March 2018

Print this page ›

March 2018

Thoughts from Mark Shanda

USITT President

At a recent continuing education conference that I had the pleasure of attending, as part of the exercises exploring the nature of the organization that I was representing, I was asked to discuss USITT and particularly to describe our Annual Conference & Stage Expo. My overview cited our commitment to lifelong learning through our various Institute programs, our support of design and technology research, our outstanding publications, the diversity of our membership, the extensive level of their involvement, and the strength of our March gathering that many look forward to attending every year. This year our annual gathering starts in just a few short days in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where a wide-variety of different groups within the organization will reconnect, learn, and have a great time.

As a member of the Institute for over 30 years, I was able to share with excitement the personal impact USITT has had on me and my career, laugh over some specific memorable stories from previous Conferences (St. Louis, Houston, and even Wichita), and spoke about how I and so many of our members value the networking opportunities the Institute provides.

Further conversation continued regarding the Annual Conference & Stage Expo, which was eventually described as a big barnyard, with diverse gaggles of geese flocking together. That made me think of how we might establish appropriate collective nouns for various aspects of our organization... commissions, vendors, students, Fellows, and others. Here is my list. I encourage you to send me some of your own that I may have missed.

  • A program of architects
  • An impact of volunteers
  • A yardage of costume designers
  • A diversity of Gatewayers
  • A standard of engineers
  • A panel of exhibitors
  • A prototype of problem solvers
  • A lumen of lighting designers
  • A forum of production managers
  • A keg of beer drinkers
  • A dais of award winners
  • An assessment of safety & health practitioners
  • A pantone of painters
  • An engagement of internationals
  • A feedback of mixers
  • A falsehood of props artisans
  • A spark of electricians
  • A model of scene designers
  • A ramp of roadies
  • A draft of authors
  • An echo of sound designers
  • A circus or park of applicants
  • A “Gerber®” of technical directors
  • A pixel of projection designers
  • A roster of student chapters
  • A bobbin of costumers
  • A cartogram of regional sections
  • A scale of drafters
  • A chain of riggers
  • A level of carpenters
  • An intercom of stage managers
  • A heritage of Fellows
  • An outcome of educators
  • A value of vendors
  • An efficiency of staff
  • A cork of wine drinkers
  • An excitement of first timers
  • A convention center of friends

If you can make it to Fort Lauderdale, I hope that you will engage with as many of these groups as you possibly can. If you can’t make it, you can celebrate wherever you are that you are a part of this great organization, with our wide variety of points for engagement.

Mark Shanda

We'd like to hear your comments on this story.
Please e-mail Mark at