In November of 1987, a group of 25 theatrical dealers walked into a meeting room in Las Vegas and emerged eight hours later as a fledgling association called the Theatrical Dealers Association. The name of the organization has changed, but the volunteerism and idealism have only grown with the years. Two decades later, the Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA) now represents all facets of the entertainment technology industry.

Originally founded to assist dealer members with some of the daily problems of running a business, ESTA soon began to address the issues and concerns of the industry as a whole. This led the association to open its membership to the wider industry and to become the catalyst for an unprecedented level of communication between industry businesses. ESTA has played a unique role in the entertainment technology industry, offering the umbrella under which colleagues and competitors come together to create programs and develop ideas that make the industry safer, stronger, more productive, and more professional.

Concerns about the lack of technical standards in the industry and the potential for governmental regulations led ESTA to establish the Technical Standards Program (TSP). Accredited by the American National Standards Institute, the TSP enjoys worldwide recognition and participation. Safety and stewardship have been addressed over the years through initiatives like the Fog Testing and Product Stewardship programs.

ESTA invited an unprecedented group of industry organizations to join in creating ETCP, the Entertainment Technician Certification Program. ETCP develops rigorous assessments allowing employers to identify technicians with proven knowledge, skills and abilities thereby increasing safety in the workplace.

Business education remains an ESTA priority with many resources available to members to help them administer and promote their businesses, educate their staffs, and save money on business services. Industry research programs supply members with information on market size, operating ratios, employment practices, and customer buying habits.

Recognizing the need for increased education, particularly of young people entering the profession, as well as the need to assist their colleagues in times of crises, ESTA members created The ESTA Foundation which is developing the Behind the Scenes and Essential Skills for the Entertainment Technician programs.

ESTA continues to build the business of show business, and during this 20th anniversary we celebrate the remarkable contributions and achievements of our members and look toward serving the entertainment technology industry over the next twenty years and beyond.