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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Rich Dunham, right, received a plaque and clock from the Lighting Commission at the commission meeting at the 2006 Annual Conference & Stage Expo. Presenting the plaque were Buddy Combs, Lighting Co-Commissioner, and Kim Williamson, VP-Commissions. Mr. Dunham is one of six "retiring" commissioners.

Photo/Barbara E.R. Lucas



The Right Commission Stuff

Kim Williamson
VP Commissions

When the USITT New Year -- new fiscal year, that is -- begins on July 1, several Commissions will see new leadership as they say goodbye to those stepping aside to make way for new Commissioners to step forward. Each Commissioner who has served marks his departure with a range of accomplishments that exhibit their belief in and commitment to the essential constituency of USITT: the Commissions and their members.

The job description of a Commissioner goes something like this: for each year of a three-year term prepare an annual commission budget; oversee the planning of your commission's programming for the annual conference; identify or plan the process for special recognitions and awards; identify projects and/or project leaders; assist in the process for funding proposals; plan, develop and advertise symposia; and identify agenda items for the retreat.

Oh, and not to be forgotten is the time commitment to the conference Commissioners Meetings (no, there is no such thing as a free lunch!), and the preparation that each commissioner undergoes to run commission meetings. The range of people who want to take on this job description as a volunteer are few and so much appreciated!

The 10 Commissions of USITT are (in no particular order other than how they come to mind as I sit on the porch of our mountain cabin and watch the Ponderosa pines grow!) Costume Design & Technology, Scene Design, Lighting, Sound, Architecture, Engineering, Education, Management, Technical Production, and Health & Safety.

They develop and mentor their leadership in slightly different ways. Various Commissions develop leadership through Vice-Commissioner positions. For instance, the person who is VC Programming will step up to Commissioner following one or two years of programming. Several Commissions split the work load between Co-Commissioners with one being senior and the other junior.

Others identify their leaders by observing who has been a consistent contributor to the work of the Commission and is ready to assume a leadership role.

A word of caution here; be careful of what you are good at because you will be asked to do it again! Amidst the diverse methods by which leadership is identified, several things remain consistent. Each Commissioner has the inclination to think big; each has the desire to move his discipline within the craft further ahead; each has a selflessness and generosity of time he dedicates to his Commissions; and a pure enjoyment for the people who are Commission members.

Why are these details important to include in an article on new leadership? Simply that, when you see the Commissioner's job description and combine it with the process of developing these leaders, it becomes evident they are doing this for more than the "thank you" gift they receive at the conference each year.

Join in thanking each of these people for the hours, days, and years they have provided their dedication and leadership to bring great things forward for your Commission. They truly are your representative voices in USITT.

A hearty thank you to outgoing Commissioners:

  • David del Colletti, Technical Production;
  • Jim Cooper, Health & Safety;
  • Rich Dunham, Lighting;
  • Tim Kupka, Education;
  • Pat Martin, Costume Design & Technology; and
  • Michael Tingley, Architecture.

A welcome greeting to each of the incoming Commissioners:

  • Joel Ebarb and Kristina Tollefson, Costume Design & Technology;
  • Tony Hardin, Co-Commissioner with William Kenyon, Education;
  • Bill Liotta, Co-Commissioner with David Smith, Sound;
  • Nate Otto, Health & Safety;
  • Anthony Phelps, Co-Commissioner with Buddy Combs, Lighting;
  • John Prokos, Architecture; and
  • Fritz Schwentker, Co-Commissioner with Roy Harline, Technical Production.

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