Shannon Harvey, technical director at Production Park, has been named The Manufacturer’s Employee of the Month February 2018.
What are your main roles and responsibilities?
I am technical director at Production Park. My main role is that of digital integration consultant for companies and bands who want to produce live events. They give me their idea and I develop it digitally to make it practical, feasible and commercially viable.
That includes everything from visualising their designs in 3D and integrating the minutiae to ensuring projects can be delivered in the most economically efficient way possible.
Production Park is home to Backstage Academy, which trains the live events technicians of the future to degree level. I teach the next generation of visual professionals to interpret designs, visualise them digitally and bring them to life.
What are your skills and qualifications?
I have a Bachelors degree in Drama and Stage Technology from the Carnegie Mellon University in the US. I also have a Masters in Entertainment Technology, where I focused on using video game technology in live events.
I’m lucky I was in at the beginning of digital. Out of my study group, I am the only working in live events.
What personal characteristics do you have that help in your main role?
I love helping people achieve their dreams. I can help them understand from a professional’s point of view what the technical challenges of their live event are and how they can or cannot be overcome.
I am good at solving problems. I used to be a technical sales person – major corporates such as Jaguar Land Rover, BAE or Louis Vuitton would commission elaborate events – that helps when explaining to creatives how we are solving their challenges.
What has been your biggest personal success at Production Park?
I have two. Last year, I was commissioned to develop a workflow for a project for the World Trade Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan. It was an 80m-diameter sphere constructed of pixels. It took six months to develop working on designs of both 2D and 3D. We also developed the workflow so that it was built efficiently on site without us.
Second, the first cohort of students graduated from Backstage Academy. All of them are now working for major names in live events.
When you aren’t at work what do you do to relax?
I have two young children but when I do get free time I do acrobatics. One of my first jobs was with a circus where I helped create stunts balancing people. I thought I should have a go at balancing myself.
CV in Brief
Career to date: After developing lighting systems at Philips I worked at D3/Disguise, one of the world’s leading live events Media Server. Ever-more-complex live events lead me to Production Park.
Career ambition: Backstage Academy is establishing a research department. I want to do more R&D so the live industry can be more efficient. Innovation in technology is where the creative and live events sector is moving, and I want to be at the forefront of that development – just as the Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre in Sheffield helps other industries.