Rocky Paulson to receive ESTA award
Wednesday, 13 February 2019
rocky-paulsonRocky Paulson
USA - Rocky Paulson will become the third recipient of the ESTA Lifetime Technical Achievement Award.
The award, which recognises individuals with ‘significant and sustained’ technical contributions to the entertainment industry over at least 25 years, will be presented at the conclusion of the New World Rigging Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Louisville at 5:15pm on 20 March.
After being discharged from the Navy and while in college, Paulson worked for the stagehands' union, rigging at the Cow Palace arena in San Francisco and other locations. In 1973, Rocky took a job with the NBC network as a production rigger for Peter Pan and toured the world with them for several years.
After returning to the Bay Area, he founded Stage Rigging in 1977. The company went on to become one of the preeminent rigging companies in the world, providing services to such shows and events as the Super Bowl, the RNC Convention, Pink Floyd, and The Who, among many others. Paulson has also been described as an ‘an extraordinarily generous teacher’ for his commitment to training and standardisation.
Paulson was one of the co-chairs of the original ETCP Rigging Certification Subject Matter Experts. In addition, he was a founding member of ESTA’s Technical Standards Programme and authored its first ANSI Standard, E1.1, on the construction and use of wire rope ladders in the industry.
In 2000, Paulson sold Stage Rigging to Freeman Decorating staying on to help run the company until he retired from full-time work as a rigger. He continued to teach and do an occasional gig for many years after retirement.
The ESTA Lifetime Technical Achievement Award was launched in 2017 by the ESTA Board of Directors and Technical Standards Council. Scott Fisher (Fisher Technical Services) and Robert Goddard (Goddard Design) were the 2018 and 2017 recipients respectively.
(Jim Evans)

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