was in its infancy and has such a good track record in multiple countries, operating on multiple devices, deploying solutions in managed and unmanaged IP, Hybrid DVB+ IP and mobile networks.”
UK - The family of Mike Jarvis, lighting designer and projects manager, are sad to report that Mike passed away 9 August 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. 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. 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. 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
UK - Optimal Audio has announced the appointment of Raf Willems as head of sales and channel marketing EMEA.
Willems' 20-year career in the industry began in residential audio sales in his native Belgium, before a move into the commercial audio sector with Apart Audio where he progressed through a variety of roles to become sales and marketing director. Following Biamp’s acquisition of Apart, Willems became head of business development for Europe with additional responsibility for managing Biamp’s retail and hospitality team.
“It’s so rare in our industry to get the chance to be involved in developing a new brand from its inception,” says Willems. “I’m passionate about commercial audio so I honestly consider this to be something of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Everything I’ve seen and understood about the launch of Optimal Audio indicates that the company has got its approach to commercial audio right from day one by addressing exactly what the market needs.”
Bradley Watson, sales director at Optimal Audio, adds: “We’re delighted to have secured Raf’s services. He joins us with a proven record of success and a clear enthusiasm for the task at hand.”
France - Ayrton has appointed Fabian de Brücker to its 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.”
UK - Bradford-based Pro Audio Systems has announced the recruitment of Chris Beardwell to the post of video and lighting sales.
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 graduated in Media Production from Lincoln University, Chris joined Luminar Leisure (now Rekom UK) 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.
In 2014, Chris joined AC Entertainment Technologies as a technical video sales executive. During his seven years at the company, Chris developed strong relationships with suppliers and customers, providing sales, technical and after-sales support
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.”