Lighting industry pioneer Jim Bornhorst, electrical engineering manager at Dallas-based Vari-Lite Inc., has been elected the winner of the Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award for 2001. The honor follows close on the heels of the 20th anniversary of the first Vari*Lite® automated luminaires that Bornhorst created for the September 1981 Genesis show in a bullring in Barcelona, Spain, launching the current era of automated lighting. The 2001 Wally will be presented as part of the LDI/ESTA awards ceremony on Saturday evening, November 3, at LDI2001 in Orlando, FL.
Bornhorst began his career as a touring sound engineer and console designer for Dallas-based Showco. In 1980, his team decided to address a problem that had been vexing the entertainment industry for decades--how to produce a commercially viable remote-controlled spotlight. In a completely novel approach, Bornhorst combined pivoting dichroic filters, the MARC 350 arc lamp, and a single digital data link to produce a prototype. In 1981, a system of 50 Vari*Lite VL1™ luminaires, the first digitally-controlled robotic spotlight, was used on an international tour for the first time.
Using new techniques such as local processing with cue memory and bi-directional data links, other achievements quickly followed, including the all-digital VL2™ and VL3™ luminaires, the Artisan™ control console, and the VL4™, the first arc washlight with crossfading colors. In the 1990s, Bornhorst was instrumental in development of the Vari*Lite Series 200™ and Series 300™ systems, the VL5™ and VL6™ family of luminaires, and most recently the VL7™ spot luminaire, which introduced revolutionary color and an 8:1 zoom.
In 1991, Bornhorst received an Emmy award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering for the Series 200 system. Another followed in 1994 for the VL5 automated wash luminaire. Bornhorst has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University. He and his wife Becky have two children.
Founded in 1992, the prestigious Wally Award was established in memory of Wally Russell, a true trailblazer whose career influenced several generations of industry professionals. Each year, the Wally honors one individual who exhibits a strong sense of leadership, a commitment to technological innovation, and a career of service to the lighting industry.
This year's slate confirms the outstanding contributions made throughout the past decades by Bornhorst and two other extremely gifted men: David Cunningham and James (Jimmy) C. Fuller. The winner is selected through a voting process open to the lighting industry at large.
Past winners of the Wally include: Stan Miller in 2000, Don Stern in 1999, Bran Ferren in 1998, Fred Bentham in 1997, Francis DeVerna in 1996, Tharon Musser in 1995, George van Buren in 1994, Charles Altman in 1993, and Wally Russell in 1992 (in memoriam).
The Wally Award committee includes: Phil Bernard, Rusty Brustché, David Cunningham, Tom Folsom, Fred Foster, Don Hamilton, John Howe, Larry Kellermann, Philip O'Donnell, Richard Pilbrow, Brian Russell, Glen Russell, Robert Schiller, and Jacqueline Tien.
For additional information about the Wally Award, contact: Jacqueline Tien, publisher, Lighting Dimensions/Entertainment Design, 32 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.