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TV Technology's 'The Watch List' 2020

Top row from left: Madeleine Noland, David Mazza, Aaron LaBerge, Grant Petty, Werner Vogels (markralston/Getty Images). Bottom row from left: Poppy Crum, PhD, Joe Inzerillo, Brinton Miller, Lisa Pedroso and John Mailhot.
Top row from left: Madeleine Noland, David Mazza, Aaron LaBerge, Grant Petty, Werner Vogels (markralston/Getty Images). Bottom row from left: Poppy Crum, PhD, Joe Inzerillo, Brinton Miller, Lisa Pedroso and John Mailhot. (Image credit: Future)

In an industry where content is king, the people behind the camera responsible for creating and delivering the content are often the “unsung heroes” of the show. As most viewers know, it takes an army of people to produce and deliver the best in television today. 

This year, we were reminded of their vital roles when COVID-19 forced media companies to adapt and improvise to the new normal of social distancing. “The show must go on” took on a whole new meaning.

Fortunately our industry was already well on the road to IP and cloud, and these capabilities have vastly improved the flexibility and efficiency required to produce by remote. This year provided the “trial by fire” that validated these tools that will impact the direction of our industry for years to come. 

Below, TV Technology focuses on the people who are making a difference in media technology, from acquisition to delivery and everywhere in between. These are the “ones to watch.”

1. Madeleine Noland, President, Advanced Television Systems Committee

2. David Mazza, Senior VP and Chief Technical Officer, NBC Sports Group and NBC Olympics

3. Aaron LaBerge, Executive VP & Chief Technology Officer, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

4. Grant Petty, Founder and CEO, Blackmagic Design

5. Werner Vogels, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Amazon Web Services

6. Poppy Crum, PhD, Chief Scientist, Dolby Laboratories, Adjunct Professor, Stanford University

7. Joe Inzerillo, CTO, Direct-to-Consumer Group, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, The Walt Disney Co.

8. Brinton Miller, Executive Vice President-Technology Strategy & Architecture, Discovery Inc.

9. Lisa Pedrogo, VP, N.Y. Engineering and Strategic Initiatives, WarnerMedia Global Broadcast Technology Services

10. John Mailhot, CTO & Director of Product Management, Infrastructure & Networking, Imagine Communications

Mark Aitken

Mark Aitken

11. Mark A. Aitken

SVP of Advanced Technology, Sinclair Broadcast Group, President, ONE Media 3.0

Aitken joined SBG in 1999 and is responsible for development and deployment of next-gen technologies such as ATSC 3.0. He leads Sinclair’s ONE Media 3.0 and is a board member of Saankhya Labs. Aitken also is a member of the AFCCE, IEEE and SMPTE and active participant in NAB, ATSC and other industry organizations. He is a recipient of multiple awards from Broadcasting & Cable, ATSC, TV Technology and NAB.

David Ross

David Ross

12. David Ross

CEO, Ross Video

Since Ross joined the company in 1991, it has grown into a global company with 900 employees making more than 15 acquisitions in the past 11 years. Along with live production products and solutions, Ross is now a full service packager creating content, operating a fleet of eight trucks, four flypacks and a new $4M studio. The company’s tech innovations has led to Ross receiving many awards, honors and degrees including an Emmy with his name on it.

Paul Shen

Paul Shen

13. Paul Shen

CEO, TVU Networks

Shen has 35 years in the TV industry. He’s a serial entrepreneur who has founded and built innovative companies targeting digital and IP-based video. Throughout his career, he’s been involved in developing HD video standards, ATSC, MPEG and video compression standards. He built TVU to help lead the evolution of the media supply chain by delivering innovative transmission technologies and data-driven workflows that use AI.

Richard Duke

Richard Duke

14. Richard Duke

Chief Cloud Solutions Architect, Avid

Duke is responsible for helping customers “cloudify” their workflows and infrastructure using Avid’s industry-leading tools, including the Nexis storage platform, Media Central solutions and Avid’s Creative Editing tools. Duke has been working in the film and broadcast industry for more than 20 years, and has developed and deployed some of the most industry-leading solutions in public and private clouds.

Glen Levine

Glen Levine

15. Glen Levine

President, NEP U.S. Broadcast Services

Levine is a leader in the television broadcast industry with more than 35 years of experience in engineering and management. He joined NEP in 2000, becoming president in 2014. Levine’s positive impact at NEP is reflected in his successful integration of key businesses to create NEP U.S. Broadcast Services, and in his creative business strategies. Known as a down-to earth, get-it-done leader, Levine oversees some of the biggest events worldwide and a team of more than 600 staff. 

Dr. Andrew Cross

Dr. Andrew Cross

16. Dr. Andrew Cross

President of R&D, Vizrt Group

In his tenure at NewTek as president and CTO, Cross oversaw the day-to-day operation of the company, establishing plans and strategy for the development of the full line of NewTek products. He has a Ph.D and has published more than 20 technical papers in peer-reviewed scientific conferences and journals. Cross is currently president of R&D for the newly formed Vizrt Group. 

Chuck Meyer

Chuck Meyer

17. Chuck Meyer 

Technology Fellow, Grass Valley

Meyer has contributed to numerous technology advances throughout his 30 years of developing products for the broadcast industry. His current focus is on virtualization of content creation workflows and development of the technology and tools necessary to enable them. He has held positions ranging from engineer to CEO; has published papers and articles, and co-authored “The Book” and derivative works. Meyer is a SMPTE Fellow, a recognized technology innovator and has been awarded more than 40 patents.

Dr. Eric R. Fossum

Dr. Eric R. Fossum

18. Dr. Eric R. Fossum 

John H. Krehbiel Sr. Professor for Emerging Technlogies, Dartmouth College

Fossum invented and commercialized the CMOS active-pixel image sensor with intrapixel charge transfer as part of his work at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, which is the basis of 30 billion cameras so far. He is a device physicist, entrepreneur and now a professor of engineering at Dartmouth. He has received honors including the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering and election to the National Academy of Engineering.

Gary Demos

Gary Demos

 19. Gary Demos

Founder, CEO, Image Essence

Demos has pioneered the development of computer-generated images and digital image processing for use in motion pictures, and was awarded an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scientific and Engineering Award along with John Whitney Jr., “For the Practical Simulation of Motion Picture Photograph By Means of Computer-Generated Images.” He is currently researching the quanta image sensor. Demos also founded DemoGraFX. He earned the AMPAS 2005 Gordon Sawyer Oscar for lifetime technical achievement, and is a SMPTE Fellow.

Stephen Balogh

Stephen Balogh

20. Stephen Balogh

Technology Policy Specialist of Content Protection Technologies, Intel

Protecting content from piracy is an essential and necessary element in the age of digital media. Balogh has played an important role in developing the technologies behind HDCP, (high bandwidth digital content protection), a specification developed by Intel to protect digital entertainment content across digital interfaces. He is also president of Digital Content Protection LLC, an organization that licenses technologies for protecting premium commercial entertainment content and received a 2014 Technical & Engineering Emmy Award for this achievement.

Katie Hinsen

Katie Hinsen

21. Katie Hinsen

Executive Producer, DI and Dailies, Nice Shoes

Hinsen is an award-winning post-production executive with a background as a finishing artist, engineer, editor, VFX artist and colorist. She brings her expertise to bear in building, launching and running post-production facilities globally, and is engaged in exploring and researching the technical innovations transforming the entertainment industry. Hinsen is a mentor for emerging talent, and the cofounder of Blue Collar Post Collective. She is building and developing digital intermediate and dailies facilities across North America.

Richard M. Friedel

Richard M. Friedel

22. Richard M. Friedel

EVP, Corporate Engineering, Fox Television Stations Group

Friedel supports Fox’s 29 local stations throughout the U.S. and is overseeing their rollout of ATSC 3.0. Previously, he headed Fox Network Engineering & Operations, responsible for the technical operations of the national and regional television businesses. Early on at Fox, he helped launch Fox News Channel. Friedel is a SMPTE Fellow and life member of IEEE. In 2018, he was awarded a lifetime achievement Emmy by the National Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Renard Jenkins

Renard Jenkins

23. Renard Jenkins

VP, Content Transmission & Production Technology, WarnerMedia

Jenkins oversees teams that support global television and feature film productions and provides production technologies including studio and production applications, IT, production pipeline workflows and more. His teams manage the technical strategy, content acquisition, IP infrastructure and site connectivity for live events including sports, entertainment and news for all WarnerMedia brands. He has more than 30 years of experience at companies including PBS, TV One and Discovery.

Mike Strein

Mike Strein

24. Mike Strein

Director, Engineering & Technology, ABC TV Networks/ABC News

Strein has spent the last 30 years with ABC News. He has overseen the transformation from analog to digital, from SD to HD and now from SDI to IP, and has been in the forefront of most technical advances at the network. Strein has more than 50 Disney Inventor awards, which have resulted in more than 30 U.S. patents. He is a SMPTE Fellow and currently on the board of AMWA.

Michelle Munson

Michelle Munson

25. Michelle Munson

Co-Founder & CEO, Eluvio

Munson leads Eluvio, which was awarded the 2020 Engineering Excellence Award by the HPA. She previously founded Aspera in 2004 and was CEO until 2017, including through acquisition by IBM in 2014. She created the Aspera FASP transport technology, an Emmy Award-winning technology used in the digital media supply chains for high-speed, low-cost secure digital content transport. She holds several patents and is a SMPTE Fellow.