This year’s nominees are...
Having started his career with James Thomas Engineering in 1978, Chris Cronin left to start Tomcat Ltd in 1985, before founding Total Fabrications Ltd (TFL) in 1989, later expanding to become Total Solutions Group (TSG). Over almost four decades, he has had a hand in pushing forward many of the developments in staging technology that we take for granted. From the days of PAR cans and Raylights to the T2 safety truss, and from the Medium Duty truss to Take That’s ‘Big Man’, Chris has applied his ingenuity to products which have benefited projects all over the world.
Wayne Howell began his career in the mid-80s at Avolites, where he first learned programming and contributed to the development of the QM500 and Rolacue desks. In 1988 he founded Artistic Licence, whose innovative product designs, including Micro-Scope DMX tester, the Lamp Tramp, the DMX-Dongle, DMX-Split, Pixi-Web and Visual Patch have won many industry accolades. He contributed to the development of ESTA standards DMX512 and RDM, created Art-Net - the royalty-free DMX-over-Ethernet protocol - and initiated the Zero Carbon Project. He is also the author of Control Freak and Rock Solid Ethernet and Light Bytes.
Dr. Christian Heil
Dr. Christian Heil founded L-Acoustics in 1984, and the introduction of the V-DOSC line array system in the mid-1990s led to a fundamental shift in the live sound market. Heil and L-Acoustics have continued to refine the line array concept, with the KIVA ultra-compact system, the K1 system, the KARA modular line source system and the K2 system. His latest technology venture, L-ISA (see pages 36-38), is a comprehensive multichannel audio architecture, designed to bring immersive audio to live performances.
Anne Valentino has spent most of her working life in contributing to the creation of lighting control consoles. Starting as a technical director at a Houston performing arts centre, she worked for lighting manufacturer Kliegl before moving on to Strand Lighting. Here she began her work with lighting control products which would define the industry, from later versions of the Strand Light Palette, through ETC’s Obsession and Expression consoles, to Vari-Lite’s iconic Virtuoso and back again to ETC where she developed the Eos, Ion and Gio consoles.
The Strand Lighting R&D team, 1960S-1980S
The team at Strand Lighting, led by Marin Moore and later by David Bertenshaw (pictured), worked to develop a series of landmark lighting control systems. These included IDM, DDM, MMS, Lightboard, Galaxy - all of which pushed the boundaries of technical possibility of the times to deliver the dream of memory lighting control, including some functionality that has sadly been lost from control systems of today.
Co-founder of lighting manufacturer Ayrton in 2001, Yvan Péard has developed a reputation for innovative lighting products with high quality engineering. Yvan’s creations are characterised by cutting-edge LED and optical technology, and a determination not to follow the crowd. Products such as the Moduled 318, the first modular fixture designed specifically to create an LED matrix - to the DreamPanel, and more recently the Wildsun, IntelliPix, MagicBlade, VersaPix, MagicPanel, NandoBeam, MagicDot, MagicBurst, CosmoPix and AlienPix, have kept the Ayrton name at the forefront of LDs’ minds.
Masaaki ‘Mick’ Okabayashi
During almost three decades at Yamaha, Mick Okabayashi has played a major role in the development of digital mixing consoles. Joining in 1987, the year that Yamaha developed its first digital mixing console, the DMP7, he spent 12 years as on the console development team, before heading up the PM5D’s development, followed by the hugely successful M7CL and the LS9. Since then, Mick and his team have created the CL and QL series, introducing Dante audio networking to live mixing systems. He is now overseeing the continued development of the flagship mixing system RIVAGE PM10.