By Seth Hallen, HPA President
Reflecting on the accomplishments and challenges of 2017 while peering out the window to 2018, my pride and affection for the HPA continues to grow. Please indulge me as we look past our busy HPA events to the broader horizon and actual impact of our Association. We continue to build on our 3 pillars – Community, Knowledge Exchange, and Recognition in all of our efforts. As we draw to the close of 2017, it is clear we have accomplished a great deal towards those ideals. For 2018, there will be more.
How can we predict and even benefit from changes that come from a dynamic culture, rapid evolution of technology to economic changes. From my perspective, we are building the supporting architecture and intelligence bank around these challenges. The future of the industry, our businesses and careers rely upon the most dynamic and far-looking engagement, events, education. Tapping into the collective knowledge base and wisdom of our peers is one of the most powerful ways we can impact the decisions we make in our endeavors. That’s one thing the HPA is striving to enable through our communications and events. Here are some highlights:
The HPA Tech Retreat has – for over 23 years – been the place to ask the hard questions, take on the latest technologies, and connect with colleagues. Topics are debated, and it’s safe to say that you leave with as many questions at the end of the tech retreat as you arrive with at the beginning. The HPA Tech Retreat continues to grow and engage a wider audience as new and often non-traditional technologies take hold. Last year, we added TR-X (Tech Retreat Extra) an afternoon symposium that kicks off the retreat. The HPA Tech Retreat is moving venues this year, but we are still a limited seat event, so watch for the program which will be announced imminently, and register early because it’s never a great idea to miss the HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Springs! The main program is steered intrepidly by the one and only Mark Schubin, the SuperSession led by HPA past president Leon Silverman and past VP Jerry Pierce; and TR-X by HPA Board Member Craig German. A huge thank you to those fellows and their committees for putting together what is shaping up to be another incredible event.
Of equal pride is the ongoing development of our UK event which we are planning to bring back in June to the London area. I’m not at liberty to share specifics, but I can say that we’re shaking it up, tightening it up and bringing even more value. At the HPA Tech Retreat in February, we will have a lot of compelling news about the UK Tech Retreat. Thank you to Richard Welsh for his leadership as we evolve and grow our UK event.
The HPA Awards show us that our community is absolutely amazing. This year’s banner event was an incredible evening! From Larry Chernoff’s Lifetime Achievement Award to the amazing creative winners, Engineering winners and NASA, the sold-out evening with a new look was a blast. This year’s submissions to the creative categories were greater than they have ever been, breaking 450 and over 23 entries for Engineering Excellence. It is always an honor to shine a light on the work of our community who help bring stories to life. We’re also grateful that our longtime venue – The Skirball Center – survived the fires that tore through LA County.
An initiative near and dear to my heart is mentorship of the next generation of our industry leaders. HPA’s Young Entertainment Professionals put their new class in place at the 2017 SMPTE ATC. It’s no exaggeration to say that the accomplishments of this year’s applicants and class are truly impressive. In addition, a group of 60 industry professionals have volunteered to mentor and support the 2017-18 YEP class. We doubled the number of applicants, and look forward to an amazing year with these 26 young leaders who will be taking our industry into the future. Great thanks to Kari Grubin, Loren Nielsen, Laura Thommen and Belinda Merritt for their leadership and vision, and thank you to the entire committee and all of our mentors for helping build the foundation of HPA.
NET – under the tutelage of Josh Wiggins, Eliot Sakharov and an incredible committee, NET has taken hold and taken route. From two sold out events with absolutely stellar table leaders and topics, to a roster that we will announce early in 2018, there is terrific excitement around NET (Networking Education Technology), where in depth topics can be discussed and debated.
There’s a long list of exciting news that the HPA Board will be unveiling in the coming months. As this year comes to a close, we are excited to look to the future and grateful to all of you for an incredible 2017. Our community, the HPA Board, leaders, volunteers and staff are some of the most talented, dedicated, and passionate individuals I have ever known. During this holiday season, I am filled with gratitude that I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with such incredible people.