Peter Chernack (The Chernack Group), Chair of the TEA Past Presidents Committee, writes:
While some may not be familiar with the TEA’s 2013 Distinguished Service Award honoree, it is more than likely that she knows who you are and all about your company’s work. Judy Rubin has served as the TEA’s Communications Director since 2005 when George Wiktor introduced her to Gene Jeffers and recommended that she work on the Association’s publications and communications. Today, Judy serves as a freelance staffer, handling the TEA’s signature publications such as the Annual Directory and Thea Awards Program as well as the Association’s social media presence, including TEA Facebook pages, the TEA LinkedIn group (with over 3,000 members), TEA Twitter accounts and the SATE & Summit blogs. She also edits the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index, handles key press releases and promotes the Association and its members in every aspect of her work.
Judy grew into one of the most articulate and insightful voices of our industry after joining the staff of World’s Fair magazine, published by Alfred Heller in San Francisco in the late 1980s. This boutique quarterly was a leader in covering Expo projects as well as theme parks, museums, AV technology, giant screen cinema, motion simulation, special effects and more. With Judy’s involvement, World’s Fair developed into one of the more unique and highly regarded trade magazines of its time.
Judy never misses an IAAPA show. Her first was in 1990 where she organized a booth for World’s Fair. She went on to attend many more, and other trade events like ASTC and AAM, becoming well versed in the industry and what she likes to refer to as “the art of shmoozing.” (She’s known for having had the word “shmoozing” on her business card.) Among those in her growing network were Monty Lunde and his company, Technifex. Not long after Monty formed the TEA in 1991, Judy began writing articles about the fledgling Association. One of the reasons she liked TEA so much, Judy tells us, is that it led to formation of the high-tech area at IAAPA, which made it easy to find the companies she was interested in.
In the mid1990s Judy set out on her own as a freelancer. She contributed a monthly column to IAAPA’s Funworld, and wrote many articles for At-the-Park and Film Journal International. She was the themed entertainment editor for Pat MacKay’s top-notch Entertainment Design magazine for several years. Eventually she teamed up with Marty Palicki, publisher of InPark Magazine, where she continues to work today as co-editor. She is also the go-to person for stories on the TEA and themed entertainment for other trade magazines such as Lighting&Sound America and Sound & Communications. (Which she says has taught her how underappreciated most designers are in the lighting, AV, acoustics, rigging and theater communities.)
In addition to her editorial work, Judy is a publicist, and over the years has worked directly with many companies, including TEA members SimEx-Iwerks, Mad Systems, Entertainment Design Corp., Cinnabar, JRA, Thorburn Associates and FUNA, among others.
Judy has also handled communications and publications for the Large Format Cinema Association, working with founder Chris Reyna for the group’s first five years. And in 2008, she became the Communications Director of IMERSA, a new association that is all about immersive cinema experiences. She says she likes to work with associations because “It’s exciting to work for a whole industry and everyone in it.” She tells us that one of the most enjoyable aspects is the opportunity to cross-promote and foster industry relationships from one trade group to another, as well as within them.
Judy is originally from Detroit, Michigan and currently lives in Saint Louis, although she spent many years living on the east coast and then the west coast. Her creative background with art, music, writing and crafts seems to have uniquely suited her to what she does today, and reminds us that everybody used to do something else. She has a BFA from Pratt Institute in New York City, and spent a lot of time in those formative years making sketches of famous swing musicians at the West End jazz club. There, she says she learned the basics of PR writing from assisting manager Phil Schaap, who is now curator of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Judy is also an accomplished knitwear designer, and before joining World’s Fair, she was assistant editor of a knitting magazine.
Today Judy applies her multitude of talents to knit together engaging stories of the creators of compelling places and experiences, and to foster the sharing of information and the building of relationships in our relationship-based industry. Judy’s work has helped to capture and document the art, science and imagination of our industry for a global community – and help to put our work into context so that it can be more fully appreciated by a wider audience. Our Association is enhanced by Judy’s many contributions and we are grateful for all that she does on our behalf. Congratulations on this well-deserved honor!
About TEA’s Distinguished Service Award
The Distinguished Service Award is presented annually at the Thea Awards Gala, in recognition of a TEA member’s outstanding contributions “above & beyond the call of duty” to Association. Nominations are open to the TEA membership; the final selection of the recipient is made by majority vote of the TEA Past Presidents Committee and approved by the TEA International Board of Directors.