USA - The ADJ Group of Companies has announced the appointment of Robert ‘Bob’ Mentele in the new position of vertical market manager with a particular focus on the worship, theatre, TV/broadcast and education markets.
Already a familiar face in the industry, Bob served as the lighting category manager at Full Compass Systems for the past six years. Previously, he was the rentals supervisor at Full Compass and technical director and lighting designer for The Armory Theatre in Janesville, Wisconsin.
“As we continue to grow within the theatrical, worship, broadcast and educational markets, we’re pleased to be welcoming Bob Mentele into our tightknit team in the new role of vertical market manager concentrating on these areas,” comments Toby Velazquez, president of the ADJ Group of Companies.
Following an initial period of induction, which is already underway at the company’s global headquarters in Los Angeles, Bob will work remotely from his home-based office in Madison, WI.
UK - Ambersphere Solutions has announced that Rob Beamer has joined the company as key account manager. Based in Liverpool, he will be representing the Ambersphere portfolio in the North of England.
Beamer has worked in theatre for 14 years before moving into sales 11 years ago, working for Stage Electrics and Sound Technology. He will make his Ambersphere exhibition debut at the upcoming PLASA Show (15-17 September, London Olympia).
“This is a new role created for Rob and will allow us to offer our northern clients a more attentive and personalised service,” says sales director Philip Norfolk. “Rob is professional, knowledgeable, calm and friendly, precisely what our clients appreciate. The whole Ambersphere team is delighted to have someone as exceptionally capable and good fun to join us”.
“I am really excited to have joined Ambersphere. It’s such a perfect fit for me,” Beamer comments. “Ambersphere is a service orientated lighting company who only offer the best products.”
UK - Kent-based stage engineering company Triple E has named Lucy Edelstein as deputy director and appointed Tokyo Velludo Co as its distributor for Japan.
This expansion of Triple E’s international distributor network ties in with the longer term aim to increase worldwide representation across key territories, as well as expanding the company’s sub-contract precision engineering services, an aspect of the business which has been reinforced with the acquisition of Thorley Engineering.
“Lucy has been brought in to carry Triple E forward as myself and Brenda begin to step back from the business,” explains Tripple E’s David Edelstein. “After spending three years working in many different parts of the company Lucy has taken on the role of director, deputising for Brenda and myself when we are not in the office. We are delighted as Lucy has already made significant changes and improvements to our overall infrastructure. Together, we have taken steps to future-proof the business and develop some big ideas for Triple E’s future.”
“A major part of my new role as deputy director is to address business development and the organic growth of our current business whilst also exploring new avenues and potential distributors in new markets, as well as streamlining the business and the way we do things,” says Lucy.
Lucy has also been instrumental in the recent appointment of Tokyo Velludo Co. as Japanese distributor for Triple E. Established over 70 years ago, this Japanese theatre and performing arts supplier has been an end user of Tri
UK - A.C. Special Projects (AC-SP) has expanded its team with the appointment Muraly Kuhan in the role of business development manager.
Kuhan will work closely with AC-SP’s project managers and architectural lighting brand partners - including Traxon/e:cue, CLS, Acclaim and Chroma-Q - to develop and implement new business.
He has extensive architectural lighting sales experience on both the product manufacturer and project specifier sides, encompassing supply through to specification, design and installation.
AC-SP’s managing director Lance Bromhead comments: "I'm delighted to welcome Muraly to our team. With his wealth of architectural lighting product, project management and commercial experience, he will be invaluable in helping A.C. Special Projects to achieve its future growth plans.”
UK - Following the announcement of their partnership with DTS earlier this year, GDS has appointed Hallam Smith as a product manager for the Italian brand.
Hallam will be working exclusively on promoting DTS products to the UK market. With almost a decade of lighting experience behind him, he started out helping with concerts and shows at university, leveraging that into freelance work and eventually a role at Cambridge-based lighting company Pulsar, where he worked in product management and technical sales support, while also gaining valuable experience in lighting design and programming installations.
Smith says: “DTS are already well recognised in Europe and they have some fantastic products. What we want to do is get the word out and to really make DTS products a key part of the lighting industry in the UK. I’m excited to be meeting with lighting designers, architects and hire companies to show them all the incredible products that DTS have to offer.”
DTS new Alchemy 5 LED Fresnel light is up for the PLASA Innovation Award, and as their UK partners, GDS will be showing and demonstrating this product at PLASA 2019 this September.
GDS head of sales James Hall comments: “We have been blown away with the quality of DTS products and have already seen fantastic installations at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest and the Leeds Trinity Shopping Centre in the UK. The innovation at DTS aligns perfectly with our core philosophies to pioneer LED
USA - Elation sale representative companies RL Wilson & Associates and JLH Marketing have hired Grant Geiselman as a product specialist. He will assist both firms with product demos and overall knowledge of all Elation Professional product lines.
Geiselman, who has been involved in the entertainment technology industry since the age of 13, has developed a comprehensive technical skill set that includes lighting design, programming, networking, software development and more. Most recently working as a freelance designer and programmer, he has extensive experience working on lighting and video design projects across Southern California.
USA - Bandit Lites has announced three staff promotions at its Knoxville headquarters.
General manager Giff Swart has been named client representative and production manager. Swart, who has spent over 15 years at the company, will oversee local work at Knoxville, including numerous University of Tennessee events, more than 100 annual philanthropic endeavours and all events at the high-end resort Blackberry Farm.
Brad Hylton has been promoted to facilities manager where he supervises the Knoxville facility and staff. With the Knoxville location recently being transformed into a sales and installation-focused facility, Hylton will be responsible for all aspects of freight, sales inventory, coordination of project preps and the upkeep and organisation of the building.
Also receiving a promotion is lighting technician Alex Becker, who becomes a sales and production assistant. He will coordinate and prep gear for Bandit’s sales projects, ensuring everything that leaves the shop is configured for the most efficient and organised install experience.
These are the latest of a string of appointments and staff changes at Bandit’s Knoxville HQ, which has also welcomed Sharon Draper (controller), Chris Barbee (vice-president of sales) and Roth E
USA - Bandit Lites has announced the appointment of long-time Bandit Roth Edwards to the new position of director of operations. Roth has been at Bandit for 20 years and was most recently director of special operations.
Edwards came to Bandit from Grand Island, Nebraska with a keen understanding of the lighting business, a desire to learn more, and a passion second to none. From that point, Edwards quickly ascended the management ladder at Bandit and now sits in a lead role.
“You could never find a smarter, more dedicated person to have on your team or in the trench with you,” said Bandit chair Michael T. Strickland. “Roth has a relentless quest for knowledge and wants to get it right every time. There is no task he will not tackle, and he will always succeed. To add to that, his vast understanding of lighting technology and computer technology is simply stunning. Roth is a world class person as well, and I am proud to call him a friend.”
As director of operations, Edwards is responsible for all things operationally from a system point of view, in every Bandit facility, including phone systems, VPN, utilities tracking, intercompany communication, freight rates, telecom deals, inventory control and everything in between. The list of operations that a company relies on daily is staggering, and Edwards now oversees all of those for Bandit globally.
Germany - Lawo has announced the expansion of its executive management board. Effective since 15 July 2019, Jamie Dunn serves as Lawo’s chief commercial officer. Phil Myers is appointed chief technology officer. Both are joining CFO and director of the executive board Claudia Nowak, COO Ulrich Schnabl, CSCO Christian Lukic and CEO Philipp Lawo, who is still on medical leave.
“This development reflects the continuous execution of our growth strategy and is a natural step in the evolution of our company’s structure. Building strong partnerships based on staying close and accessible has been a core value of the company since its foundation. My new role recognizes the importance to maintain our customer focus as we continue to grow”, says Jamie Dunn who until recently was serving as global head of sales, a responsibility he still maintains.
“Lawo has continually developed pioneering solutions that create competitive advantages for our customers world-wide. I look forward to driving the company’s technology strategy at board level, and ensuring that our heritage of engineering and manufacturing excellence continues”, says Phil Myers.
Lawo continues to deploy multiple IP-based video and audio infrastructure projects worldwide, with recent enterprise-scale installations at SIC in Portugal, NEP in the United States, CBC in Canada as well as further 4k expansions at NEP Australia’s Andrews Hub.
“We further focus on the execution of our successful business strategy as an independent, 100% privately owned company,” says Claudia Nowak
USA - Bandit Lites, has named long time team member Chris Barbee as vice-president of sales and integration. Barbee started at Bandit nearly 20 years ago and quickly ascended to the leadership team as the national director of sales and installations. Since then, Barbee has led the team for many years.
“Chris is simply one of the most knowledgeable, hardest working people in the industry, period,” says Bandit chair Michael T. Strickland. “There is no way to measure what Chris brings to the table every day, and his leadership is world class. Chris is above all a great person and a lot of fun to work with. The entire sales division is loaded with high quality individuals and Chris has led the development of that team. My hat is off to Chris for his many accomplishments.
“Chris has been operating as the vice president of sales for ages; it is simply time we recognised him for his performance and dedication.”
As the second half of 2019 unfolds, the Bandit Sales team will continue to grow. The Knoxville facility has been revamped to focus solely on sales, and many new hires are in process. A new facility in Charlotte is in process and new hires were made there last month. Chris Barbee will lead the team on the expansion as Bandit moves forward.
USA - Gary Simon is City Theatrical’s new sales specialist focusing on the tristate area. He has 25 years of experience working as a theatre electrician, stagehand, and supervisor with demonstrated success in leading crews and meeting production schedules.
Simon will play a pivotal role in supplying lighting professionals with the electrical and electronic, beam control, hardware, and software solutions that best meet and exceed their needs. He has installed, operated, and maintained lighting, video and audio systems for Jazz at Lincoln Centre and Lincoln Centre Theatre as well as many Broadway productions, concerts, and corporate events.
UK - Audio-Technica has appointed Richard Leadbitter to the role of project specification manager, a newly-created role, to which he moves from the company’s application, training and support department.
The new position reflects the significant growth of Audio-Technica and its distributed brands (Allen & Heath, Apart Audio and Artnovion) in the UK installation market over the last three years. Based at Audio-Technica Ltd’s Leeds office, Leadbitter will be offering site visits, project specification, sales and training to customers in the sector.
Logan Helps, Audio-Technica distributed brands manager, comments: “I’m very pleased to welcome Richard to the new role in the business. He brings to it many years of experience, both in our ATS department and previously on the “other side” of the counter at Pro Audio Centre, so is well-placed to deliver end-to-end solutions - from microphone to speakers and acoustic treatment - to our installation customers across the UK.”
Germany - Sebastian Hayer has joined the dBTechnologies Deutschland team in Cologne as sales and brand manager for RCF. In this role, he will actively support sales, generate leads and expand sales activities together with the marketing and product management departments.
In recent years, Hayer has been employed by Cologne-based provider of musical instruments and equipment Music Store Professional, where he was most recently a product & purchase manager.
“With his many years of experience in purchasing and sales, Sebastian is the perfect choice for the sales & brand manager RCF,” says Arne Deterts, managing director of dBTechnologies Deutschland. “He knows the customers and their needs as good as the sales business, and I am sure that the team will benefit from his experience.”
“I am very pleased that I can contribute my know-how in direct contact with customers at dbTechnologies Germany,” adds Sebastian Hayer. “RCF is both a traditional and innovation-driven company and to take responsibility for their products is a great challenge that is very motivating.”
Germany - Wolfgang Fraissinet, the Neumann president of marketing and finance, will leave the organisation "to pursue new career opportunities in the audio and music industry," Sennheiser has announced.
Fraissinet has been at Neumann since 1990 and has been instrumental in growing the microphone brand's influence in the professional studio market. Until the position has been filled, the Neumann management team will report directly to Sennheiser COO Peter Claussen, who is also president of R&D at Neumann.
“On behalf of the entire executive management board of Sennheiser, I would like to thank Wolfgang for his immense contribution to the company’s success,” comments Claussen. “With his determination and commitment, his wealth of expertise and close ties within the audio industry, Wolfgang has played a vital role in driving the Neumann business forward for almost three decades. His accomplishments include enlarging the studio specialist’s product portfolio and making Neumann a highly desirable brand not only in the studio field. We thank him and wish him all the best in his new endeavors.”
With a solid background in premium brand marketing and an education in classical piano at Berlin Conservatory, business graduate Fraissinet started his career with Neumann in 1990, shortly before the company was acquired by Sennheiser in 1991. During this transitional period, Fraissinet was part of the team that helped to successfully integrate the Neumann business into that of the parent company, with a clear focus on the microphone portfolio.
USA - Michael T. Strickland, Bandit Lites founder and chair, will be the 2020 winner of the Parnelli Visionary Award.
Strickland has now led Bandit for 51 years, having founded the company in 1968 when he was just 12 years old. The award will be presented at the 19th Parnelli Awards on 17 January 2020 at the Anaheim Hilton in California.
“You must remember that in 1968 no one had stage lighting,” Strickland commented, “they all played with the ceiling lights on in a high school gym or National Guard Armory. When we showed up with ‘borrowed’ lekos and Fresnel’s, this was all new to the acts. At the same time, others in New York and LA were also experimenting and doing very psychedelic stuff, but they were adults, and I was a 12-year-old kid.”
Because of his appearance, Strickland notes he was able to bluff his way into situations that a 12-year-old should not have been in. Hiring someone with a driver’s licence was job one, and after that, the rest is history. The original Bandits took off and began illuminating rock shows in a 300- mile radius of Kingsport. On any given weekend, Bandit had borrowed all the lighting equipment from the high school, two junior highs and a theatre or two - hence the name Bandit.
Strickland graduated high school and then took the show on the road to the University of Tennessee where the merry band of pioneers continued lighting shows throughout college. After a degree in business, Strickland went onto UT Law School while simultaneously working as the production manager for the biggest act in the w
UK - ROE Visual Europe has appointed David Morris to lead business development in the UK and Ireland region.
“Having worked in the AV market for several years and with a broad experience in the live events market, Morris is the perfect candidate to support our current client base on the one hand and open up different market segments on the other,” comments ROE’s operations and sales director, Auke Meijer. “For ROE Visual Europe Morris is a good addition to the sales team, which is now covering key countries in the European and Middle East region. We’re happy to have him joining our team.
“Following our continued growth, recently spiked with the introduction of our LED line for fixed installation and AV integrators, an expansion of our sales team was high on the wish list. We like to keep our customer support at 200% and with David located in the UK, we’re able to address client queries directly.”
Morris has worked in the field of major live events throughout the UK and Europe for the past five years, delivering large-scale projects from concept to completion. Prior to entering into the events industry, he spent 10 years in the Royal Air Force as an IT specialist working on a wide array of IT and telecommunication systems.
USA - Bandit Lites has appointed Jesse Poreca to the sales team. Poreca joins the company’s Charlotte office as an installation and service specialist where he will assist in project management, installation and customer support of new theatrical lighting system install projects and renovations along with assisting the sales and installation division to provide existing clients customer service support, service calls and repairs.
“Jesse brings years of permanent AVL installation experience to the team and will immediately lead another crew to service the multiple ongoing projects we have,” said Chris Barbee, Bandit Lites director of sales and installations. “He is a very welcomed addition to an incredibly busy time of growth.”
USA/Europe - L-Acoustics has appointed Greg Kirkland in North America and David Dohrmann in Europe to head the application and installation teams across multiple geographies.
Providing location-based technical support will be central to David Dohrmann’s mission of serving installation markets. Dohrmann holds a Tonmeister sound engineering degree and his experience in the industry spans assignments as sound engineer for artists and performances across all styles, from rock to classical. As technical director for an audio manufacturer, he led a team providing support and training across the APAC region. Based in Hamburg, Germany, Dohrmann will lead application support for all installation projects in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
As the technical reference and ambassador for the fixed installation market in North America, Greg Kirkland will contribute to grow the brand through interaction with key consultants and integrators, in tandem with the Certified Provider Distributor network. With over thirty years of experience in the live and install markets, Kirkland has founded and managed successful consultancies that have completed projects across vertical markets, notably education, hospitality and cruise ships.
Based in the L-Acoustics USA & Canada headquarters in Westlake Village, CA, Kirkland will lead application support for installation projects across North America.
Welcoming Dohrmann and Kirkland to the application team, Cédric Montrezor, executive director of application at L-Acoustics comments: “David and Greg both b
UK - Lighting control manufacturer Zero 88 has announced changes to its dealer management.
Peter Coles joins the team as business development manager for system solutions. He will cover dealer relationships for the Zero 88 brand in the MENA region complementing his existing activities, which have included supporting the MENA architectural lighting control business, developing DMX based control solutions for a wide range of high-profile projects including theme parks and shopping centres.
Tyler Holpin has been appointed as UK & Ireland sales manager for the Zero 88 brand. His new responsibilities will extend to consolidating the recent UK sales channels and discount structure reorganisation, continuing the roll-out of Zero 88 console training nationwide, and developing the Zero 88 project sales focus as the company continues to explore and develop larger project opportunities.
Holpin has been an integral part of the Zero 88 team for six years, looking after both international sales and key UK accounts. Most recently, he has been building Zero 88’s international sales presence in the Far East and Pan Pacific, landing significant business in both Japan and Australia.
Meanwhile, Edward Smith has recently accepted the position of product specialist. Smith has been around on trade shows and out in the field during 2017/18 whilst completing his third-year work placement at Zero 88 Cwmbran, part of a BSc (Hons) in Lighting Design and Technology at the University of South Wales.
Commenting on the appointments, David Catterall, general man
UK - Prolight Concepts Group has announced the appointment of Jeff Davenport area sales manager. Davenport will represent the company in the north of the UK including Scotland. He was previously employed as a business development manager for Hawthorn and as a UK sales manager for EMD Music.
He comments: “It's a pleasure to now be representing the fastest growing supplier to the UKs event and install industry. With so many event ready products available next day from their huge stock holding, Prolight is a really exciting company to know for every size of business.”
South Africa - DWR Distribution and the SOS charity fund are asking for help to fund treatment for Landy Yeatman from Johannesburg-based event technical solutions provider Pristine Moods Productions.
Yeatman, 44, is a single mother with two daughters. She has been fighting stage 3B breast cancer and has now exceeded her medical aid limit, with a large number of outstanding bills to pay.
The SOS has contributed R25,000 towards her fundraising campaign, but Landy will need furthers assistance.
Read her story on BackaBuddy, where you can also make a donation.
USA - The ADJ Group of Companies has announced the appointment of Charlotte Wester as its new tradeshow manager. Based out of the group’s Los Angeles HQ, she will be responsible for organisation of the company’s stands at the numerous tradeshows at which it exhibits each year, representing its brands including Elation Professional, ADJ Lighting, Acclaim Lighting, Global Truss America and Avante Audio.
After graduating with a BFA in Lighting Design, Wester moved to California to work for Stage-Tech as a project manager, draftsman and account manager. During this time she expanded her knowledge and experience working on projects with production companies including Live Nation, Trevanna Entertainment and Michael Levitt Productions.
“Tradeshows are very important not only for staying in touch with our existing customer base and showcasing our new products, but also for introducing our brands to new markets,” comments Toby Velazquez, president of the ADJ Group of Companies. “The role of trade show manager is therefore vital for ensuring our continued growth and success, which is why I am very pleased that we have been able to find the ideal candidate for the job. With a strong background in the lighting industry as well as practical project management experience, I am confident that Charlotte will soon become an integral member of our close-knit, professional and passionate staff.”
“This is a great group of companies and I am very excited to be a part of it,” adds Wester. “I am looking forward to getting to know and working alongside th
USA - Sharon Draper has joined the corporate team at Bandit Lites as controller, overseeing all aspects of the accounting systems while developing and maintaining accounting policies and procedures.
Working out of Bandit’s world headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee, Draper brings more than 40 years of experience in accounting and administration to Bandit’s financial team.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Draper has worked as the vice president of finance for Atmospheric Glow Technologies and as the chief financial officer of Container Technologies Industries. She returns to Bandit’s team after an eight-year hiatus, where she had been the financial reporting manager for five years.
“I am so delighted to be back at Bandit Lites,” says Draper. “The energy and enthusiasm around this place is contagious and it’s an exciting time to be back in the entertainment lighting industry.”
“We are all extremely excited to have Sharon re-join Bandit during such an exciting growth phase,” says Bandit Lites chair, Michael T. Strickland. “Apart from being a world class accountant, Sharon is first and foremost a phenomenal person, a trait very much needed in business.”
UK - To keep pace with the growing demand for its products in the UK, Chauvet has expanded its team by appointing Shaun Robertshaw and Ritchie Reed as business development managers.
The duo will be responsible for the Chauvet Professional, Chauvet DJ and ChamSys lines in the in Midlands and South markets.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Shaun and Ritchie to the team,” says Matt Hallard, Chauvet’s UK sales manager. “Both are well known and well respected throughout our industry. Shaun and Ritchie have a wealth of insights and experience that will enable us to better serve our customers during this period of unprecedented growth across the industry by our family of brands.”
Robertshaw has been involved in the entertainment lighting industry for over 25 years, most recently as sales manager at Vari-Lite and Strand Lighting for the UK. Earlier in his career, he was an area sales manager for Chauvet. “I’m very happy to be re-joining the Chauvet team at such an exciting time for the company,” he says.
Reed, a 30-year industry veteran, comes to Chauvet after successfully filling positions at Selecon Lighting, Martin and most recently Minuit Une. “I’m ecstatic to be joining Chauvet,” he says. “The broad product range has many great fixtures that I am looking forward to representing.”