High End Systems seems to be going through some major restructuring of late, with several new appointments announced in just the last few weeks. Many of the new team members are former staffers returning to the HES fold.

Bill Morris has returned to HES as vice president of sales. He will oversee sales of automated/digital lighting and Wholehog control products in North and South America and Asia. Morris was previously vice president of worldwide marketing at HES from March 2003 to March 2004 and spent the last six months running his own marketing consulting firm.

Sean Hoey has also returned to the company as the new sales manager for the Southeastern US. He was formerly an HES sales manager from 1991 to August 2001, ending as director of sales. He spent the last three years with Vari-Lite.

Craig Burross, another former member of the team, has come back as sales manager for the Northeastern US. He previously worked as an HES sales manager from 1991-1999, most recently representing Vari-Lite as Northeast/Mid-Atlantic regional sales manager.

Regarding this extensive restructuring, HES CEO Frank Gordon says, “We have been lean in the sales arena for the past year. John Wiseman and I agreed that it would be critical to get the right people on board in these strategic regions such as the US Northeast and the UK, so we took it slow and literally ‘hunted’ for the right people. Our patience served us well, as we were able to surface some incredible talent with strong ties to the industry and a passion for what they do.”

In addition to changes in the US, the European team has seen some revamping, as well. Fons de Vreede has been promoted to a new role as European sales director. Based in Utrecht, Netherlands, he joined the company last August as sales manager for Central Europe.

David Linger, former sales director for MAD Lighting and sales manager for Robe UK, has moved to HES Europe as the new UK sales director. Linger's territory consists of the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, and the Baltics.

Also overseas, Vangelis Ziakas has joined HES as the new Southern European sales manager. For three years, he was product manager of HES equipment for Telmaco SA in Greece.

Gordon continues, “We were committed to bring on individuals who can grow our business and understand how the new digital technology will reshape our industry. With the full-time return of Richard Belliveau, it was critical to hire sales individuals who could keep up with him and communicate his vision to our customer base. We had a veteran staff of folks — Jeff Washburn, Tony Magana, Leighanne Aiken, and Randy Mayer — so I needed to hire professionals who shared their same work ethic and commitment to High End. And we have. Sean Hoey and Craig Burross have their roots at HES. The two guys in Europe, David Linger and Vangelis Ziakas, have industry knowledge in market segments that will complement our core business. It doesn't get any better than that.”

According to Gordon, the return of Morris in the US and the promotion of Fons de Vreede in Europe round out the sales organization and bring a balance to senior management. “I think you will see both Lowell [Fowler] and myself become more active with our customers and get back out on the road,” he says. “We have a lot to talk about in the way of new product offerings.”

HES has also seen two departures of note. While Grif Palmer has left his position as vice-president of sales for the Americas, John Wiseman, VP of business development and worldwide sales, has moved into a consulting role for the company. Wiseman will continue to work with key accounts, and remain on the HES Board.

Regarding Wiseman, Gordon comments, “What can you say about John that hasn't already been said? He is an industry icon and will remain a strong friend and advocate to High End. He will do well in his next adventure and rock someone else's world. That's his magic.”

As for Palmer, “I asked him to come in for a period of time when I needed help with internal operations. John was traveling 24/7, and we needed an anchor back in Austin. It was time for HES to look at the resources we were committing to sales. Grif helped us build a plan, then moved on.”

We're expecting to hear about new products, and, perhaps, other news from High End Systems in the coming months. See HES at ETS-LDI2004 in Las Vegas at booth #3249.
(www.highend.com)