With a renewed focus on product sales and the establishment of a worldwide dealer network, Vari-Lite Inc. has hired three lighting industry veterans to fill vital positions as regional sales managers. Craig Burross, Sean Hoey, and John McDowell will play key roles as Vari-Lite increases sales and creates new dealer relationships. Vari-Lite also announced the hiring of Eric Van Steenburg as marketing communications manager to support its new sales and marketing programs.

“The sales experience and extensive background in entertainment production and design that Craig, Sean, and John have is going to make a major impact as we move forward with our sales and establish our dealer base,” said Bob Schacherl, Vari-Lite’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Getting these lighting industry pros to Vari-Lite is a major coup for our company.” “Eric’s combined experience in marketing and journalism, plus his knowledge of the entertainment industry make him a great fit for our marketing department,” adds Schacherl.

An 18-year veteran of entertainment production and design, Burross was key in helping get automated lighting systems for major TV networks NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox Television. He got his start in the industry when he founded a sound reinforcement business in the 1980s. Burross gained his film and television production experience working as a sales specialist and applications engineer for Victor Duncan Inc. Later, as a national sales manager of the architectural division at High End Systems, Burross established regional development for automated lighting throughout the United States and Europe.

Before joining Vari-Lite, Hoey spent 10 years in the lighting industry as a regional manager for various territories, most recently as sales manager for North and South America for High End Systems. He was instrumental in providing automated lighting systems at major arenas including the United Center in Chicago and the Compaq Center in Houston. Hoey also played a key role in establishing educational development programs and curriculum at major colleges and universities including the University of Texas at Austin and Baylor University.

McDowell began his career in the entertainment lighting industry in 1985 and worked for 12 years as a regional sales manager of the Central United States and later for Western Europe for High End Systems. He was instrumental in getting the company into the touring and corporate industrial markets and in establishing them firmly in the Television markets around Europe. McDowell spent the last three years selling integrated software solutions in the AV industry.

“All of these guys have a successful history of growing the lighting manufacturing business,” Schacherl said. “They know what it takes to be a major player in entertainment lighting. Combining Vari-Lite’s great brand with the experience of these exceptional sales managers will help continue the company’s commitment to quality customer service and support.”

Van Steenburg brings 13 years of professional experience to Vari-Lite, six as a journalist and seven in marketing. In his new role, he will be responsible for marketing communications strategy, brand management, advertising, promotions, public relations, and trade show activities for Vari-Lite. Van Steenburg most recently worked in marketing for a telecom company and prior to that providing marketing for Performance Magazine, a publication covering the touring concert industry.

“It will be exciting to have him help us strengthen the Vari-Lite brand in the entertainment world and in the new markets we’re targeting, as well as further establish the company’s position as an industry leader,” said Schacherl.