ESTAs Above & Beyond Award Recipients

by Stage Directions

The Entertainment Services and Technology Association’s (ESTA’s) Technical Standards Program (TSP) announces the 2018 recipients of the annual Above & Beyond Awards. These awards are peer to peer, designed to allow Technical Standards Program volunteers to recognize other outstanding volunteers.

The awards celebrate those volunteers that have made a significant contribution or effort that advances the Technical Standards Program. The TSP exists because hundreds of individuals from across the industry volunteer their expertise and significant amounts of time throughout the year to write standards that increase safety, provide interoperability between different manufacturers, solve problems, and make life easier. These awards are particularly meaningful to the recipients because the nominations are made by their peers within the Technical Standards Program.

The 2018 Above & Beyond Awards are presented to:

Sam Kearney (Control Protocols Working Group) was cited for having been “dropped into the E1.33 task group and immediately started pulling more than his fair share of the weight. Kearney continued to pull the entire task group and document forward. He even brought the first wide reaching implementation of the standard to the Plugfest. He's a joy to work with and truly believes in building consensus, even when he disagrees.”

Art Wanuch (Electrical Power Working Group) was cited for having “been a strong, supportive, and tireless leader in the development of the single-conductor feeder cable standard, keeping focus on the objective of the creation of this standard over an exceptional number of public reviews while guiding the task group to respond appropriately and substantively to all raised objections.” Wanuch currently serves as the chair of EESA, the Entertainment Electrical Safety Association, in Canada.

Steve Serafin (Floors Working Group) was cited for having been “instrumental in developing ANSI E1.60, Guidelines for the Use of Raked Stages in Live Performance Environments. This standard provides guidance for the use of raked stages in live performance environments to mitigate the risks for the protection of actors and technicians.” Serafin took on a considerable role in moving the task group forward, producing a quality American National Standard in almost record time. Serafin is a Product Liability Specialist for Chubb Group of Insurance.

Keith Sklar (Floors Working Group) was also cited for having been “instrumental in developing ANSI E1.60, Guidelines for the Use of Raked Stages in Live Performance Environments. Sklar went above and beyond to bring years of experience and knowledge to the creation of a standards document that will help protect performers and technicians working on raked stages.

Sklar’s willingness to jump into the world of drafting technical standards concurrent with his role as a Business Representative at Actors’ Equity Association is exemplary.

Elmer Veith (Rigging Working Group) was also cited for “pushing standards into completion in a very short time, organizing his task groups, and attending just about every single meeting. Veith is extremely knowledgeable in the rigging field, especially truss and hoists, and he uses that expertise to create thorough and complete standards.”

ESTA’s Technical Standards Program is the only ANSI-accredited standards program dedicated to the needs of the entertainment technology industry. The standards created under the TSP are used directly or indirectly every day by almost every manufacturer, dealer, installer, production company and end user. These standards prevent accidents, protect lives and property, save time and money, solve problems, inform the industry, and enhance creativity.

The TSP is comprised of over 350 volunteer experts who devote time and knowledge to drafting American National Standards for the benefit of the whole entertainment technology industry. The TSP is always interested in any new member who wishes to join a working group. Information on getting involved with the TSP may be found at