Hold the Presses!!


By Joel Rollins, CTS-R

Sorry, folks, that this issue is a couple of days later than we expected it to be, but a number of things have happened for the rental and staging industry over the last few days, and I wanted to tell you about them.

The first and foremost is the return of actual rental classes to InfoComm’s Institute for Professional Development, held just before the InfoComm trade show. As you all know, I was really enthused when InfoComm brought Andre LeJeune into the internal teaching staff, reviving him from the limbo we IPD rental instructors had disappeared into. Well, he’s come out of the gate running with a course on show management to be presented at the Institute for Professional Development held just before InfoComm. The course is called Staging and Events Management, and it’s something Andre is a master of. More information can be found athttp://infocomm.org/cps/rde/xchg/infocomm/hs.xsl/10699.htm.There are still seats available. I complain to InfoComm all the time that there aren’t enough reasons for Rental people to attend InfoComm education, but this is one of them. Go.

The other item is a really interesting organization, now touring the country in a really off-the-wall way.

To make a long story short, last month I participated in an interesting forum called the InfoComm 100 (something I’ll be writing about shortly). Seated at my discussion table for two days was Bridget Cline, President and CEO of Industrial Strength Inc. and Pilot House Audio Visual. I’ll shorten the story even further for you: Bridget’s crazy. Not crazy in a bad way. She’s incredibly bright, engaging, and energetic, the kind of natural leader who was able to stand out in a roomful of leaders, some of whom (mea culpa) are not easy to lead. But crazy in a creative way, as you’ll see when you read the following.

One of the meeting highlights was the presentation (to Bridget) of the InfoComm Women in AV Award. Besides her business acumen and accomplishments, Bridget was presented the award for her efforts to help women advance in our traditionally male-centric industry. Bridget created FAVE (Female Audio Visual Executives, Inc.), an international, non-profit trade association designed to mentor and encourage young women to join the ever-expanding AV/media/visual arts field, while providing support, scholarships and networking opportunities to seasoned veterans.

OK, so a lot of us (myself included) complain that there aren’t enough women in the field. Some of us have even made some efforts to recruit more women, with mixed results. But Bridget takes the effort to a whole new level. And here’s an example of why I called her crazy:

Bridget is taking the FAVE effort on tour, with her co-conspirator Kristen and her Great Dane, Chelsea.   They’re calling it “2 Dames and a Dane”, taking place between now and the end of June. For people who join during that period, Bridget’s company will match their membership dues (it’s only $45 per year) and put it toward the organization’s first scholarship. It’s a trip throughout the East Coast, talking to fellow AV companies, schools, radio stations, “persons of interest,” etc.  They’ll be blogging, Tweeting, and (hopefully) pod-casting the entire thing. When asked why the Great Dane was along, Bridget said, “We decided to bring Chelsea along for a couple of reasons – first, she loves rides in the car and is much better behaved than my other two Danes (Buttercup and Sam), and second, we figured that 2 “dames” traveling wouldn’t get quite the amount of attention that a 180-lb black dog would get, so… “

See what I mean about crazy?

Besides that, they’re hosting a breakfast at the InfoComm booth at the show to create awareness of the organization and the role of female execs in the industry.

More info can be requested from  kristen@faveinternational.org.

I’ll be meeting with Bridget during her road trip, doing an interview and trying not to upset her 180-lb. dog. We’ll be talking more about the group, and you’ll be hearing more from me on this group that is not only something the industry needs – but is crazy to boot.