Kirk Imamura, President / Director
Kirk Imamura has over 18 years experience in the consumer electronics industry working for Sony Corporation. Kirk has a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from San Diego State University. He has engineering and management experience in equipment design, software development, large scale manufacturing operations, product development and strategic & business planning. Since leaving Sony, Kirk has spent 13 years in the music industry successfully running and guiding the operations of Avatar Studios in New York as President. During his tenure, the studio has been awarded five TEC Awards for Outstanding Creative Achievement. Kirk’s well-rounded management experience, people skills, technical background and marketing abilities are well-suited for leading a business to the next level.
Sherri Tantleff, Director
Sherri Tantleff has been passionate about the audio industry for over 25 years. She was Studio Manager/VP of Operations at Manhattan’s audio post facility, Sync Sound for 16 years. Currently, she is Industry Outreach Manager for Full Sail University. There she’s a national liaison to the audio and entertainment business industries bringing professionals together to address issues regarding curriculum, employment and technology. She attends many industry conferences and events including AES, NAB, Grammy Week and NAMM. Sherri is a member of the Recording Academy, ASCAP, and has a Bachelors of Music Business degree from the University of Miami.
Kevin Becka, Director
Kevin Becka has been in the audio industry for over 20 years, starting as a recording engineer with credits ranging from Kenny G, George Benson, Quincy Jones and more. He’s also been the editor of Pro Audio Review, Audio Media USA and is currently the technical editor of Mix magazine where he edits and writes product reviews and features. He is the Director of Education at the Conservatory of Recording Arts in Arizona, a member of AES, SPARS, a voting member of NARAS and an ASCAP writer.
Trevor Fletcher, Director
An industry veteran for over two decades, Fletcher has worked in numerous capacities for Miami’s Criteria Recording Studios. After the purchase of the facility by New York’s Hit Factory in 1999, he was appointed GM/VP of newly formed Hit Factory Criteria. Fletcher is a former two-term president of The Recording Academy (NARAS) Florida Chapter, and currently serves on the National Board of Trustees. In addition to volunteering on local & national academy committees, events and the TEC Awards nominating body, Fletcher has credits as engineer or production coordinator for artists as diverse as 2 Live Crew, Julio Iglesias, Al Di Meola, Missy Elliott, and Gloria Estefan. Fletcher continues to expand the national and international reputation of the studio and the Miami recording community.
Scott Phillips, Director
Scott Phillips, Studio Manager at Blackbird Studios, was born and raised in Jacksonville , FL. In 1996, after graduating from Full Sail Center for the Recording Arts in Orlando , Scott moved to Nashville and began building his career in the recording industry. Starting as an intern at Masterfonics, he quickly proved himself to be management material, landing the position of Studio Coordinator after just five months. A promotion to Studio Manager soon followed and with the merger of Masterfonics and Emerald Sound Studios in 1999, Scott once again found himself at the helm, eventually becoming Vice President of the Studio Division of the largest recording complex in the Southeast. In 2005, Scott was recruited by John McBride to manage Blackbird Studios, which is owned by McBride and his multi-platinum recording artist wife Martina. Being involved with Nashville ‘s newest state of the art recording facility has proven to be an exciting opportunity and he looks forward to an incredible future at the creatively inspired recording complex. Scott is a member of Leadership Music’s Class of 2006, NAPRS (Nashville Association of Professional Recording Services), AES (Audio Engineering Society) and serves on the board of SPARS (The Society of Professional Audio Recording Services). In his spare time he enjoys golf, basketball, Titans football, and spending time with his family.
Mark Rubel, Director
Mark Rubel has made about a thousand recordings at his Champaign IL Pogo Studio: Hum, Alison Krauss, Rascal Flatts, Adrian Belew, Melanie, Luther Allison, Henry Butler; RCA, Capitol, Warner, Jive/Zomba, etc. Mark belongs to SPARS, AES, NARAS, ASCAP, MEIEA, EARS, and other acronyms. Having taught Audio Technology to thousands of students, he is Audio Director for Eastern Illinois University’s $65 million Doudna Arts Center.
Mark interviewed Les Paul, Terry Manning and others for Tape Op Magazine, and acts as panelist, consultant, beta tester and expert witness. He plays many instruments badly and sings worse, and is ridiculously happy cultivating songs, students and cats with his saintly wife Nancy.
Candace Stewart, Director
Candace Stewart is an industry veteran with over 20 years experience in Recording Studio management. She has managed such facilities as Take One Recording, Red Zone, Soundcastle Studios, and Firehouse Studios.
Prior to coming on board at EastWest Studios in Hollywood, Candace managed Cello Studios which was located in the same building, and was converted into EastWest Studios by design superstar Philippe STARCK.
She has worked with artists in all genres of music from the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna, Ice Cube, and Snoop Dogg to film composers, Jerry Goldsmith and Paul Williams.
In her tenure as a manager she has seen many technological changes in the industry but her commitment remains the same: to facilitate artists and all those who create music in any way possible.
Zoe Thrall, Director
Zoe Thrall is the Director of the Studio at the Palms, located at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Her 30 years in the industry started at the legendary Power Station studios in New York City where she was an assistant engineer working with such artists as Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith and many others. It was at Power Station studios where she met producer/musician Little Steven Van Zandt, whom she subsequently worked with for 11 years as engineer, touring musician, and eventually in artist management.
In 1992 she returned to Power Station studios as Studio Manager and oversaw the transition between ownership to Avatar Studios where she was President. She later joined Hit Factory studios as General Manager and in 2005 moved to Las Vegas to manage the Studio at the Palms. In addition to her directorship in SPARS, she is a voting member of NARAS and sits on the advisory board of the Producers and Engineers Wing. She has been a member of the Audio Engineering Society for 34 years, and is a two-time chair of the AES Convention in New York City.
Paul Christensen, Ex Officio
Paul Christensen is the new Executive Director of SPARS. He was recruited to head a new program to expand the SPARS mission to better serve members of the recording community, facility owners, producers and engineers. SPARS new slogan is Mentoring the next Generation. SPARS is the 34 year old non profit association representing professionals in the Recording Industry. The organization is dedicated to preserving the craft of professional recording by providing mentoring, education, networking and community to its members and the industry as a whole. As part of its mission SPARS has launched the Ask SPARS Speed Mentoring Program.
Mr. Christensen served as a Director of SPARS from 1989 to 2000 in various capacities, including Chairman of the Board from 1997-1999, SPARS 20th Anniversary. He is President of Omega Productions, a 40 year old award winning Entertainment Production Company specializing in live concert DVD, HD and CD recordings.