Officer Profile: Dave Will
A Natural Fit for New VP
David W. Will is stepping into the position of Vice-President for Conferences at an exciting time for the organization. He took office July 1, and for Mr. Will, the position is a natural progression in his more than 20 year involvement with USITT. He says he is very honored to have the opportunity of coordinating the organization’s upcoming 50th anniversary celebration, and the events which will follow.
Mr. Will says he has always enjoyed, and been able to take advantage of, how USITT allows members to get together with top professionals. USITT has allowed him to stay in contact and network and learn from others throughout his career. “I’m excited about the opportunity to be able to provide that for the Institute and for the members,” Mr. Will said, noting that it is very important for students to sit side by side with professionals and expand their horizons.
While his role is new, Mr. Will has been extremely active with the organization for many years. He was a member of the Conference Committee for the 1997 Annual Conference when USITT transitioned to a new way of planning and running its major spring event. He served as Management Commissioner, and was a member of the Commissioners’ Steering Committee for six consecutive years, helping guide the scheduling of Conference activities.
Coordinating all the diverse elements that make up a USITT Conference & Stage Expo might seem daunting, but as Manager of Facilities Resources for the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State University he represents the interests of the college to the offices of physical plant, facilities planning, and safety, overseeing the 16 buildings assigned to the college. Those buildings include five theatres and a recital hall, as well as the programming needed for everything from architecture to visual arts.
Mr. Will received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theatre from Penn State, and then was asked to be assistant production manager for a new building with a 2,600-seat theatre. He’s been a part of Penn State ever since.
“I’ve worked with many of the greatest artists from around the world, and learned from the work of the greatest lighting designers and technicians during the course of my career,” he said. “It’s challenging since we stage over 360 events a year and support production work all over campus.”
Among his favorite tasks are planning large events such as a multi-day extravaganza to launch a capital campaign, and the coordination needed for a Governor’s Conference that meant working with both the academic and political communities.
His all time favorite, though, is Martha Graham. “I sat in awe as she walked in the door, used her cane as a stick to beat the rhythm, and put her company through its rehearsal paces,” he said.
Mr. Will brings all those experiences and more from his almost 35 years at Penn State to the role of VP Conferences. One of his goals is to continue to create the welcoming community of exhibitors, professionals, students, and educators who create a unique atmosphere at USITT’s conference every year.
His plans for the future are to expand that reach even further.