Next Story in this issue
News & Notices
News From:
Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record

Paul Brunner, far left, Vice-Commissioner for the Technical Production Commission, his wife Emilia Brunner, Julie Grindle and her husband, David Grindle, new Executive Director for USITT, share a social and professional moment.

Photo/Courtesy Emilia Brunner

David Grindle – Executive Director

Barbara E.R. Lucas
Sightlines Editor

As the new Executive Director of USITT, David Grindle wants it known that "it's all about the people." That includes folks who are already familiar with the organization, and the broader audience of organizations, companies, and individuals who he hopes will soon be better acquainted with all USITT has to offer.

Mr. Grindle sees his new post, heading the professional staff of a not-for-profit organization, as an amalgamation of all the skills he has accumulated in a varied career, including time at Atlanta Opera and stage managing throughout North America. He comes to this position from nine years as production manager for the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama in Bloomington, Indiana, where he created the Stage Management Program.

He has been a member of USITT for more than a decade, and has been an integral part of the Management Commission and the Stage Management Mentoring Project. He is also a member of OPERA America's Production and Technical Committee, the Stage Managers Association, and the Production Managers Forum.

"I've experienced what the bulk of USITT's members have," he said. "I understand their diverse viewpoints. As an organization, we can help each other so we're not reinventing the wheel but are sharing and networking."

Mr. Grindle takes the Executive Director position with USITT as it enters its second half century, and those years provide "a fabulous base on which to build," he said. "We, as a membership group, have created amazing work, and I want to be a facilitator to allow our members and volunteers to have what they need to concentrate on that work.

"It is important that people see the value of their membership increase and grow. We're proud of our members; that is who we are."

Carl Lefko, USITT President, remarked that Mr. Grindle is a very energetic person who is going to be effective in aiding the work of the Institute. "He will coordinate external initiatives where USITT has not had an opportunity to have a presence before and facilitate business outside of the organization while guiding USITT towards central objectives initiated by the Board of Directors."

Mr. Grindle said one focus of his is to remember that each event, program, or benefit is someone's favorite and someone else's first. Each time someone is introduced to USITT, that is their first experience: their first issue of Sightlines, their first Annual Conference & Stage Expo, or their first symposium or regional event. The organization has so much to offer that Mr. Grindle wants to be sure people see that variety and experience the best in all its programs and services. Each component – from Commissions to committees to student chapters -- all work together to make USITT what it is.

Mr. Grindle sees USITT as a diverse organization whose many different types of members bring something unique. The mix of creative and innovative individuals and organizations allows networking that enriches all involved. "It's about mining the creativity, getting the best from new and old techniques and technologies" that brings value to members.

While he will be leading the professional staff, Mr. Grindle noted that the organization's direction is determined by the Board, not by him. "I'll be taking the Board's direction and working to make their vision a reality. Since the Board consists of our members, that means my direction comes right from the membership."

On a personal level, he says he looks forward to moving to Central New York with his wife of 16 years, Julie, and his two sons. "We're an arts family," he said, since his wife is a musician and conductor and his children are musically and artistically inclined.

Moving a family of four to Syracuse shows how focused Mr. Grindle is on his new position. "My family defines what is important to me," he said, and starting in mid-June, all the important parts of his life will be in Syracuse, New York.

Mr. Grindle can be reached at 800-938-7488, ext 108, or by e-mailing

To Top