Lights! Camera! Banjo!

Meet Mark Bauserman, Executive Director Engineering, Paramount Pictures Corp. Bauserman is a brilliant lighting engineer, a fascinating story teller, and a superior facility planner who knows exactly what he wants from buildings, systems, equipment, and personnel.


Who: Mark Bauserman

What: Executive Director Engineering, Paramount Pictures Corp.

Where: Los Angeles, CA

Why: Bauserman is a brilliant lighting engineer, a fascinating story teller, and a superior facility planner who knows exactly what he wants from buildings, systems, equipment, and personnel. And, he plays the banjo.

About: As one of several engineering students who was a frustrated theater buff, he was the first unofficial graduate of a concept program in Theatre Engineering at Michigan Tech University. Back then, engineering began to play a larger role in live theater production due to the increased use of computers and process controls for lighting and rigging—skills that a Liberal Arts degree wouldn’t cover. He later worked for Strand Lighting, a theatrical, motion picture, and TV lighting manufacturer, and then Paramount, which was introducing new lighting technologies because it was getting more involved in TV production. Bauserman has been with Paramount for 28 years.

Q. When you first wanted to be something in life, what was it?

A. In junior high shop class, I discovered that I liked to draw and build things. Then I was given the opportunity to run the lighting for a high school play. After those experiences, I found that I had a gift for lighting. In fact, I say that lighting design is why I was put on the planet.

Q. What helped to keep you on that path?

A. As a frustrated theatre buff at Michigan Tech University, I and other engineering students were given the opportunity to do all the behind-the-scenes theater work from design through execution. Since we had no theater, we would do shows in an ROTC gym, a supper club, and the Calumet Theatre near the campus. It gave us a lot experience in adapting to different environments, and it helped me get my first after-college job as the Lighting Technical Director for Theatre Memphis in Memphis, Tenn.

Q. What life adventure do you have yet to accomplish?

A. To crew on a tall ship, build a log cabin, and play banjo in a family band.

Q. What is working well for the engineering profession?

A. The evolution of the commissioning field. Defining a project up front, managing the design against the definition, and testing to prove it meets the criteria. It is the upfront work that is the most critical.

Q. What is not working well for the engineering profession?

A. The quality of training available for engineers. The best engineers worked in the field with the tools early in their careers. Starting in a trade to learning what you need to know, then going to school to get the classroom training, makes for the best education.

Q. What makes you laugh?

A. The sound of my son laughing with glee.

Q. What gets under your skin?

A. When I make mistakes. It’s the perfectionist curse.

Q. What do you look forward to at the end of the day?

A. Playing catch with my son and sitting in front of a crackling wood fire, watching a good movie with my wife.

Q. What do you wonder about?

A. I wonder what the world will be like when my son enters the workforce. As with the World War II “greatest generation” that protected us from world domination, I think that my 9-year-old son will be part of the next greatest generation. His generation will have to solve the world environmental and social problems our generation has created.

Q. What do you remind yourself of often?

A. To listen more, talk less, and count the good things that happen.

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