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Huntly Christie
Huntly Christie
CEO
According to Huntly, his job is defined as "determining the future of Christie Lites and taking action to make sure that future happens". He is a big believer in the importance of focus and constantly looks at ways to simplify the company, tighten its operations and innovate.
Full Bio
Huntly Christie

Huntly Christie

CEO
According to Huntly, his job is defined as "determining the future of Christie Lites and taking action to make sure that future happens". He is a big believer in the importance of focus and constantly looks at ways to simplify the company, tighten its operations and innovate. Currently he spends his time on the company's infrastructure with numerous enjoyable side trips to connect with clients.

Beginnings......

In the early '80's Huntly was trying to make a living playing the drums in a rock band. As was the case with many drummers working the club circuit, his responsibilities included loading trucks, setting up sound and lighting equipment and helping out with a variety of production details.

After a fun but unsuccessful attempt to build a career as a musician, Huntly turned his attention to the stage lighting industry. In 1985 at the age of 25, he founded Christie Lites in a small garage at his father's house in Toronto, Canada.

At its inception Christie Lites was the only company in the Toronto area dedicated exclusively to stage lighting. Huntly's narrow focus on this singular aspect of the production market intensified the company's growth such that in the span of 13 years Christie Lites emerged as Canada's largest and most successful stage lighting company.

In 1998 Huntly made the decision to move himself and his family to Orlando, Florida so he could expand the company and establish the first American presence for Christie Lites. Since his arrival in the US, Huntly has been active in establishing six more shops (Dallas in 2000, Seattle in 2001, New York in 2008, Las Vegas in 2010, Nashville in 2012 and Chicago in 2014).

Huntly's focus and determination have supported his efforts to expand Christie Lites beyond North America and into the United Kingdom.
Christie Lites Coventry established in 2017.
Huntly is pleased to welcome our United Kingdom colleagues and excited about the future and global opportunities to further support our valued clients around the world.

Ken Alexander
Ken Alexander
VP Rentals
Ken's stage lighting career spans 54 years now, not bad for someone born in 1957.

After starting behind the scenes in elementary school, Ken worked backstage through high school and college and eventually graduated with honors from the Theatre Department of Western Washington University. During University, Ken spent time at the Julliard School and Minnesota Opera.
Full Bio
Ken Alexander

Ken Alexander

VP Rentals

Ken's stage lighting career spans 54 years now, not bad for someone born in 1957.

After starting behind the scenes in elementary school, Ken worked backstage through high school and college and eventually graduated with honors from the Theatre Department of Western Washington University. During University, Ken spent time at the Julliard School and Minnesota Opera. After graduation he returned home to Vancouver where his college interest in dance (and dancers) was the ticket to his next engagement.

Ken was LD and TD for various groups including The National Ballet of Canada, Ballet British Columbia, The Anna Wyman Dance Theatre and others. These groups offered many years of international touring and a chance to see the world on someone else’s dime. While at home, various regional TD, PM, and LD projects led to Ken’s first rental client base.

In 1991, while in Toronto as a guest LD for the National Ballet, Ken met Huntly Christie and the original CL team. After a successful premiere Huntly and Ken shook hands and agreed to stay in touch. Thus was born the idea of expanding Christie Lites beyond its home city.

Christie Lites Vancouver officially opened in 1992 with Ken as one of the founding partners. During the early years he continued to tour as Production Electrician for the national company of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat while back home the CLV family grew and prospered.

After being a partner for many years Ken is now the VP of Rentals for Christie Lites. He still spends much of his time on the road - between the CL network offices and the company’s wide-ranging show-sites. His primary focus is supporting the Rental Rep team and their continually expanding client relationships.

Home is just outside of Vancouver, Canada - with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. Personal time off includes trips to Seahawks and Mariners games and exploring the world with his wife Tracy. They are between dogs at the moment, but on the hunt for the next member of their ‘pack’.

"I continue to enjoy the gifts of good health, good friends, and good luck. Being able to work for so long in my chosen field and to combine a creative life and continually growing business opportunities while living in such an incredible corner of the world - is all that I could ever ask for.”



Dan Souwand
Dan Souwand
VP Operations
Before working with Christie Lites Dan worked at several regional theaters around Ontario such as Victoria Playhouse Petrolia, Huron Country Playhouse and Sudbury Theatre Center.
Full Bio
Dan Souwand

Dan Souwand

VP Operations
Before working with Christie Lites Dan worked at several regional theaters around Ontario such as Victoria Playhouse Petrolia, Huron Country Playhouse and Sudbury Theatre Center.

Dan's first contact with Christie Lites was an interview in the early 90s with Huntly for a job as a salesman. Not wanting to tie himself to a desk at that time Dan declined the job only to be contacted a few weeks later by Huntly with the offer of a tour in Northern Ontario. Who could resist 2 months in a cube van in the winter traveling from Kenora to Iroquois Falls"

After this first run of shows he never looked back taking any and every gig that Christie would send his way. He spent the next 8 years doing every thing from sweeping the shop floor to touring around the world with Julio Iglesias and Harry Connick Jr. Somewhere along the road Dan decided it was time to trade in his bunk for the comfort of his own bed (Queen sized with matching sheets that he never has to wonder whether the driver actually washed).

The timing could not have been better. The position of Operations Manager in the Toronto Office became available and Dan jumped at the opportunity. Ironically the job included the desk that Dan had traveled thousands of kilometers to avoid.

In 2006 opportunity knocked again. This time it was the position as the Head of Operations. The chance to work with the Operations Managers to build the strongest, most efficient operations team seemed too good to be true.

He currently lives in Toronto with his wife Kirsten and son Zie. In his spare time Dan is working on a cure for the common cold and a perpetual motion machine. Unfortunately, Dan now has even less spare time than he did as the CLT Operations Manager.

Claudia Pfaffinger
Claudia Pfaffinger
Chief Operating Officer
Claudia’s interest in business started at a very early age. While still in grade school she learned about profitability by deciding to be a rep for a national catalogue order business. While in high school she was GM of a profitable business venture with the Junior Achievement program.
Full Bio
Claudia Pfaffinger

Claudia Pfaffinger

Chief Operating Officer
Claudia’s interest in business started at a very early age. While still in grade school she learned about profitability by deciding to be a rep for a national catalogue order business. While in high school she was GM of a profitable business venture with the Junior Achievement program.

Claudia joined Christie Lites at the beginning of 2010 and has never looked back. After spending 20 plus years in senior financial management roles in both private and public companies within professional and financial services, technology or manufacturing, she finds the energy and culture at Christie Lites refreshing.

As leader of the accounting and human resources groups, Claudia helps to enable Christie’s vision and strategy by managing priorities, aligning resources and building teams that value and deliver excellence, consistency, accountability and transparency.



Joel Van Netten
Joel Van Netten
VP Show Management
Joel began his technical theatre career at the tender age of sixteen under the guise of a sound technician for such musicals as Bye Bye Birdie and Fame, the musical. From the beginning, he was hooked.
Full Bio
Joel Van Netten

Joel Van Netten

VP Show Management
Joel began his technical theatre career at the tender age of sixteen under the guise of a sound technician for such musicals as Bye Bye Birdie and Fame, the musical. From the beginning, he was hooked.

After a short but sweet stint as a student at Ryerson University's Technical Theatre program, Joel landed a job working in the warehouse at Christie Lites Toronto.

His next step was to move from prepping the shows to teching the shows. Joel started his show tech career with a cross Canada tour with Jann Arden. From there, the gigs kept on coming. From Barrage to The Barenaked Ladies; from The Much Music Video Awards to the Wow Awards, Joel has excelled in the capacities of dimmer tech, crew chief, and operator.

Now Joel has moved forward again, accepting a role as Operations Manager for the Toronto shop of Christie Lites. Here he hopes to combine experiences as a technician and his years in the Christie Lites organization to overcome any challenges that come his way.

Paul Dhingra
Paul Dhingra
VP of Software Development
Paul's career began in 1989, when at the age of 17, he decided to force his way into Radio. By repeatedly and continuously calling the request lines at Toronto radio station CFNY (several times a day for over 6 months), he was eventually given a daily 30 second bit on the morning show, followed by a brief internship in the music department.
Full Bio
Paul Dhingra

Paul Dhingra

VP of Software Development
Paul's career began in 1989, when at the age of 17, he decided to force his way into Radio. By repeatedly and continuously calling the request lines at Toronto radio station CFNY (several times a day for over 6 months), he was eventually given a daily 30 second bit on the morning show, followed by a brief internship in the music department. 2 weeks later, Paul was hired as Assistant Music Director, a position he would hold for the next 4 years. During his time in the music department, Paul branched out to learn about many aspects of running a radio station, and had the opportunity to participate in activities such as on-air production, studio/commercial production, and on-air hosting.

In 1992, Paul started Club 102 the first time that music of this type was played in a nightclub of this size, and the first time a show like that was broadcast on the radio. Paul DJ'd on Saturday nights at the Phoenix for the next 7 years. Shortly thereafter, similar shows (also with music chosen, mixed, and played by Paul) were started on Fridays at the Kingdom in Burlington, and Sundays at Whiskey Saigon - Retro 80's night. (Incidentally, all of these shows continue to be broadcast today).

In 1994, Paul decided to DJ full time, and started his company Music Sucks. By the end of 1994, he was working in nightclubs in downtown Toronto and across Southern Ontario, 6 nights/week. He was also often doing extra gigs after his nightclub gigs at raves and after-parties.

Also in 1994, Paul began his career as a professional skydiver. It wasn't long before Paul became an instructor, and progressed to many different areas of the sport, including everything from teaching first-time jumpers to freefly (sit, stand, head-down) coaching at a higher level. Paul participated (and won a few medals) in several competitions. He then became interested in demo-jumping, went through the difficult licensing process, and was hired to do things like commercials, and jumping into Air Shows, Football Games, and Ontario Place. Paul has jumped out of over 30 types of aircrafts, including helicopters and hot-air balloons, in many places throughout North America.

In 1999, after the birth of Paul's son Koen, he decided to change careers (jumping out airplanes and hanging out at nightclubs until 5am wasn't really appropriate anymore), and found Christie Lites through a lighting operator at a nightclub as well as one of his skydiving students. Paul taught himself how to run computer networks, was hired as IT Manager, and left the world of radio, nightclubs, and skydiving behind.

After completely redesigning Christie Lites' computer network, Paul implemented many new systems, both hardware and software, to support Christie Lites Toronto's business operations. He then continued to make changes and upgrades, and, not satisfied with working with one office, he expanded the department to cover all Christie Lites locations.

During this time, Paul learned the intricacies of software development, including everything from Clipper to SQL to .net web services, and was recently named Christie Lites' Systems and Software Development Manager. Paul and his department are responsible for several exciting areas of growth for Christie Lites, including data warehousing, data mining, and procedural/operational development.

Paul lives in Mississauga with his girlfriend Colleen, and their children Kyle, Danielle, Andrew, Koen, and Gabriel (that's right, there's five of them, but they haven't realized they outnumber us yet). And two cats, and a dog too!



Karina Mendoza
Karina Mendoza
VP Purchasing
Karina considers herself a native Floridian despite being born in Queens, NY because her family moved to Orlando when she was very young. She considers the move a blessing because her Colombian blood cannot handle the cold weather or snow!
Full Bio
Karina Mendoza

Karina Mendoza

VP Purchasing
Karina considers herself a native Floridian despite being born in Queens, NY because her family moved to Orlando when she was very young.  She considers the move a blessing because her Colombian blood cannot handle the cold weather or snow!
 
From a young age, Karina was always very driven. At age 14, she started an internship at an attorney’s office.  By the end of the summer, the attorney hired Karina over a full-time paralegal because he loved her dedication and work ethic. By the age of 16, she had graduated from High School and by 18, she had her Associates degree in Business from Valencia Community College.
 
Although Karina enjoyed her time at the legal firm, she decided she wanted to explore the world of International Business.   International Business always interested her, and she felt it would be the perfect combination of travel, vendor relationships, and contract negotiations. Karina began working various jobs to hone her skills and gain the experience that the college classroom just couldn’t offer her. In late 2009, she decided to put college on hold when she and her husband decided they wanted to start a family. Karina credits her first daughter, Liana for giving her a good excuse to leave college behind!
 
After having her second daughter, Karina decided she wanted to rejoin the work force. Having several years of experience in Trucking and Logistics, Karina pursued an opportunity with Christie Lites, who was building its new Transportation Team and looking for Trucking Coordinators. Karina was determined to get her foot in the door and work hard to prove her value.  Karina quickly learned and thrived in this new environment.  Christie Lites ended up being the perfect fit for Karina, and she fit right in with its result-driven, no-nonsense culture. After running the Transportation Department, Karina took on more responsibility, including the Purchasing Department where she found her niche! In 2017, after being with Christie Lites for 5 years, she became the Vice President of Purchasing.  Karina truly enjoys what she does every day and feels that her career has come full circle.   She has found a place where she gets to pursue her passion of Business and gets to travel, negotiate, and build lasting business relationships.
 
When Karina is not working she dedicates all her time to her family, especially her two daughters, Liana and Aliyah.  She loves every minute of raising them and watching them grow. So all the time spent taking them to school, dance classes and other activities is well worth it to her.

Shane Gillespie
Shane Gillespie
VP Information Technologies
Shane Gillespie began his technology career eighteen years ago in the United States Marine Corps. Shane was stationed at Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity at Camp Pendleton, California.
Full Bio
Shane Gillespie

Shane Gillespie

VP Information Technologies

Shane Gillespie began his technology career eighteen years ago in the United States Marine Corps. Shane was stationed at Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity at Camp Pendleton, California where he served as a network engineer supporting various Windows, UNIX, and Banyan Vines servers and Cisco-based networks.

After serving four years in the military, Shane and his family moved back to Orlando, Florida where he began working as a systems engineer in the timeshare industry. After a year in the timeshare industry, Shane began working for a consulting firm providing network and system support to large organizations including Hughes Supply and Watkins Truck Lines. 

Shane comes to Christie Lites from Tempus Resorts International where he served as the technical architect for over twelve years. Shane was responsible for the design, installation, and support of the company’s technology infrastructure. During his tenure, the company grew from a single office location with fifty employees to a multi-location enterprise with over twelve hundred employees, fifty servers and five hundred desktop computers.

Shane currently lives in Davenport, FL with his wife Kimberly and their three children Brady, Brett and Brandy. He enjoys playing guitar and drums with his two teenage boys and spoiling his wife and daughter.




Chet Barrows
Chet Barrows
VP Transportation
Growing up in the family wholesale distribution business in Rhode Island, Chet has always been in logistics environments. His Dad taught him how to drive a forklift before he could even reach the pedals! Since then, Chet has accumulated over 25 years in the industry striving to learn different aspects.
Full Bio
Chet Barrows

Chet Barrows

VP Transportation

Growing up in the family wholesale distribution business in Rhode Island, Chet has always been in logistics environments.  His Dad taught him how to drive a forklift before he could even reach the pedals!  Since then, Chet has accumulated over 25 years in the industry striving to learn different aspects.  Roles have included pushing brooms, picking orders, making deliveries, sales, and management on both the shipper and carrier side.  Chet's “walk in their shoes” approach helps him (eventually) understand how everything fits together.

Chet loves streamlining, earning the nickname of “shortcut” his first job out of college.  He believes in transparent measurement and sharing of information (good and bad) with a smart deployment of technology. The idea is to reduce busy work so team members can deal with exceptions and add value.  If someone says “We’ve always done it this way” Chet hears opportunity.  

Chet's most satisfying accomplishments are the relationships built throughout the years because people make the difference.  Team members who are engaged and empowered produce results everyone is proud of.  Supporting them with better systems improves performance even more, and Chet likes to explore technology and software from a user’s perspective.  He also feels strongly in the value of tying together company and personal goals to make work meaningful.  In the end, his goal is to support the team by getting things out of their way.  

After living in the DC area for several years, Chet’s wife and two children have been enjoying Florida for over 10 years.  Free time is spent at various sporting events and pursuing a renewed effort of health and fitness.  For fun he enjoys wearing his Gronkowski jersey and being harassed by Patriots haters.  Someday he hopes to be tall enough to reach the pedals. 

 One random favorite quote:  "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right." -Henry Ford