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The P.A. People provides operations update

The P.A. People provides operations update
April 10, 2024

The P.A. People, Australia’s most experienced venue integrator, has provided an update on how its expanded divisions are working together.

Having recently relocated the businesses, its new 3600 metre² base provides technical spaces, fabrication workshops, warehouse and office spaces, along with a large drape fabrication facility, the company’s communications team and a comprehensive event preparation space.

Active across four departments - sales hire service, venue engineering, installed systems and event communications, The P.A. People has continued to build a team with broad-based skills over its’ more than 50-years continuous operation.

The P.A. People Managing Director, Chris Dodds explains “our team are the people that make the difference. I am proud of each of them and the way they are motivated to continually step up.”

“Tasks, systems, equipment, and locations change over time - but our people have always made the difference. It is significant to hear from our clients and suppliers that we are considered a ‘partner’ in their business, and that simply is not possible without consistently good people.”

The P.A. People team now incudes:

Venue Engineering
Peter Grisard, who heads the Venue Engineering, explains “we have a reasonable amount of grey hair in my Venue Engineering team.

“We are a unique combination of young talented designers with new ideas, working with highly experienced senior staff to deliver some of the largest staging projects in Australia and New Zealand. Part of my role is understanding the client needs and then to bring these back to the team to determine what is possible, what are the options, and what is not possible.

“Safety is always the paramount concern, and we must constantly remind both ourselves and our clients that in this field of work, we lift, suspend and move objects over audiences and performers.”

The Venue Engineering team also includes Andrew Mathieson and Jim Parmley, two of the country’s most experienced theatre equipment engineers.

Installed Systems
Brett Steele who heads the Installed Systems team, advises “with audio, av, lighting, stage control, foyer systems, theatre machinery and the relevant design, fabrication (metal, timber, fabric) and sewing room all in-house, it gives us an ability to control the process in one location.

“This adds to the confidence of our whole team and better informs the solutions we can bring to a client’s task.

“Our team have a keen interest in what they’re doing; it’s not just a job.

“For them, it’s about understanding the client’s functional requirement and unpacking that to bring an appropriate solution to their task.”

In a recent project, all these collective team skills were involved across three projects for Sutherland Shire Council in NSW - Pavilion Entertainment Centre, Memorial Hall and the Council Chambers - from a sensitive heritage project to an entire ‘new-build’ performing arts facility.

The Installed Systems team also includes AV Design Manager Ian Laird, Drapery Manager Nayana Ratnawardana, and a team of more than 20 plus project managers, control system engineers, fabricators and installers.

Event Communications
The P.A. People Event Communications team is headed up by Nicky Dodds who returned to the business during COVID, having worked as part of the team on projects since the late 1980s.

Dodds notes “while we are known internationally as a key supplier of large-scale communication systems for Olympic-scale events, our local work also involves a significant audio component.

“With clients that include the Australian F1 Grand Prix, the Vivid Festival for Destination NSW, New Years Eve Fireworks for the City of Sydney, Tennis Australia and the Sydney Kings, we can provide audio and communications systems for almost any event.”

From a distributed speaker system for a street parade to a concert system with multiple Yamaha Rivage consoles and our ShowMatch array systems, through to hundreds of radios, beltpacks and key stations, we have the people and the gear to assist any production or event.

Integral to the Event Comms team’s current capability is the retention of all our key personnel through the pandemic, something that has reaped dividends in recent times.

Dodds added “communications is all about the people; we were able to increase our inhouse training regime during those years and now have one of the largest and most capable teams in Australia.”

Service & Maintenance
Angie Doyle leads Service and Maintenance for The P.A. People, supported by Tim Pike and Cheryl Gunders in the Gold Coast office. The P.A. People Service team’s diverse skills are comprehensive and enable us to handle multiple audio visual and venue engineering systems simultaneously for a single customer, say - in the case of a large performing arts venue, or a comprehensive site-wide systems audit for an education facility - right through to a basic single-issue equipment service call.

Doyle summarises her department’s credential as “a diverse skill set and experience” with the youngest employee aged 19 and the eldest at 78.

The team is mixed with senior experience in both AV and Venue Engineering fields; continual training, development and upskilling of technicians: Sydney, Victoria and Queensland-based technicians with the ability to operate across all Australian states (and even a recent visit to New Zealand); staying at the forefront of industry advancements with tools, diagnostic equipment, software systems etc; flexible scheduling to accommodate customers; a range of services - routine maintenance, troubleshooting, in-house/onsite repairs and installations - and 24/7 support availability.

In-house drapery
As part of the move to their new Greenacre site, The P.A. People have added a significant new drape fabrication facility to their portfolio.

The P.A. People Drapery Manager, Nayana Ratnawardana stated “ever since the Company acquired the TheatreQuip business, having our own drape fabrication facility was part of the plan.

“Now, as part of the fit-out of our new building, we have been able to incorporate a substantial sewing room to service the needs of our industry clientele.”

Image: The P.A. People supporting the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup at the then GIANTS Stadium (top) and The P.A. People's Chris Dodds and Peter Grisard (below).

Related Articles

15th February 2024 - The P.A People look back on the success of their Australian Open logo device

3rd February 2024 - The P.A. People named Platinum Sponsor for Stage Queensland 2024 Technical Managers’ Conference

7th December 2023 - The P.A. People looks back on period of successful projects

15th August 2023 - The P.A. People report on busy 12 months of event communications

21st February 2023 - The P.A. People advise delivery of multiple technical solutions for sport and events

8th November 2022 - The P.A. People deliver audio/AV solution for Bondi Pavilion makeover

7th October 2022 - The P.A. People to present new TheatreQuip products at the ENTECH Roadshow

11th August 2022 - The P.A. People launch TheatreQuip range of theatre hoists at ICC Sydney

4th August 2022 - Movecat chooses The P.A. People for exclusive distribution in Australia and New Zealand

27th July 2022 - SERAPID elevation and transfer systems now being distributed by The P.A. People’s Venue Engineering team

22nd July 2022 - The P.A. People spotlight their activation of the VIVID Sydney 2022 communications network

4th July 2022 - The P.A. People spotlights some of its upcoming projects

26th April 2022 - The P.A. People delivers 11th communications package for Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix

2nd March 2022 - The P.A. People announces venue engineering team appointment

23rd February 2022 - The P.A. People announce Peter Grisard to lead new Venue Engineering team

5th July 2021 - Marking 50 years of The P.A. People’s growth from a suburban garage to the world stage


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