Washington DC Staff

The foundation of our organization begins with our staff – a richly talented group of professionals that are inspired by each other. Our producers and directors have “cut their teeth” in this business while touring with headline entertainment. Our staffing is by design – the best production techs in the world are those that have supported the highest levels of creative talent.

Pat Hand Sr. PRG Washington DC Staff Member

Patrick Hand Sr.

Senior Vice President of Business Development,
Corporate and Events

In January of 2016, Pat was promoted to the position of SVP of Business Development for the Corporate and Events Group. Pat's experience with the corporate direct client market and his years of experience creating memorable environments and experience for clients make him a natural fit in this role. Formerly serving as General Manager of PRG Washington DC since 2010, he focused primarily on business development. Patrick is a recognized expert in the production management and entertainment industries. Corporations, foreign dignitaries, political groups, government leaders, celebrities, non‐profit organizations and foundations have all sought out his expertise. His breadth of experience, spanning more than 27 years, is as diverse as the clients who retain him, whether for full‐scale production design, event management, entertainment procurement, conference and convention planning or technical supervision.

Pat has directed the production design, technical creation and stage management for events with Fortune 500 companies and the United States Government alike. From 1988 to 2008, he supervised numerous White House and Inaugural events, and from 2000 to 2003, he directed the technical design for the United States President's Dinners. He was Technical Consultant for the Republican National Convention in New York City in 2004, the Philip Morris Invitationals from 1995 forward, EDS National Meetings and C.R. Bard's Global Meetings. Over the years, he has produced The FDR Memorial Dedication, The Korean War Memorial Dedication , the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedication, The Women in Military Service of America Memorial, The Larry King Cardiovascular Gala, The German Reunification Celebration for President Bush and German Chancellor Helmut Cole, The NFL Unsung Heroes Awards, The Lombardi Cancer Gala, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Annual Ball, Lincoln Financial Global meetings, AOL Global meetings, Coca Cola 125th Anniversary, and numerous other high profile events.

Pat offers a unique combination of skills rarely seen in this industry, one that marries experience in production management with an understanding of the creative and artistic aspects of the entertainment industry. Pat’s own background as an accomplished musician, writer and producer enables him to secure headliner artists for his clients. He himself has albums, singles and development deals to his credit on CBS, A&M and ABC Records. He was the Musical Director for Lesley Gore and Brooke Benton and has toured with his band Alliance along with Rick Springfield, The Beach Boys, Loverboy and The Guess Who. His depth of knowledge ranges from concert audio, lighting and video production to entertainment, overall logistics and production design. In his role as CEO of PRG Washington, Pat’s focus will be on Corporate Meetings and Tradeshows and special events. He was Vice President of Global Artists Corporation for five years before he launched The International Entertainment Production Group in 1992. As President of IEP, he has secured countless artists for his clients including Billy Joel, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Tony Bennett, Reba McEntire, Huey Lewis, Michael McDonald, John Mellencamp, Tim McGraw, Seal, and numerous local and regional acts. Pat has served in various capacities for numerous charities spanning from a Board member for Children's Cancer, Corporations Against Drug Abuse, Larry King Cardiovascular Gala (Executive Committee), One Love Foundation, the Leukemia Ball (Executive Committee), Gelston Castle (Advisory Board) and is a major donor to CF & various cancer related charities.

Andrew Allen PRG Washington DC Staff

Andrew Allen

Project Manager

Andrew has been working in the audio visual industry for over 20 years. He has managed hundreds of events for corporate, government and health care industry’s. He had previously worked for IEP from 2005 until acquired by PRG in 2010 until present. While growing up, putting on theatre productions was a family business. His father owned “The New Theatre of Washington” and “The Ameircan Theatre” and has produced a number of Musicals. His mother is an accomplished pianist, playwright, songwriter who has written and co-written more than 10 Musicals.

Andrew started at a young age doing everything from building stage sets, hanging lights to running spotlight and working on the fly crew for musical productions. He later became involved in the hotel industry as audio visual technician, assistant manager and manager at different hotels in the Washington DC area.

Andrew was born in Washington DC but has also lived in Houston Texas and Cleveland Heights Ohio. He attended Virginian Union University as a Business Administration Major.

Tom Cahill PRG Washington DC Staff

Tom Cahill

Senior Executive Producer

Tom Cahill is a recognized leader in the events industry having a career as a top producer, technical director and production consultant and is well known in the entertainment and business industries. Over the last 30 years, he has produced national and international meetings, events and conventions.

Tom’s career started as a stagehand operating in Washington DC working on many well know events and he quickly moved into stage management and ultimately became an executive producer of live events.

Tom has expertise extending into a diverse spectrum as he has produced, directed and stage managed high-profile corporate events including three Republican National Conventions, The National Marine Corps Museum Dedication, The Magic Johnson Foundation’s 25th Anniversary, 2013 Presidential Inaugurals, BAE, Avon, Microsoft, ADT, Discovery Channel, CR Bard, Roche, Booz Allen Hamilton, Dimension Data and John Deere.

Tom has produced events in every major venue across the nation. His expertise in venue selection is rare - due to his operational skills, on-site experience, and knowledge of the local labor unions that tightly manage and control these locations. He delivers both a front-of-house and back-of-house perspective to our clients as they begin their process of venue selection.

Contact Dummy

Ben Carrizzo

Director of Sales and Entertainment Services

Ben Carrizzo is a well-known producer and talent agent with over 27 years of experience under his belt. He got his start at the prestigious William Morris Agency in New York, in the Personal Appearances Department representing top billing artists such as Kenny Loggins, Miami Sound Machine and The Temptations, among others.

He moved to Global Artists Corporation several years later and was Head of the Agency Division where he directed the careers of over 20 high-profile entertainers. In 1992, Ben started his own shop, Command Performance Entertainment, Inc., in order to manage and book performance dates specifically for headline artists. Some of the artists Ben has booked recently for PRG include The Midtown Men, Straight No Chaser, The Broadway Review, Ron Pearson and numerous others.

Prior to joining PRG, Ben worked alongside Pat Hand at IEP Events for over 20 years as their exclusive talent buyer.

Zack Fierman PRG Washington DC Staff

Zack Fierman

Audio Shop Technician

Joel Haffey PRG Washington DC Staff

Joel Haffey

Director, Lighting Division

Justin Hinerman PRG Washington DC Staff

Justin Hinerman

Regular Event Staff-Audio

Karla Hopkins PRG Washington DC Staff

Karla Hopkins

Executive Assistant

Karla brings over 15 years of administrative experience to PRG. Prior to joining PRG, Karla worked as an Administrative Assistant/Project Coordinator in the Engineering industry since 2001.

Born in Maryland, she was raised in Baltimore and currently resides there with her trusty rescue dog Muggsy.

John Hubler PRG Washington DC Staff

John Hubler

Executive Producer

Jim Kelley PRG Washington DC Staff

Jim Kelley

Vice President, Industry Relations/Association Channel Sales

In his role as Vice President, Industry Relations for PRG, Jim is actively engaged in leading the company’s sales team and industry relation efforts while also effectively managing a portfolio of events.

Jim is committed to supporting the professional growth of the industry and participates in PCMA both locally and nationally. He serves as Co-Chair of the PCMA Education Conference Task Force and is a member of the and Director of Education for the PCMA Capital Chapter Board of Directors. In 2014 he was honored by the PCMA as the “Distinguished Service Professional of the Year." Additionally he serves as as a Board Trustee of the Incentive Research Foundation and chairs their Education Committee. Internally he was honored in 2015 with PRG Presidents Award.

His ability to effectively align the needs of his clients’ events with their strategic organizational goals while understanding the nuances and trends of the meetings industry makes him a valued partner.

Pam Labarta PRG Washington DC Staff

Pam Labarta

Account Executive

Pamela Labarta joined PRG in July of 2014 as an Account Executive. Her experience and proven success in sales and business development has carried over to PRG where she is establishing new contacts and uncovering potential opportunities in the corporate market.

Before joining PRG, Pamela worked in hotel management specializing in sales and marketing. She has extensive knowledge of all facets of event planning and execution from large corporate conferences to intimate weddings. Pamela was a leader on her team, responsible for creating new marketing strategies and organizing sales blitzes. Her client base is compiled of several different markets, which has allowed her to generate immediate new business opportunities within PRG. She’s been in the event planning industry for over 15 years, and possesses over 10 years of administrative experience with several high-profile companies.

Pamela is a certified wedding planner and holds a degree in Business Administration. She is also certified in Marketing, Communications and Small Business Management. Born and raised in Maryland, Pamela lives outside of Baltimore with her husband and is very close with her family and friends.

John McLaughlin PRG Washington DC Staff

John McLaughlin

Producer/Audio Engineer

John started his career as a Audio Engineer with a Theatrical Ice Show called Holiday On Ice. The Theater company was based in Holland and toured through out Europe. After two years with Holiday on ice, John moved to NYC to pursue a career on Broadway. In 2004, John joined the PRG team in Mount Vernon formally known as ProMix. At that time PRG was the largest company servicing the Broadway clientele and making them a Union Shop as well. John became a Local one-stagehand union member in 2007. In addition to being a Audio Engineer with PRG, he was formally Trained by Sennheiser to become a wireless service and operating tech. His role at PRG was called a Sow Key. They serve as liaisons between the client in the shop and the Shop along with all the different departments. In addition to that role, he also worked on the NBC Today Show as the FOH Engineer for 5 years. He served as the mixing technician for bands such as James Taylor, Maroon Five, Chicago, Lady Gaga and Bon Jovi. He had the opportunity to travel to Japan with Celtic Women as the Monitor Engineer and RF tech.

He left PRG for about a year to take a job with PSAV in the corporate AV side of the industry. He was a Assistant Director to the highest grossing property in Maryland. He was also the lead Audio Engineer Production Resource Group.

He currently work as a producer and audio engineer at the PRG Washington, D.C. branch.

Mike Normandin PRG Washington DC Staff

Mike Normandin

Executive Producer

Mike has over 15 years of experience in producing business meetings, executive video shoots, video modules, live satellite broadcasts, web-site development, marketing programs, and web support.

Since joining IEP in 2001, Mike has been an Executive Producer in the Creative / Strategic Marketing Division. His projects included: the PowerStroke Diesel Truck Tour, numerous video projects for Ford Motor’s Executives, creative direction for INVESTools product education, CR Bard video modules, The Larry King Foundation, and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.

From 1992 to 1998, Mike was a Staff Producer for Caribiner International, where he produced many product launches for Ford Motor Company’s Worldwide Export Division around the globe. Those launches included locations such as: London, Cairo, Dubai, and Puerto Rico. Mike also produced the launches of the Ford Expedition in Arizona and Alaska, and the Lincoln Navigator SAE introduction in Washington DC. Not only was he a Producer for the Caribiner team, but he was also an integral part of the production support structure. He was the Line Producer for the annual Lincoln Mercury Intro Shows and an on-site representative for Ford’s purchasing division, as well as numerous other support roles.

Kevin Ponchock, PRG Washington D.C. Staff Member, President

Kevin Ponchock

General Manager, Washington D.C.

In early January 2016, Kevin was promoted to the position of General Manager of our DC location. Kevin served as our Operations Manager in D.C. since the integration of IEP. Previously, Kevin founded the Meeting Presentation Group (MPG) in 1997, then merged with PRG DC in 2001. Over the past 10 years he has molded the company into a multi‐million dollar business. His loyal list of clients is impressive and includes the major Institutes of NIH, PBS, , Lincoln Financial, Legg Mason and Northrup Grumman, among many others. After merging MPG with PRG DC, their combined assets increased to over $10 million, a figure that continues to grow under Kevin’s leadership.

Kevin’s 35 years of expertise in the Audio Visual industry began in the Hotel and Hospitality business. He has worked in all of the major hotels and convention centers in the United States. Kevin began as an in-house technician with Visual Aids Electronics before earning a Management Position in the Hotel Division of AudioVisual Inc, overseeing all the major properties in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area including The Hilton Washington, Omni Shoreham, Marriott Wardman Park and all Hyatt Hotels.

Kevin earned his Certified Public Accountant designation in 1988, working in the auditing and tax divisions for Deloitte & Touche and the Corporate Tax Division at Marriott Headquarters in the late 1980's. He also worked as the Comptroller for AudioVisual, Inc.

Kevin is a Graduate of the University of Maryland.

Russell Sanders PRG Washington DC Staff

Russell Sanders

Creative Director/Executive Producer

Russell brings a strong conceptual aptitude for creative and campaign development. Multi-media experience across all categories of communication. Writer, designer and producer of industry events. Agency experience, branding and identity development, strategic marketing campaigns and sales programs.

Extensive design throughout the category of event technology - bringing major events to life via multi-media presentations.

Russell oversees the development of the Creative and Marketing process for PRG Washington’s global client base. This division melds together the latest in technology for presentation, identifies new entertainment options, and develops creative and marketing solutions for the various client services. These include ideation, project design, multi-media development, executive support, graphics, scripting, scenic design and overall branding.

As a consultant and industry professional, his clients have included major corporations such as Coca-Cola, Under Armour, Univision, AOL, Booz Allen Hamilton, Lincoln Financial, BearingPoint, Dimension Data Americas, Huffington Post, Families United, BroadSoft, The Freedom Forum, and The U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

As an advertising executive on the West Coast for over ten years, he cut his teeth in the world of retail advertising, B2B marketing and supported sizable national campaigns.

Christ Schmidt PRG Washington DC Staff

Chris Schmidt

Director, Convention Services

Christian Schmidt, or Schmitty, as he is known in the industry, has recently started with PRG DC. Schmitty came to us from VAE which is headquartered in Germantown Maryland. For the past 8 years he has been the National Sales Manager with VAE focusing on new business and 3rd party client relations. In his tenure at VAE he was Manager of the month and Manager of the Quarter. In addition he was given the title of “Supplier of the Year” in 2010 from Experient Inc. This was due to his dedication of product awareness, creative design, and client retention through the Experient.

Before joining VAE, Schmitty worked at the Independent Petroleum Association of America in Washington DC. He was responsible for marketing and development of their Capital Markets Campaign. Here he took one conference of 350 people and turned it into 4 conference throughout the country focusing on capital fund raising for members and associates of new oil and gas shale in the greater United States, Alaska and Canada. When he left for VAE, Schmitty had help members of IPAA raise over 18 Million dollars of new revenue and resources for exploration and R&D through his Capital Market Campaign.

Prior to working at IPAA, Schmitty was the Manager of Marketing and Development at IEP-MPG. Here Schmitty worked with the White House, the Department of the Navy, the Republican National Convention as well as other high level Corporate and Association Clients. He was responsible for $1 mil dollars of new revenue per year. His focus was on large Association markets that were not being reached by the Larger and more established production companies.

Schmitty holds a B.S. in Economics from Clemson University and an M.B.A from Indiana Wesleyan University with a focus on Marketing and Business Development. In his spare time he enjoys golf, playing sports, and rooting for the Clemson Tigers. He is married to his wife Laura, and they enjoy the recent addition to their family Hamilton. Schmitty is a board member of the Clemson University Young Alumni and The Clemson University Charlotte Chapter Sports and Athletic Board. In addition he has served on the The Council for a Sustainable Local Economy of Cabarrus County (NC) and on the Triangle Society Young Executives (NC) where he is a mentor to new and upcoming business professionals.

Ryan Thresher PRG Washington DC Staff

Ryan Thresher

Shop Manager

Although new to the PRG staff, Ryan Thresher is not new to the entertainment industry having many years under his belt of live theatre, television, film and commercial events. Vermont native Ryan received his Associate of Science degree in Show Production and Touring from Full Sail University.

Most of Ryan's professional career has been spent on the road with various companies and productions, some of which are: Troika Entertainment (Ghost The Musical, First National Tour), PRG/IEP out of Washington DC (President Obama's Inarguable Ball, A.A.H.O.A Conference, 2013 Under Armor Fashion Show), Moo TV out of Nashville (Toby Keith’s Live in Overdrive Tour), Chaos Visual Productions out of Burbank, CA (Foo Fighter's Tour-360 Setup), I-Mag Video based out of Nashville, TN (Reba McEntire & Kelly Clarkson Tour), Premier Global Production out of Nashville, TN(Reba McEntire & Kelly Clarkson Tour), Morris Leasing, Inc (Big & Rich – 2006-2008), S2BN Entertainment (Yo Gabba Gabba! Live!)

Some of his Television credits include working with JHE Production Group in Harrisburg, NC (Sprint/NASCAR, Indy Race League), FOX Sports (NASCAR on FOX, NFL on FOX), NBC Sports (NASCAR ON NBC) and the ABC Network (CMA Awards Show, 2006-2010), just to name a few.

Beyond “Production Manager” Ryan has held a lot of titles in various technical aspects, such as Lead Lighting Tech, Master Electrician, Video Wall Tech, Hand-Held Camera Operator, FOH Camera Operator, Moving Light Tech, Lighting Crew Chief, Lead Vari-Lite tech, just to name a few. It's his extensive amount of experience in different areas that make him a strong production manager and leader, as well as his time management skills and ability to work under all sorts of pressure.

In any spare time Ryan could somehow accidentally get, he enjoys taking walks, amateur photography and being the funniest guy in the room.

Contact Dummy

Jim Thweatt

Director, Video Division

Jim’s roles as Director of Video with PRG include managing budget proposals and equipment allocations for events, overseeing freelance video labor, participating in site surveys, and providing on-location video production and internet technologies.

Jim has over 30 years’ experience in the entertainment and special events business. Before joining PRG Washington DC, Jim toured with a variety of artists including; the Backsteet Boys, Elton John, James Taylor, Kenny G and Journey. Jim began his career as an audio engineer with Opryland Productions, working on both theatrical stage and industrial shows. His diverse assignments included running sound for “Sing Tennessee” the official state production of the 1984 World’s Fair, installing the sound system for the General Jackson Showboat and audio engineer for Opryland’s only touring production. He later served as Opryland’s Scene Shop Foreman. Jim moved on to Vanderbilt University to serve as a Technical Director for the Special Events department, which hosted dance troupes, musical artists, plays, and other touring productions. During his tenure, Ted Koppel hosted a live evening of the Peabody award-winning “Nightline” and HBO filmed the star-studded “Chet Atkins and Friends: Music from the Heart” using campus locations. Jim began working in audio/video special events for several companies, becoming more focused on the newly emerging video technology. In the mid 90’s he began working in video production for touring acts.

Born and raised in Kingsport, Tennessee, Jim attended Georgia Institute of Technology and Middle Tennessee State University. He met his wife, Nancy, at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville. They have three sons and currently reside in Maryland.

Tim Warner PRG Washington DC Staff

Tim Warner

Director of Audio

Tim graduated from the Sheffield Institute for the Recording Arts in December of 2008, from their AudioWorks program with the highest GPA of his class and perfect attendance. Tim jumped at the opportunity to start his career with Innovative Event Production, being hired as their first Audio Warehouseman. He’s since moved up the ladder in the organization, all through the transition to PRG, to become the Director of Audio for the DC depot.

Tim leads a group of talented individuals who have a vast background mixing audio in all facets of production. He also has the phenomenal support from his staff in the warehouse, maintaining the audio gear, and ensuring the correct gear goes where it is needed.

Tim works with the Producers to come up with the best audio design for the scenario(s), and then works with his Audio Engineers to flesh out the entirety of the needed audio gear. He also works closely with his Audio Department Manager to ensure that all the gear is accounted for, and well maintained.

He was born and raised, and has never left the confines of Carroll County MD. He lives with his wife and two sons. His love of music spills over being just an audio engineer, as he is the drummer in a local band as well as his local church.

Back to top
Share link:

Thank you! We have forwarded the link.

Your information will not be divulged.
More in our Privacy Statement.

Not all mandatory fields have been filled out or the email address is not valid.