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Q&A with Guy Noerr, MagicWig Productions

Guy Noerr is president and co-owner of MagicWig Productions, an AV company specializing in meetings, events, and video production. MagicWig also makes its own documentaries, a side business that help drive its thinking on sustainability.

Credit: Guy Noerr

GUY NOERR: Noerr is president and co-owner of MagicWig Productions, an AV company specializing in meetings, events, and video production. Among its clients: the U.S. Green Building Council, which publishes the LEED rating standards. MagicWig also makes its own documentaries, a side business that help drive its thinking on sustainability.

PRO AV: You mentioned you were moving away from being MagicWig Productions to being called MagicGreen. What's the reason behind the shift?

NOERR: A couple of years ago we began work on a feature-length documentary called "So Right So Smart." The film demonstrates the business case for environmental stewardship through the stories of business leaders who have begun to take positive steps toward a sustainable future. Early on we made a decision to separate the movie from our day-to-day business and opened a sister corporation, MagicGreen Productions. We like the name, and it seems to tell the story of what we're trying to do. So once we sell the movie, we're considering adopting the name for the entire company.

PRO AV: Do you increasingly have clients requesting "green" services?

NOERR: No, and not all the companies we work with are environmentally conscious, but it's coming. It's not just a feeling; it's truly a movement. If companies don't start to look at what they're doing to the environment they won't survive. More and more people are demanding it, and as companies are forced to become transparent, consumers will use this information in their decision-making when it comes purchasing a product or service.

PRO AV: You've worked with USGBC on their events for five years. Is it a particularly demanding client when it comes to sustainability requirements?

NOERR: I think if we were a company that had no experience with sustainability and green business practices, we may have felt they were demanding. Instead, we're blessed to have a client like USGBC, whose mantra is working with community leaders to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation. The best part of our relationship is that we share the same values. We get charged up knowing that we're supporting their agenda and that they are a positive force for environmental stewardship.

PRO AV: Can you give an example of a green AV best practice you used for USGBC?

NOERR: The first thing we do is measure our footprint, the amount of electricity we use at the facility for lights, sound, and video, along with our travel and shipping. Once we know what our footprint is, we offset our carbon emissions. We're presently working with
to measure and offset our carbon footprint from our last event. It takes time and there are expenses attached, but we look at it as doing the right thing.

PRO AV: What other practices/solutions will your company put into place to be green?

NOERR: We do everything we can to reduce the amount of electricity we use. We try to reduce the number of lights and use LED and fluorescent lights whenever possible. We try to locate rental equipment in the city where we're working to avoid shipping. We work with as many local vendors as possible. For instance, we'll pick up a local L2 [lighting assistant] and/or A2 [audio assistant] instead of flying someone in. We use flash drives and e-mail instead of copies and faxes. And we make sure we have recycle bins backstage so we can separate our waste and recycle everything possible. We are also very careful to recycle our spent batteries, and we use rechargeable batteries whenever possible.

PRO AV: In general, what do you think needs to happen to spur more green, sustainable practices in the AV and rental/staging industries?

NOERR: Simply, demand. It's the same in any consumer sector: The more people demand sustainable products and services, the more responsive their respective communities will become. We as an industry have to start demanding [green] products from our vendors. We also have to educate our customers. It's not easy in this financial environment to go to your customers and ask for additional budget to make their meeting more environmentally friendly. We like to say it's all about dollars and "sense."

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