Article provided by ESTA

The New World Rigging Symposium, which will take place March 19-20, 2019, and is produced by ESTA and USITT in conjunction with USITT19 in Louisville, Ky, has announced a change of Keynote speakers. Jim Digby, previously announced as Keynote speaker, will now be on tour in Eastern Europe. In his place, we are extremely pleased to announce that Rocky Paulson, one of the most highly respected production riggers for over 35 years and the founder of Stage Rigging, Inc., will be delivering the Keynote address.

Rocky started rigging at the Cow Palace arena in San Francisco then took a job in 1973 with NBC Entertainment as a rigger on a national tour of Disney on Parade, which took him around the world. He has also toured with the likes of Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, and Earth, Wind, and Fire. Rocky has rigged some of the largest and most prestigious shows and events ever produced including the Olympics, numerous Super Bowls, and national political conventions. He started stage rigging in 1977, a first-of-its-kind production rigging company, where he remained until his retirement in 2006.

Rocky helped to establish many of the standard practices of arena rigging that are still used today by riggers worldwide. He has always believed that education is the best way to prevent accidents and has spent years teaching rigging and fall protection seminars and writing articles. Rocky was one of the first members of ESTA’s Technical Standards Program Rigging Working Group and authored its first ANSI standard on wire rope ladders and has contributed to many others. He was also a co-chair of the original subject matter experts for the development of the ETCP arena rigging certification and served on the ETCP Council for many years.

When asked about the subject of his Keynote address, Rocky stated, “Now that we have a rich history of entertainment rigging practices and technology, studying the past along with introducing new and improved technology will help us move into the future with reduced risks of failure.”

Panelists are still being confirmed for the Symposium, but the initial list of speakers offers a wide array of experience and expertise. Engineers Bill Gorlin of McLaren Engineering and Jeff Reder of Clark Reder Engineering will be sharing their much-in-demand expertise. Colin Peters, Alex Serrano and Jim Shumway from Tait Towers and Rock Lititz take us through a project from artist’s concept to reality. David Bond of Kinesys will cover load cells, Loren Schreiber will look at workplace hazards, and Orestes Mihaly of PRG and Mike Kelly of ProSight Specialty insurance will help you get started on understanding and creating risk assessments. Sarah Gascoine of PSAV, Eric Rouse of Chicago Flyhouse, and Eddie Raymond of the IATSE Craft Advancement Program explore how to create a professional work environment.

Registration for the two-day Symposium is $375, which includes lunches, reception, and a USITT Stage Expo floor pass. Register for both the Symposium and the full USITT Conference for just $675. To see the full line-up of sessions, visit

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Thank you to our sponsors for making the New World Rigging Symposium possible: Stage Rigging (Platinum); ETC and J.R. Clancy (Gold); Geiger Engineers, Kish Rigging, and Prolyte Group (Silver); CM-ET, H&H Specialties, The Light Source, Motion Labs, Reed Rigging, Sapsis Rigging, Stagemaker, and Texas Scenic Company (Bronze). One Silver Sponsorship opportunity is still available.