Al Ridella has joined automated lighting manufacturer High End Systems in the role of Northeast Region Sales Manager, and is now based in High End's New York City office. The industry veteran's resume includes years of experience at a number of familiar companies. Most recently he was production coordinator at Fourth Phase New Jersey. His career began straight out of college with Strand. From there he moved to Vanco as head of electronics, then to Bash Theatrical where he handled systems sales. That led to a rental coordinatorjob at Production Arts, then finally to PRG (whose name changed to Fourth Phase while he was there). "High End Systems is a good company," Ridella says. "They take care of their people and customers, and they make good products. I look forward to working with High End's authorized resellers in the Northeast territory."
Steve Terry, president of the Fourth Phase Systems Group, will leave the company on May 25th. Terry, one of the original owners of Production Arts, which was acquired by PRG in June 1998, is departing to assume the role of vice-president of professional services at Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC). In that role, he will be able to utilize his skills and experience on a much more diverse range of projects and will work closely with Bill McGivern, director of systems, and Sarah Spencer, director of technical services, to further strengthen ETC's industry-leading position in those areas.
Industry veteran Bill Groener will become the Northeast Regional VP for the PRG companies and will assume responsibility for lighting and audio rentals, large format projection (rentals and sales) and all permanent installation projects. Groener has been with PRG since 1998 and brings extensive experience from his prior roles with Disney, Strand and Barbizon over and above his recent efforts as vice-president of the Fourth Phase Systems Group. http://www.fourthphase.com
Industry veteran Fred Bentham died on Thursday 10 May at the age of 90. Though his career was long and distinguished, he will probably be remembered most for his ground-breaking work on the Strand Light Console which he designed to run a light show at the 1932 Ideal Home Exhibition. Unlike the control desks of today, the desk was designed to be 'played' like a piano. The funeral will take place on Thursday 24th May.
Frances Thompson has announced that she is leaving the US-based production industry web venture, Shoptick.com. Launched last year, Shoptick.com offers ‘e-business for show business’ with production resources including online inventory tracking and project management, product and manufacturer listings and crew resources. Thompson, who previously worked for US truss manufacturer Tomcat, was responsible for marketing at Shoptick.com. She told PLASA Media that Shoptick.com was in the process of downsizing in order to concentrate heavily on product development. The company’s Kansas City staff will now handle marketing as well as continuing to provide the level of service already established.
AVW Controls has announced that Mark Brown, who joined the company as general manager in February 1999, has been appointed a director of the company. Born in Suffolk in 1964, Mark has worked in many engineering control disciplines including cranes and truck auto-electrics and in his new role will control the operations side of AVW, from the initial purchasing and manufacturing stage through to installation and commissioning, often to very tight schedules. Brown will also be responsible for the inspection and testing of equipment prior to delivery for a variety of projects, ranging from small pile wind hoists and revolves to much larger orchestra elevators, safety and house curtains and powered flying systems. "The projects we undertake at AVW are diverse, with recent projects I've worked on including the Thessalonika Concert Hall and Royal Theatre in Greece, as well as the Glyndebourne Opera House - I'm both excited and flattered at being invited to be an integral part of AVW, which is a relatively young, but growing, company," he commented.
MCL, the new AV staging services company set up by Avesco plc, has announced a major consolidation of its lighting department, which will enable it to offer sophisticated high-quality solutions on a par with investments already made in video, sound and staging. The highly experienced Nick Whitehead had been recruited to develop MCL London’s lighting inventory and create a support infrastructure. Nick was previously managing director of Lighting Unlimited, establishing the company on behalf of Gearhouse Group plc. His experience in lighting ranges from theatre work for the London Fringe, National Theatre and Orchard, to high-end design for corporate presentations. He said: "Alongside our established rental staging fleet, MCL’s investment in leading-edge equipment will enable us to meet a wide range of lighting requirements - from simple lamp kits for conference solutions to a full multi-truss moving and conventional light rigs."
The Christie Lites group of companies has announced the addition of Ian Gordon, formerly of Westsun International Inc, to the Christie Lites team. Gordon brings to Christie Lites 15 years’ experience servicing the concert industry in North America and Europe and will be working from the Christie Lites Vancouver office. "I’m extremely excited about the opportunity Christie Lites provides for myself and my family. The owner/operator business structure, combined with quality equipment and multiple offices throughout North America provide me with the desirable tools to service today’s concert marketplace. I have admired Christie Lites as competitors and look forward to being part of their team," says Gordon.
Moving from an office-based position at Lighting Technology’s headquarters at Park Royal, London, Jerry Merrifield has been appointed to take care of field sales for the South West of England. Field sales manager Rob Williamson said: "Jerry is a tremendous addition to the field sales team. With his knowledge, enthusiasm and drive, he is bound to develop new and existing business in the South West. He is a character well known to suppliers and customers alike." Jerry Merrifield commented: "After 10 years with LTG this is an opportunity and a challenge I needed. The growth during my time with the company has been staggering and the move gives me the opportunity to contribute to the future expansion of Lighting Technology’s business in the South West."
Malcolm Davis, Zero 88’s UK sales manager, has decided to leave the company for pastures new! In the two and a half years Davis has been with the company, he has become a familiar face to its UK dealers. Before joining Zero 88, he worked for a number of years developing overseas markets and has decided to put that knowledge to use in European markets, although he is staying within the lighting industry. Lorna Parsons will take over his responsibilities in the UK, with Graham Eales and Tim Burt providing back up.
Richard Wear, formerly director and general manager of Celestion International Ltd, has announced his departure from the company, to pursue other professional and personal interests. At the company headquarters in Ipswich, Frank DiGirolamo takes over executive responsibility for the Professional Systems Division. He is currently Deputy CEO of KH Industries (UK) Ltd, and has extensive experience of both the consumer and professional audio business, as a senior executive at Harman International, and also chief operating officer of Intellisys Inc in the USA. DiGirolamo first became involved with Celestion as managing director of its sister company KEF, in the early nineties. His return to the UK just over two years ago signalled a change in the success of both the KEF and Celestion consumer brands. Speaking on behalf of Celestion, DiGirolamo said: "The company would like to thank Richard for his valuable service in driving Celestion forward to become a force to be reckoned with in the pro audio sector, and we wish him every success in his future endeavours."
PLASA Media understands that marketing communications manager Sonia Calver has also left the company.
Ian Gordon, formerly with Westsun International Inc, has joined the team at Christie Lites in Vancouver. Gordon, a touring industry veteran, takes with him 15 years experience servicing the concert industry in North America and Europe. Established in 1985, Christie Lites is an owner-operated organization which focuses on the stage lighting market. With offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Dallas, and Orlando - it provides full service rentals to the concert, corporate, theatrical and educational sectors, as well as extensive sales support for manufacturers including Martin, MA, ETC, Robert Juliat and Spectrum Manufacturing.
Bandit Lites has announced new additions to its staff at its world headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee. Jim Guinn has been named director of computer resources globally at Bandit Lites. Guinn joins the company from Techmer PM where he was a team leader within the Information Services Department. Nathaniel Dawson has been named Shipping and Receiving Specialist. Prior to Bandit Lites, he specialized in theater at Las Vegas Academy.
Lightfactor’s sales team continues to expand with the addition of Scott Callis, who joins as product manager for the Italian-made SGM range of lighting equipment. Callis will initially be undertaking an intensive 14-week UK promotional tour for Lightfactor, highlighting and demonstrating the many advantages of the complete range of SGM products including the new Giotto 250 Spot. This method of product exposure enables direct communication with end-users to heighten product awareness and potential, and allows Lightfactor to continue developing and improving its after-sales and customer service. Callis’ road show will be targeting specially selected rental companies, theatres, AV specialists, installers and venues covering a broad cross-section of the leisure and entertainment industry.
Callis has worked in the moving light business for the past six years, including as a founding member of one of the UK’s leading manufacturers - MAD Lighting. He’s also had extensive experience of working with High End Systems equipment, for which Lightfactor is UK distributor. His previous working experience with moving light technology has seen him embrace a variety of roles including production, export sales and sales and marketing. His knowledge of this specialist field and enthusiasm for the lighting production and performance industry is obviously seen as an invaluable asset to Lightfactor.
A number of management changes have been announced within the Avesco group following the creation of their new Audio Visual Services Division, which will be headed up by former Creative Technology managing director, Graham Andrews. As a result, Andrews hands over the day-to-day running of CT to Mark Elliott, simultaneously assuming the role of chief executive, in order to oversee the strategic development of the company. CT’s new managing director has worked with the company for the last nine years, latterly as operations director. "I have a long history in the industry, extending back to 1982, and recent years have proved both exciting and rewarding," said Elliott. "My role will now be to further develop the management structure underpinning a high quality and specialist service business, while supporting the growth of Creative Technology within the full framework of the AV Division."
Also stepping up in the company reshuffle are Jon Hodgson, who becomes director of project management, and Guy Mapley, who is appointed director of sales. The roles of Andrew Hawker as technical director, Gary Holford as graphics director, Adam Berger as director of outside broadcast and Philip Threadgold as finance director, will remain unchanged.
The team at Northern Light has been further strengthened with several new appointments. Craig Shaw joins the Special Projects department as sales engineer, with responsibility for developing the company's sound reinforcement products business. Formerly with EFX Audio, he left to freelance on sound system design and installation projects in clubs and bars throughout Scotland and for projects such as the Police Public Safety announcement system for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street celebrations.
Gerry Corcoran is the latest addition to the sales team. Based in Glasgow, he'll be concentrating on expanding and supporting Northern Light's customer base in the West of Scotland and will augment the company's capacity to demonstrate equipment and provide customer training. Gerry was formerly chief electrician and technical tutor at RSAMD, and before that his career in stage management and electrics, working in professional theatresthroughout Scotland, spanned 13 years.
At Northern Light's Glasgow hire department, Nicola Garman is moving on after four years as manager, and Scott Bland will be taking over the reins. He completed his technical training at RSAMD and has worked extensively in community and amateur theatre for 10 years, tackling a wide variety of projects before joining Northern Light. Carol Whittaker - formerly of Q-Light - and Jim McGowan have also recently joined the hire cepartment, ensuring a wealth of experience and expertise to meet the varied needs of hire customers, whether dry hire or a full rigging and crewing service.
David Kirk, the former PR manager at Allen and Heath, has recently returned to take up a new role as New Media Manager. Kirk left the company in February 2000 to feed an interest in the opportunities created by the internet and electronic communication. He subsequently worked as content manager for LeisureHub.com, a business-to-business exchange for the leisure industry. Last month, he returned to the A&H fold after a new position arose allowing him to use his enhanced media skills in the pro audio industry.
Sennheiser UK has announced a fundamental restructuring of its management team. The new structure sees equal prominence given to five areas of management responsibility with the appointment of key personnel to the newly-created positions of director of engineering, finance, marketing, operations and sales. Dave Hawker is appointed director of engineering with responsibility for all technical aspects of the company’s operations, including service, technical support and special projects. Lesley Alaway becomes director of finance, while Phil Massey is director of operations responsible for operations, systems and IT management.The greatest changes are to the previously integrated sales and marketing functions: John Steven joins Sennheiser from as director of marketing from KGa Press+Communications, the company’s PR agency, where he held the position of account manager for four years. The company is still recruiting for the role of director of sales, with managing director Paul Whiting temporarily overseeing the duties. Whiting says the moves follow a fundamental review which identified the need for an extended executive management team in order to support the company’s continued growth.
At Telex EVI Audio, Jürgen Meier has taken over the role of distribution manager for fixed installations from Claus Peter Sterling, who has retired from the post after nearly 27 years. Meier is responsible for all sales and marketing activities in the European electro-acoustics and movie theatre installations market (including Germany) as well as for Pro Sound in the domestic German market. For the past five years, Meier has worked in the cinema field as sales and project manager for projection and sound reinforcement installations.
Stuart Cunningham has joined the Tannoy sales team to provide support for external sales engineers and customers, both overseas and in the UK. Cunningham will ensure that customers have a main point of contact to quickly answer any queries and provide a link to the sales staff when they are travelling. He has recently graduated from Strathclyde University with a degree in Marketing and Psychology and will be based in the Tannoy Pro sales office in Coatbridge.
Bob Dean has joined LGH Rigging Services as commercial manager. He returns to LGH Group plc, having held the post of branch manager of the Slough Lifting Gear Hire location for three years. He has worked as a project manager in Malaysia and as a contracts manager, working on such key contracts as Canary Wharf DS5. His appointment is a further step in the continuing development of the LGH Rigging Services business - a specialist in the field of rigging equipment hire, offering, in addition, comprehensive operator training capability.
Zero 88 Lighting has appointed Chris Clayton as R&D manager. Chris joins the company from Penny & Giles, the manufacturer of industrial joystick controllers and faders, where he designed and managed projects in aerospace and industrial applications. He is a Chartered Engineer and a member of the Institute of Engineering Designers and at Zero 88 will be responsible for a large team of people working on new fast-track developments for the iLight Group.
Rosco has appointed Adam Smith as sales manager for the UK and Scandinavia, continuing its growth and expansion within Europe. Smith’s career in technical theatre and electronics spans 25 years. His experience in sales, and in-depth knowledge of production, lighting design and the theatre industry will add considerably to the Rosco sales force and strengthen the team. He was most recently employed as Olympic program director for the Sydney Opera House. During this time, he was also responsible for major project work including the opening of the newest theatre in the complex, The Studio, and as event manager for the major function on New Year’s Eve 2000. Prior to accepting his position at the Opera House, Adam was employed as sales manager for Bytecraft and the John Barry Group, both major suppliers to the entertainment industry in Australia.
Entertainment lighting systems and support specialist, The Service Company has announced a change in staffing. Antony Bridges, who has been with the company since its inception in 1997, is moving on to a new career with the BBC; he will be replaced by another familiar industry figure, Roger Hennigan.
Bridges joined The Service Company from Strand Lighting, where as a service engineer he was responsible for testing and commissioning some of the most complex theatrical lighting control systems around the world. He will be joining the BBC as a studio engineer, responsible not just for lighting equipment but all of the electronic equipment used in television production. Taking over as The Service Company’s sales and project manager is Roger Hennigan. Hennigan is familiar to many in the industry from his days at M&M Lighting, where he provided technical support and servicing for Rainbow colour scrollers and Smoke Factory smoke machines. For the last few years he has run HTS Lighting, providing electrical and support services to the theatre industry as well as acting as the UK agent for products from The Smoke Factory and Look Solutions. These product lines will now be distributed and supported by White Light.
Alan Law has recently been appointed general manager for the SPS group, with responsibility for service delivery, quality assurance and Health & Safety. Alan joins SPS from Earls Court & Olympia where he has spent the last three years as technical services manager and health and safety manager responsible for non-exhibition related events and conferences including The Brit Awards, the Vodafone Gala dinner and numerous pop shows. Law was then asked to take on the role of Halls H&S manager, with the brief to audit and re-evaluate Earls Court’s approach to the ever-increasing H&S legislation. Prior to this Alan worked with Blackout, the drapes and rigging company and was a key player in the rapid expansion they experienced in their early years. SPS managing director Robin Coles comments: "To have a manager of Alan's experience and ability in this new key role adds another dimension to our company."