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For the Record

Steve Terry, center, accepts his Fellows plaque from Ken Vannice, right, as the current Fellows of the Institute look on and applaud.

Photo/R. Finklestein

by Mitch Hefter
USITT Fellow


Terry Named USITT Fellow

Mitch Hefter was originally scheduled to deliver these remarks at the Fellows Induction at the 2006 Conference & Stage Expo in Louisville, Kentucky. When Mr. Hefter was unable to attend, Ken Vannice read them on Mr. Hefter's behalf.

I'm Mitch Hefter. Dr. Joel Rubin and I were pleased to prepare the nomination qualifications for USITT's newest Fellow and to collaborate on this presentation.

Our newest Fellow has been working in Technical Theatre for about 40 years, starting in Technical Theatre in junior high, and working summer stock at 16. He built on that experience working as a production electrician for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, touring in that capacity for more than five years. The knowledge gained in that position served as the basis for many of his designs of touring equipment for the lighting rental market. As a production electrician on Broadway, Steve Terry was responsible for the care and feeding of Broadway's first lighting control memory system used for Chorus Line in 1976.

For anyone involved in theatre technology, Steve is considered to be the ultimate resource for good engineering practice in entertainment lighting. He has been a leader in promoting effective electrical codes and in the development of protocols for the transmission of lighting data.

As chief engineer and later executive vice president of Production Arts Lighting, Steve developed and advanced "Systems Integration" in the entertainment lighting industry, now a common practice for the design, engineering, furnishing integration, and installation of entertainment technology systems.

Steve founded the USITT National Electrical Code Committee in 1980, in part to gain a better understanding because of a challenge from a competitor that his Multi-Conductor Cable breakouts wouldn't pass Code. He was the Chair of the USITT Engineering Commission Committee that wrote the internationally accepted DMX512 Standard. This is one of USITT's greatest successes and brings substantial international acclaim to USITT. Steve was a co-recipient (with Ken Vannice and me) of the 1993 USITT Founders Award for work on Codes and Standards.

Steve currently serves as Fellow Ken Vannice's alternate member to the National Electrical Code Panel 15 of the National Fire Protection Association. He is currently co-chair of the ESTA Technical Standards Program's Control Protocols Working Group, and is a founding member of the ESTA Technical Standards Committee.

Steve has been a stalwart among those who feel that USITT limits its potential when it fails to appeal to more than a largely academic membership. Hence his many labors within USITT, which go back to 1980, have been largely directed to areas that require industry-wide participation from a large number of academic and professional practitioners, dealers, and manufacturing firms.

More than that, Steve has also been a mentor and leader to those who work in the lighting industry. Both the lighting shop and the management team he led, together with John McGraw and Peter Forward, for two decades at Production Arts Lighting were equal-opportunity and fully-integrated, including a substantial percentage of both women and other minorities. Many found their first New York jobs at Production Arts and many have subsequently maintained professional careers in theatre.

Steve has already achieved a proud record that continues in his present work. He proposes high standards for our industry -- to make things work better and to advance the state of the art. Just as important, as many of us are privileged to know, his service to the industry is accompanied hand-in-hand by loyalty and dedication to his friends.

To colleague Steven R. Terry, we are honored to be in your company as Fellows of USITT.

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