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In Case You Hadn’t Heard, ESTA and PLASA are Proposing A Merger

This is pretty huge news, everybody – if you’ve not heard about this yet, it’s time to hear about it now.

Two major organizations in the entertainment industry, the Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA) and the Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA) are voting on a merger.  “Wait a second,” you might ask yourself – “what good would that do?”  Well, that’s what being a professional in the industry is all about – working on making our industry better one step at a time.  That also means making decisions about what happens in our industry, and now is the time for action.  If you’re a member of ESTA or PLASA, you’ll be getting a ballot soon – send it in!  On May 31, voting closes on the merger, and we’ll hear about the results in early June.

What are your thoughts on the merger of PLASA and ESTA?  Please comment below and share your views!

If you want to see the packet that was mailed around to members, the link is here (PDF link), and the ESTA website has additional information on the merger.  Below is a letter than was sent out a month or so ago regarding the merger:


Dear Members,

It has sometimes been said that many people spend more time ‘planning the wedding’ than they do ‘planning the marriage.’  We will tell you (with great conviction) that this is certainly not the case when it comes to the proposed merger between ESTA and PLASA. Ever since last fall when we announced that the ESTA Board of Directors and the PLASA Executive Committee had agreed in principle to merge our two associations, countless hours have been spent by the ESTA and PLASA teams, your elected representatives and numerous volunteers to provide you with specific information on several topics to prepare you to cast your vote in May, 2010.

The best business plans are straightforward documents that spell out the “who, what, where, why and how much” and that is precisely what we have tried to do for you. This package includes the following:
  • An Executive Summary that clearly identifies the key issues and provides a high level view of the rationale for this merger and how the merged association will operate. Most importantly, it provides you with information about how this merger will impact you as a member of ESTA;
  • Documents have been provided that offer specific details regarding the following:
    – Membership Structure
    – Governance Structure
    – Dues Structure
    – Code of Conduct
    – Technical Standards Program
It is very important to point out the following:
  • The current ESTA staff fully supports this merger and all of them will continue to provide you with member benefits and services;
  • The member benefits and services are in no way reduced by this merger. In point of fact, new benefits and services are planned and others will be enhanced;
  • ETCP will continue as a major program dedicated to fostering safety in the industry and will operate along a separate but parallel path to PLASA’s program to accommodate both legal and regional differences in certification standards;
  • The existing committee structure will continue and will enable PLASA in North America to continue to make good use of the valuable volunteer efforts that have long been the core of our association;
  • Protocol will continue to be offered as a quarterly journal and will become a part of the PLASA Publishing team;
  • The ESTA Foundation will continue to operate as a separate 501(c)3 educational and charitable foundation under its existing name. The merged association will continue to provide support for the Foundation and its programs including Behind the Scenes.
As we said, a tremendous amount of work has been done already (and will continue through the voting process). This merger has our complete support and also enjoys the unconditional support of the ESTA Board of Directors, the Technical Standards Committee, the ETCP Council, the ‘Has Been Society’ (ESTA’s Past Presidents), the ESTA Staff and program participants too numerous to mention.

Even with all of this support, the vote to approve this merger does face the challenge that a majority of all voting classifications (Dealer and Rental Company/Manufacturer and Distributor/PSO) must vote AND a majority of those voting must vote in favor of the plan. Andrew Carnegie once said that “you can’t push anyone up the ladder unless he is ready to climb himself.”

What can you expect in the next several weeks?
  • This package of information is being sent to you both electronically and by snail mail;
  • Your comments and questions are welcome between now and April 6th;
  • For those of you attending USITT there will be a special meeting on Wednesday, March 31st from 9-10:30am at the Marriott Kansas City Downtown in room Moten AB dedicated to a discussion of these materials;
  • In mid-April, you will receive a copy of the revised by-laws that would specifically govern PLASA in North America;
• By May 1st, you will receive your ballot regarding the proposed merger and by-law changes;
• Voting will end May 31st;
• The results of the vote will be announced in early June.

William Shakespeare said that “we know what we are, but know not what we may be.”

We have made substantial efforts to provide you with the information and tools that you need. We urge you to make comments and to ask questions if there is anything that you do not understand. Your active and enthusiastic participation in this process is urgently needed to shape the future of our association.

Sincerely,
Bill Groener
Lori Rubinstein

Airport Time Travel

I’ve been traveling around the world as a designer for nearly 12 years now. As technology has advanced and the world has become more interesting, my travel habits have evolved alongside. A 4 hour layover can be a drag, as can a 5 minute plane change somewhere like Minneapolis/St. Paul airport with its eleventy million moving walkways and big distance between terminals and gates.

I always try to get to the airport a little early, for example, to get coffee and snag a seat in the gate by a power outlet before the crowds snag them all.

What wonders and annoyances have you come to embrace over the years? Post in the comments, share with everyone!