SMPTE names David Grindle executive director – The Hollywood Reporter
The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers has appointed David Grindle as Executive Director.
This weekend at the NAB Show in Las Vegas, the century-old company introduced the executive, who will begin his new role at SMPTE in July after wrapping up a 12-year term as executive director of the United States Institute for Theater. Technology, an association whose members include designers, engineers, technicians and other professionals who work in the performing arts. Grindle succeeds Barbara Lange, who stepped down at the end of 2021 after 12 years in the role.
“David encompasses for SMPTE the leadership attributes we need to move the organization forward into the future,” said SMPTE President Hans Hoffmann. “He has extensive experience in nonprofits and working with board structures like ours, and I look forward to developing – with the board, him and the head office staff – strategies for the future growth of the Company.”
THR caught up with the new SMPTE executive:
As you step into this role, what are some of your initial goals for the association?
My number one goal at NAB is to start meeting people and hearing what they want from their association. My number one goal is to listen, learn and talk to members.
[I want to be] an evangelist who can show the world not only the work that [members] do, but it’s a career path. The things that have been expressed to me that the Board wants to see happen are the opportunity to grow our membership, both in the United States and globally. SMPTE has the opportunity to connect with people and share ideas, both in existing markets – the traditional existing film and television markets – but also in emerging markets. The world didn’t realize how much it needed, not just wanted, but needed, film and television until the last two years when we became beholden to what could be shown to us. I don’t think the world appreciates that it’s the same engineers who gave them streaming, gave them the ability to have a zoom meeting with their grandson. One of my goals is to show the world how impacted it is by the work of SMPTE members and the work of people in our industry.
Wendy Aylsworth served as the Society’s first and only female President (2013, 2014). Would you like to comment on SMPTE’s diversity and inclusion goals?
Diversity and inclusion was a big topic of conversation during my interview process. One of the challenges of any association is to create a space where people feel welcome because they see each other. We have to do our part as an association. We need to make sure women have a voice. We had our first female president, now we need our second, third, fourth, fifth and beyond. To do this, we must ensure that we create spaces and intentionally put members first to see and seek out these people and invite them to become active and engaged in SMPTE. One of my goals will be to educate both industry and non-members, but also to do some outreach at the university level and start building relationships so we can have a more diverse industry and a more diverse society.
In recent years, real or perceived, I feel like I’ve heard less about SMPTE standards initiatives. What is the status of this work?
Standards are one of the pillars of SMPTE and will always be part of this organization. I think what’s driving what you’re seeing is the speed at which technology is changing. Hard to know what to grab. In some cases, I feel like standards can always seem slightly behind the pace of the industry. And that’s why something like [new SMPTE initiative] Rapid Industry Solutions becomes this intermediate step. Before we can create a standard, we have to create a normal workflow with all this new technology. I think that’s where you’ll start to see RIS as a step in the standard process.
This year, SMPTE has scheduled its first in-person fall conference since 2019. SMPTE is also a partner of the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), which is set to hold its first in-person conference since 2019. What do you think of the ‘coming ? lounges?
My last association, we lost our 60th annual show twenty days after the declaration of the pandemic. It was brutal. We went live with our 2021 event. In March 2022 we were in person again and the energy of an in person meeting was amazing. I don’t think in-person meetings are going to go away.
We know what to discuss online and we know what to discuss in person. I think we’ll see more people doing things that have to do with hands-on, in-person learning. And the energy of being able to do business in person is something that we’ve all missed, and we don’t realize how much we’ve missed it until it happens again. I’m really excited to see what we do in these two [events]. I don’t think they’ll necessarily return to their fullest pre-pandemic presence, but I think what we’re going to see is what the rest of the live meetings industry is seeing, which is an enthusiastic return to dating in person.
Interview edited for length and clarity.