USA - Bandit Lites has announced that long-time team member Stephanie McSpadden will be taking on a new role as a sales support manager. Her new duties will include overseeing sales invoicing, administrative support of inventory, sales project management within accounting, tax reporting, fixed asset reporting, revenue recognition and project administration.
“All these functions occur as Stephanie is seated in a position between sales and accounting,” comments Bandit Lites chair and founder Michael T. Strickland. “She is truly a hybrid leader in her functionality.”
McSpadden first joined Bandit in 2007 as the Knoxville office manager, answering phones and assisting each department as needed. She then joined the purchasing department to support inventory management and shipping followed by a move to the sales department.
“I am so very proud of Stephanie, not just for her daily accomplishments at work, but for the phenomenal task of earning an MBA while working and being a wife and mother,” adds Strickland. “Stephanie is part of a transformational team that is and has been leading Bandit to new, higher areas in business.”
Europe - Area Four Industries has announced that Eric Laanstra is the latest expert to join the Rigging Commandos, a group of specialists who present the latest developments happening in the industry.
Laanstra has been product manager at Prolyte for the past 10 years. He states: “I hope I can continue as Prolyte product manager for many years and have lots of fun with my new colleagues at Area Four Industries.”
Rigging Commandos is a group of respected experts who take an in-depth view of topics exciting interest within the industry. They identify closely with riggers and technicians and are constantly looking at ways to increase safety and efficiency at work by offering an extensive range of educative and informative videos that can be watched via A4I.tv on PCs, laptops, and mobile phones anywhere, anytime.
Europe - LED display manufacturer, Absen, has hired Philippe Poppe as its new business development manager for the Benelux region.
Poppe has a strong background in the corporate AV market, having worked at Harman, AMX, and Crestron among others, and will primarily be tasked with helping Absen to build its fixed installation business in the area. In addition, he will work closely with Absen’s local distributors and system integrators (VADs/VAPs) and help develop the company’s regional channel strategy.
Poppe started at Crestron in 2007 and was focussed on the Benelux region as a technical sales manager, before moving away from the tech side of things to work as a sales manager. In 2011, Poppe moved to AMX, which was, in turn, acquired by Harman in 2013.
“At Harman in 2018 I worked internationally in the EMEA region, specialising in the corporate, education, and government verticals,” explains Poppe. “Despite this relatively narrow focus, Harman’s vast distribution network and presence in the rental market taught me a great deal in terms of end user engagement and business development.”
In his new role at Absen, Poppe will use his in-depth knowledge of the Benelux region to effectively manage day-to-day activities with local distributor Van Domburg Partners, as well as building strong relationships with key resellers in the region; particularly those in the retail and corporate sectors.
“The Benelux market sees a lot of investment, given its relatively small geographical size,” Poppe says. “It is a very dense market,
UK - Ollie Searle has joined Stage Electrics as a service engineer working within their busy service department. As part of a team of five service engineers, Ollie will be responsible for visiting customers across the UK, maintaining and repairing a wide range of production lighting audio and video equipment.
Stage Electrics are authorised service centres for ETC, Chauvet, ChamSys, Zero 88, Avolites, Martin Professional, Vari*Lite, Strand, Yamaha, DiGiCo RCF, TecPro, Altair and Swisson brands.
“It is something I have always wanted to do. My degree was in music production and I enjoy fixing things. Both of these go hand in hand with this role,” said Ollie.
Rob Ley, service manager, comments: “Ollie brings with him experience of setting up and operating audio systems in a live sound environment, as well as diagnostic/fault-finding and workshop repair skills. He is customer focused and understands the importance of getting systems/equipment repaired with minimal downtime, making him ideally suited to the role.”
UK - Britannia Row Productions recently offered a work placement to a Year 13 Production Arts student from the BRIT School. Ethan Wells (pictured) joined the audio crew to gain hands-on experience of the 2020 BRIT Awards.
As a long-time rental supplier to the BRIT Awards, Brit Row agreed to select and include a student within their crew, resulting in a fully immersive end to end experience of a high-pressure technical delivery.
Celebrating its 40th year in February, the 2020 BRIT Awards once again hosted the best in British and international pop music, with a series of live performances from the likes of Stormzy, Billie Eilish and Dave, broadcast live to home viewers and also enjoyed by audiences in the venue.
Deploying what was undoubtedly the most complex audio system in over 20 years of partnership, including a dual L-Acoustics PA system with a 3D spatial audio solution with Out Board’s TiMax, Brit Row was also keen to evolve further and support the Brit School’s emerging talent.
To select a student entering into the professional audio industry, Brit Row Directors Nicola Amoruso and Lez Dwight conducted the interviews personally and selected Ethan first-hand. A fully engaging placement - from the very first stages of equipment prep through show prep, configuration, load in and rehearsals - Ethan was also able to take on an assisting role within the crew on show day. Afterwards, the de-rigging and warehouse return operation ensued.
Following the two-week placement, Ethan - who is in the final months of a two-year UAL Level-3 dip
UK - Rob Foster has joined the technical sales team at Stage Electrics. Foster is responsible for developing new business and maintain existing relationship with customers interested in rigging especially Prolyte, Milos and Admiral.
His new role will focus on promoting the Prolyte brand of trussing and staging and a range of associated rigging accessories from Admiral Staging.
USA - The team at Point Source Audio has grown again with three new additions across the education and customer service teams. Joe Cota has joined the manufacturer as customer education specialist while Justin Hall becomes key account manager and Mitchell Ho is named as account manager, Western US.
Cota brings with him a background as a worship pastor and vocalist. “I’m a professional singer and musician by trade so I can relate to many of the challenges our customers face out in the field,” he explains. “I really enjoy the education component of what I do and the ability I have to help customers solve their audio challenges.”
Hall is a seasoned account manager. “I have serviced customers, managed projects, and dealt with international distributors for a great deal of my career,” he reflects. “I enjoy helping people, so the best thing about dealing with my customers here is that I get to provide a solution to a problem they may be experiencing or help them with their needs.”
While this is Ho’s first step into the business out from minor league baseball, he has been around professional audio his entire life. “I have grown up around Point Source and have seen the work and effort that it takes to make the reputation it has today,” he says. “I want to continue building that reputation with every customer I meet by always putting the customers’ needs first.”
“We are delighted to welcome all three of these highly talented individuals into our Point Source Audio family,” adds James Lamb, president at Point Source Aud
UK - PMC owner and chairman Peter Thomas has assumed the role of manager director, following Tim Ireland’s departure from the British loudspeaker manufacturer.
“We would like to thank Tim for his endeavours and wish him well for the future,” he says. “During his two years with PMC, he has overseen some great changes and steered a steady course, keeping our objectives clearly in focus while upholding the values of our brand.
“I am very pleased to be back at the helm and once again be in closer contact with our business partners around the world. It is an exciting time for PMC with the launch of globally significant professional projects and the 25i series hi-fi speakers, and we have plans for several new initiatives that will guarantee we remain at the forefront of the market for innovation, engineering and superb quality.”
Europe - Area Four Industries has created The Rigging Commandos, a rigging & trussing team with a mission to “elevate event engineering & safety practices in the entertainment industry through continuous education programmes”.
Made up of six team members, the Rigging Commandos will use their knowledge and practical experience in a series of rigging & trussing videos, which will be produced throughout the year and released to on Area Four's video channel A4i.tv.
Members of the Rigging Commandos team were chosen not only for their knowledge and experience in entertainment production, but also for their ability to communicate directly with riggers and technicians, says the company.
Eric Porter, British rigging consultant and head Rigging Commando, leads the group. Norbert Tripp, German structural engineer and Area Four Industries’ technical director, takes you to the front line of static calculations, physical truss characteristics and support structure physics that keep you working smarter and safer.
Also in the team are Adam Beaumont, Exe Technology brand manager and seasoned entertainment professional; Will Todd, Tomcat COO; Adrian Forbes, Tomcat/JTE/Area Four Industries America sales & marketing director, and communications specialist David Gore.
USA - The University of Tennessee System honoured Bandit Lies founder and president Michael T. Strickland with The Presidents Council Service Award on 31 January. The President’s Council Awards Dinner was held at the Discovery Park of America in Union City, Tennessee and was attended by several hundred Tennessee alumni from across the country. The UT System is comprised of multiple campuses and locations across the great state of Tennessee.
Strickland was recognised for a lifetime of service and dedication to the entire University of Tennessee System.
“Without the higher education I was afforded in my time at UTK, I would never have been able to achieve at the level that I did,” he says. “It is my mission to enlighten other people, create engagement and involvement with the school, and enable as many other people as possible to have the same education and opportunity that I did. I am truly blessed.”
This recognition comes on the heels of the entertainment industry giving Strickland the Parnelli Lifetime Visionary Award for his distinguished career in the business. Strickland, a pioneer of entertainment lighting, was feted on 17 January in Anaheim, California in front of 800 entertainment executives.
“I am truly humbled and honoured that The University of Tennessee System has recognized me in this way,” concludes Strickland. “It is an honour I will always cherish.”
UK - Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Peter Mumford’s prestigious career, last December saw the ALD host an evening In Conversation with Peter Mumford where he was bestowed with a Fellowship of the Association, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the art of lighting design.
On presenting the award, Lucy Carter commented: “I’ve got a lot to thank Peter for, because 25 years ago when I was a dance and drama student, I didn’t even know about lights in performance and it was watching Peter’s designs for contemporary dance that I suddenly saw this new medium and is essentially why I’m a lighting designer now. I’m sure that Peter is still inspiring us all and inspiring a new generation as well.”
The event to reflect upon his career was held at the National Theatre on the night following his own press night as lighting designer for Three Sisters. Peter’s collaborator and programmer, Victoria Brennan, led an insightful conversation about his work in retrospect across the five decades. Peter’s initial caveat was, “While I don’t like being nostalgic, I think that since it is 50 years since I left the Central School of Art to begin working professionally there is no harm in being reflective.”
He notes: “When you begin you only look forward. Maybe two or three decades in you have to recognise you have a past. At first you reject this, it’s a bit like a mid-life crisis, but then you realise that through that early period of acceleration you have developed a style - a visual continuity however diverse
UK - Television lighting rental specialist Version 2 has announced the appointment of Joe Marter as account manager at its Reading operation.
Marter entered the television industry with Aurora, starting in a technical role which progressed to project management supporting LDs such as Chris Rigby and Gurdip Mahal. Joe passed through the BBC Wood Norton training academy giving him a solid understanding of studio lighting techniques. Marter most recently worked with event lighting company TSL, where he was able to further hone his customer support skills.
As account manager at Version 2, Marter will be liaising with lighting directors, gaffers and production managers to offer support and advice on all aspects of the production process.
Managing director Nick Edwards comments: “Marter has not only a proven in-depth equipment knowledge but he also understands the importance of strong customer support. Having previously worked alongside Marter, it’s a pleasure to be welcoming him to the management team here at Version 2.”
UK - Green Hippo has announced that David March and Ryan Brown are to take on new directorship roles at the company.
Meanwhile, business unit director and former CEO Emma Marlow is to leave the company after almost seven years at the helm. During her stint, Marlow expanded the company’s international operations and oversaw the 2018 acquisition of the company by US-based Spitfire Creative Technologies.
The company says in a statement: “Now that Marlow has successfully overseen the integration of Green Hippo into the Spitfire group of specialist AV brands, she will not be directly replaced. Instead, her responsibilities are being split across new roles shared by staff across the family of companies.”
David March, a 30-year veteran of the entertainment lighting and video market, expands the sales and marketing role he took on last year, with his promotion to sales and marketing director. March will work alongside Ryan Brown, previously product manager, who is now appointed operations and product director. Both will report to Denise Nemchev, president and CEO of Spitfire Creative Technologies, and be based in Green Hippo’s new London office, in Camden.
“I’m thrilled to take on this new role and with Ryan’s help spearhead Green Hippo’s future at such an exciting time,” says March. “This is a landmark year for Green Hippo, as we strengthen our foundations and move into new territories. On behalf of everyone at Green Hippo, I’d like to say a massive thank you to Emma, who has been an inspirational and greatly-respected director
Canada - Frédéric Sujobert has been appointed as general manager of Solotech’s Quebec City office, effective 9 March.
Under the joint leadership of Martin Chouinard, president of the live productions division, Canada, and Philip Giffard, president of the sales and systems integration division, Frédéric Sujobert will supervise operational and sales performance for the Quebec City/Saguenay region. He will also oversee the development of new business opportunities while promoting synergy across the company's two divisions.
Sujobert has held various management positions over the course of his career, notably as vice-president of operations and general manager at Groupe Le Massif.
“Mr Sujobert's versatility, leadership and management skills are clear assets for Solotech. We are eager to leverage his in-depth knowledge of the Quebec City area business community,” says Martin Tremblay, president and CEO of Solotech.
USA - Bandit Lites has hired Nick Brown to provide lighting design and console operation for various productions, including events and Blackberry Farm, a luxury five-star resort.
Brown’s previous experience includes working as the resident lighting designer and technical director foat the University of Tennesseer the Irondale, an Off Broadway theatre in Brooklyn, New York as well as a lighting and video engineer at the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
“I've loved concert lighting ever since I was thirteen years old,” comments Brown. “I knew about Bandit Lites when I was studying theatrical lighting design in college, so I'm very excited to finally be a part of this great team.”
Upcoming events featuring Brown include the University of Tennessee’s Senior Toast, where students are nominated by faculty and staff and invited to attend a dinner in Neyland Stadium, as well as L’Amour du Vin, Knoxville Museum of Art’s annual gala.
UK - Green Hippo has further strengthened its London team by appointing Abi Roberts as project and marketing coordinator.
Roberts joins from the legal world, where her attention to detail and communication skills led to a role liaising, and maintaining relationships, with a range of clients. She is now channelling this experience into managing a range of Green Hippo marketing, including digital and social media, trade shows and providing marketing support for the distribution network.
“I’m thrilled to join such a vibrant company with a clear vision for growth in 2020,” says Roberts. “The AV industry presents an exciting change of direction for my career where I can apply my experience to create some exciting new materials for our customers. I look forward to working with you all in the near future.”
Roberts joins Green Hippo as the company moves its London office to Camden and releases two new products for live entertainment and 3D mapping installations. Roberts will be working closely with Green Hippo’s head of marketing, Mercedes Stevão Boase.
Poland - Shure Incorporated has announced plans to enhance its market development initiatives in Europe with the appointment of Jacek Rusek as integrated systems market development manager for Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.
In this new role based in Warsaw, Rusek will build direct relationships with end customers in the region to better understand their requirements and find solutions that best meet their needs. He will work closely with Shure distributor Polsound to help Shure expand its market growth and position in Poland.
“We are pleased to welcome Jacek to Shure,” commented Rob Smith, senior director, integrated systems sales for Western Europe, at Shure. “His background in video conferencing and unified communications as well as his expertise in sales, product management, business development, and technical training, are very beneficial. Jacek will make significant contributions to support our Market Development activities in Poland and will be a valued member of our team.”
Before joining Shure, Rusek worked for a telecommunications solutions distributor in Poland. His tenure there included management positions in IT, engineering, and business development.
UK - Stage and theatre drapes manufacturer J&C Joel has appointed Lauren Kellett as its new chief financial officer (CFO), replacing Nick Warton, who will leave the business in December after almost four years of service.
Kellett will helm J&C Joel’s Finance and IT department, assuming full responsibility for the company’s finances including planning, reporting and auditing. Working closely alongside the rest of the senior management team, she will support business growth across the world.
James Wheelwright, CEO of J&C Joel added: “On behalf of the company, I would like to welcome Lauren to J&C Joel. Her experience in the finance industry, as well as her knowledge of fabrics is very valuable to our team here at J&C Joel and I have every confidence she will be a great addition to our senior management team. We have expanded significantly in recent years and are currently working on a brand-new catalogue to showcase our innovative products and services to our clients around the world.”
Kellett brings 13 years of experience to the organisation, having worked for some of the biggest names in finance, most recently as director of finance at West Yorkshire-based textiles firm, Camira Fabrics. She was also finance manager for Colliers International (UK) and spent two years within the London Audit team at BDO, a major accounting firm with a global presence.
She comments: “I am delighted to join the team at J&C Joel, the company has such a rich heritage and is well respected within the events industry. The team has
UK - RCF UK has appointed Tom Martin to the role of UK technical sales/support. He will be supporting all RCF dealers south of the M62.
During his career so far, Martin has worked across many sectors, including tour/product management, FOH engineering, corporate production and audio installations, and many large-scale events including The Olympics, The Brits and MTV Awards.
Dean Davoile, UK sales director, comments: “As RCF continues to grow we needed to find someone that was capable of supporting our dealers and demonstrating across all our product ranges. Tom is that person; with his extensive experience in Live, Installed and AV applications, he fits the bill perfectly.”
Martin adds: “I am looking forward to getting my teeth into the RCF product lines and working with some great people, both in the UK and Italy.”
South Africa - DWR Distribution has appointed Andrew ‘Andy’ Pettit in the role of sales and technical support for the Cape Town market. He will be joining Bradley Bruchhausen at DWR’s offices in Milnerton, Cape Town from mid-February.
“I am very excited to be taking on the role of sales and technical support at DWR Cape Town. I believe that the position will present some much-welcomed new challenges and will allow me to grow both personally and professionally,” says Andrew. “I am honoured to be a part of the DWR family and am looking forward to a bright and rewarding journey with the team.”
Andrew is no stranger to the technical entertainment industry. After matriculating, Andrew attended The Cape Audio College where he achieved his Diploma in Audio Technology while working as a freelance technician. Following graduation in 2015, he joined SOLID Group, a well-established production and events planning company.
“I am very pleased to have Andrew join me at DWR’s Cape Town office,” says Bradley Bruchhausen, who currently manages the branch. “Andrew and I have worked together on various projects over the years, and I am confident that he will prove a fantastic addition to the family and fill Jethro’s shoes, who is exploring other opportunities.”
USA - Agnieszka Roginska has begun her term as president of the Audio Engineering Society.
Currently celebrating her 20th year as an AES member, Roginska has served in numerous leadership roles within the Society. Professionally, she currently holds the positions of Professor of Music Technology and the vice-chair of the Music and Performing Arts Professions Department at New York University.
In her role as Professor of Music Technology at the university, Roginska’s work involves conducting research in the simulation and applications of immersive and 3D audio including the capture, analysis and synthesis of auditory environments, auditory displays and applications in augmented acoustic sensing. She is the author of numerous publications about the acoustics and psychoacoustics of immersive audio and auditory displays.
“It is an honour and a privilege to begin my term as president of the Audio Engineering Society - the world’s leading society of audio professionals, creative artists, scientists, educators and students,” Roginska states in her inaugural AES president’s message. “One of my goals in 2020 is to build membership and continue to recognise that we are a diverse community of members - whether you are a student just exploring the world of audio, a young professional entering the workforce and growing in experience, in mid-career maintaining your skills while learning new ones in our rapidly changing industry, or a seasoned professional who wants to give back to the community as a mentor.”
She adds: “I look forward to a
UK - Audiologic has appointed Andy Barnby as business manager. This is a pivotal role built on a strong foundation to support their growing network of customers, which will ensure the highest level of customer service and support is offered.
Andy will be responsible for driving forward Audiologic’s strategy and success in providing technical excellence, conducting demonstrations and taking a true ‘hands-on approach’ to guide projects successfully through to completion, on time and on budget, to the highest standard.
With 30 years’ experience, Andy joins Audiologic from Prolight Concepts, where he was area manager for 14 years representing brands such as eLumen8, Global Truss, PCE, Kuzar, Zenith and Clever Acoustics. This included lighting, staging, truss and rigging, as well as audio. Andy first started his career in audio working at Bose Professional, following this with a range of sales and account management roles with other well-respected brands including Citronic, Cerwin Vega, Numark Alesis and Akai on the audio side.
"The outstanding breadth and depth of Andy's experience is an ideal fit for Audiologic's ambitious vision and company culture," said Dave Smith, senior business manager at Audiologic. "He will bring his broad insight into our team and play an instrumental role in driving forward our strategy into new markets with significant potential for growth."
UK - Hertfordshire-based live events video specialist Pixl Evolution has announced the appointment of Gilles Quentel to the post of warehouse manager. Gilles has enjoyed a successful career in the UK, following the move from his native France more than 25 years ago. With wide experience in the preparation of AV equipment for the touring, corporate and exhibition sectors, he is accustomed to management roles in busy, high-pressure environments.
“I’ve known Gilles a long time and had the pleasure of working with him for a number of years in a previous position,” says managing director Lee Spencer. “His technical AV knowledge is excellent, he has very strong IT skills and his commitment to delivering the highest level of customer service matches the Pixl ethos of going above and beyond. We’re delighted to have secured the services of an exceptional professional.”
Gilles Quentel adds, “I’ve come a long way since working for a small rental company in the south of France in the mid 1980s. My career to date has allowed me to develop a strong skill-set, meet some special people and a gain good understanding of the AV industry.”
USA - With sales on the rise, Mike Hedden, Danley president, has restructured the sales and marketing division to respond to that growth, virtually promoting from within.
Towards the end of 2019, long-time Danley staff member, Jeff Pulliam, was named general manager. At the beginning of 2020, Mike Hedden promoted Jonathan ‘JP’ Parker to director of global sales and marketing. JP will be overseeing the newly-fortified team including newly promoted national sales manager Skip Welch, who will manage the domestic sales team.
This will include Cooper Hedden, promoted to southeast regional sales manager, Jay Andrews (formerly with Lienau AV) promoted to northeast regional sales manager, and Kim Comeaux, (formerly with Anderson Marketing), promoted to western regional sales manager. Additionally, Harold Sexton and Scott Howard have been recruited as sports market & house of worship and recording specialists respectively. Both have extensive experience in these markets.
“We’re pleased to see continued growth in our well-established markets, such as house of worship and sports venues, and to be making significant inroads in other markets, such as live music venues and theatres,” said Hedden. “Tom and his team of engineers even indulged a long-time passion and designed a recording studio monitor system, the Danley Studio 1 and Studio Sub, which positions us for growth in a radically new market. We’ve been fortunate to have a fantastic team guiding our growth and expansion, and I’m not about to shake up that winning formula.”