Jack Schmidt has announced his retirement from Strong Entertainment Lighting. Schmidtis launching a new company, Special Lighting Solutions, offering services specifically aimed at the people who own, use, specify, and service followspots. (jackschmdt@aol.com)

Training specialist Vickie Claiborne will be working with the Martin US team as an instructor for the training program, Acade·media. Claiborne is working with Michael Nevitt (product manager for controllers), Matthias Hinrichs (control products specialist), and Carl Wake (national education manager) to develop training programs for the Maxxyz lighting console, Maxedia Digital Media Composer, and Martin ShowDesigner software. (www.martin.com/academedia)

Nemetschek North America has published Images of CAD, the first coffee-table book to celebrate computer-aided design as an art form. (www.nemetschek.net)

Mike Bell has joined High End Systems Inc. in Austin, TX, as a senior product manager. He most recently worked at Vari-Lite, where he held the positions of engineering manager, program manager, and principal design engineer of the VL3000, VL2000 and VL2500 Spot luminaires. (www.highend.com)

Bill “Uncle Bill” Sapsis and the Long Reach Long Riders will ride from June 26 to July 2 for the second annual charity motorcycle ride benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. (www.sapsis-rigging.com/LRLR.html)

Represented by CEO Nour Assafiri, Martin Professional Middle East (MPME) has appointed Al Salem Schreder Lighting, represented by its general manager, Hatem Mawlawi, as the sole distributor for Martin Architectural products in Saudi Arabia. (www.martin.com)

XL Touring Video has promoted Valdis Dauksts to general manager. (www.xlvideo.com)

Barco has acquired the business of Belgium-based System Technologies, which designs for special projects in the rental and staging markets, and will be incorporated into the Barco Media & Entertainment division. (www.barco.com)

A.C.T Lighting, Inc. has been appointed the exclusive distributor for MDG Fog Generators Ltd in the US. (www.actlighting.com; www.mdgfog.com)

Creative Technology has added John Yesco to its project management staff. (www.ctinternational.com)

Lighting Services Inc. has hired Kelly Seeger as regional sales manager. Her responsibilities will include product sales to lighting specifiers, designers, architects, and engineers in the New York metro region. (www.LightingServicesInc.com)

Design & Drafting has announced LD Assistant Road Show Training Seminars for 2005. One-day and two-day seminars begin in March. The seminars are for both new and existing users who would like to become more proficient with LD Assistant Ac or AutoCAD® with LD Assistant PL. (www.ldassistant.com/training)

ARRI Inc. and Camera Service Center (CSC) announced major changes in the management structure of both American operations. Two chief operating officers have been appointed, Charles Davidson for ARRI Inc. and Simon Broad for CSC. In addition, Mark Machover has been promoted to chief financial officer for CSC and John Gresch to vice president, lighting division for ARRI Inc. (www.arri.com)

OptiLED, Inc. is contributing products to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Lighting Research Center (LRC) for its LED Lighting Institute. OptiLED is supplying its Commercial, Designer, Festival, and Linear Series to model the benefits of incorporating LED technology into lighting applications and designs. (www.optiled.biz; www.rpi.edu; www.lrc.rpi.edu/education/outreachEducation/LEDInstitute.asp)

PRG has announced that Joseph Schenk III has rejoined the company as director of its labor services division, Showpay. Schenk will manage the division under the direction of Lionel “Buddy” Stern, who has moved into a senior strategic role in the company. (www.prg.com)

Jim Cash has been promoted to the position of southern regional accounts manager at Lex Products Corp. (www.lexproducts.com)

Entertainment Structures Group (ESG) has agreed to provide structural engineering reports for Sapsis Rigging, Inc. (www.sapsis-rigging.com; www.entertainmentstructures.com)

LSI Sales & Distribution has announced the formation of a UK national distributor network for the ADB range of controls, dimming, and luminaires. LSI also intends to make other products available via the new distributor network, including the computerized stage management system, ARC, a joint development between LSI and Alnetronic of Germany. (www.lsiprojects.com)

UK-based Warwick Corporate Events has signed a deal to become a regional distributor for ADB Lighting in the South West. (www.wce.co.uk; www.adblighting.com)

David Jacobi has joined event lighting company Kinetic Lighting, Inc. as director of production services. (www.kineticlighting.com)

Times Square Lighting has the following new regional representation: Foley Group of Springfield, MO for southern Missouri; Ward and Jacobs of St. Louis for northern Missouri and southern Illinois; and GTF Lighting of Elmwood Park, IL for northern Illinois, Greater Chicago. (www.tslight.com)

Electronics Diversified Inc. has received California Title 24 Certification for four of its architectural controls systems to include: the Light Management System, Twilite, SMART, and T-12 Architectural Controls. (www.edionline.com)

Permlight Products has been awarded the 2004 Platinum ADEX Award (Awards for Design Excellence) by Design Journal Magazine, for its Enbryten Retrofit line of LED luminaires. (www.permlight.com)

LMG, Inc. promoted three key personnel to accounts manager positions. David John, based at the Orlando headquarters, will direct national sales and account coordination for the show services department. Bryce Hershner will be responsible for directing Show Services sales and coordination of the Orlando team. Robert “Bob” Leonard will work at LMG's Orange County Convention Center office managing daily operations and overseeing the technical implementation of all shows. (www.lmg.net)

Michael Garl, president of James Thomas Engineering, Inc. is assuming the chair of the ESTA Technical Standards Committee and leaving leadership of the Rigging Working Group in the hands of Bill Sapsis, the current co-chair and president of Sapsis Rigging. Garl's first meeting as TSC Chair will be the meeting at the USITT Conference in Toronto on March 16. Inother ESTA news, ANSI E1.11-2004, Entertainment Technology — USITT DMX512-A — Asynchronous Serial Digital Data Transmission Standard for Controlling Lighting Equipment and Accessories, is available for purchase as a PDF or as a hardcopy. Visit http://webstore.ansi.org for the PDF. A hardcopy version is available from USITT at https://secure.ffa.ucalgary.ca/cgi-bin/usitt/store/enter.pl. (www.esta.org)