Hoffend, manufacturer of the Vortek® automated rigging system, announced that Damon Atwood, a veteran theatre consultant and rigging engineering specialist, has joined the Hoffend staff as vice president of integration for Vortek®.

Atwood has been working as a consultant with Hoffend since early 2004, and now joins the staff full-time to assist consultants and architects in integrating Vortek® into the design of their new theatres. Formerly a rigging consultant with SCO Engineering, one of the largest engineering firms in Indiana, Atwood was president of Associated Control and Design (ACD), a theatrical dealer specializing in rigging. Before his tenure with ACD, Atwood served as theatre lighting designer for Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the largest children’s museum in the world.

Atwood joins the Vortek® team now because of the momentum this new system has created throughout the theatre construction industry in the conversion from antiquated counterweight rigging to safer, easier-to-use automation invented by Hoffend.

“When I first saw the Vortek® system, I realized that Hoffend had come up with ideas and inventions no one had thought of before,” Atwood says. “We need to tell the story of the development of this product-—six years of inventing, two years to prove the concept, the patents, the prototype, testing in two beta sites, and no manufacturing until Hoffend was absolutely certain the product worked the way they wanted it to work. Then we need to tell the story of this system in action in theatres around the world.”