Well-known industry guru Steve Collins passed away in March 2015 and we at
ProSystems Africa News decided to speak to a few people who worked closely with
him throughout his career.

Alvaro Rodrigues: “I knew Steve Collins for 32 years, having first met him on a
BMW 3 Series Launch in 1983. Later we also worked together at Multivisio from
1989 until 1993 we both moved on and I partnered with him in setting up his
company, The Staging House. We continued working together on many more
illustrious and memorable live events until his untimely and sad passing in March.
Steve was a phenomenal human being. He was extremely kind, deeply honest, and
one of the most generous people you could ever meet. He will remain one of the
select few genuinely knowledgeable and experienced professionals in our industry.
He was a master of his craft and I don’t think we will ever see anyone quite like
him again. He taught me much about live events and even more about life. My
memories of Steve are all unique and special and I couldn’t single any one out from
the rest.’

Pieter Joubert: “I met Steve for the first time in February 1995 on a BMW Event in
Cape Town. At first he was the rudest and grumpiest old man I have ever met in
my young career as a rigger! But as the two-week show went on we developed a
relationship of respect for one another that little to my knowledge at the time would
stretch over a period of 20 years and ultimately resulted in me employing him for
the past two years.’

“In the 20 years that I knew Steve, I was very fortunate to have worked with him
on various high profile events that occured over this period including: 46664 in
George, the Confederations Cup Closing Ceremony, the FIFA Kick off concert, and
various exhibition stands on the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) over
the years, to name a few. No project was ever too big or too small for him to get
involved in.’

“Steve was a person who called a spade a spade and there was only one way of
doing things – the right way (also known as Steve’s way)!. Steve was totally unique
and special in the way he approached any project from the single counter for the
office to way he guided me through the FIFA Kick Off Concert in 2010 and the Ford
Stand at the JIMS 2013, as well as the way he guided us with the restructuring of
SDS since mid-2012. Nothing was ever impossible for him and that together, with
being a perfectionist, is the legacy he left behind in SDS and the industry, I do
believe. Steve was also remarkable in the way he shared his knowledge with those
who wanted to learn from him and his phone was always on for that late night
phone call to get advice.’

“Steve was remarkable in the way that he kept up with the latest trends and
technology and in many ways was ahead of some of the youngsters in our industry.
That, together with his broad knowledge of the industry as a whole, made him so
unique and a true professional and enabled him to create magic. For Steve, being
late was never an option and neither was taking short cuts. As he once pointed out
to me, ’the curtain is never late’.’

“As a person I was very fortunate that my path crossed with Steve Collins, as he
was a true master of his craft, a perfectionist, and above all a true friend whom I
will miss dearly.’

Graham Edmunds: “Steve was a consummate professional. He was stubbornly
passionate about doing it right, first time, on time. He was hard headed but soft
hearted in all of his dealings. He was a treasure to people who really understood
him, and to the industry he served.’

Paul Pamboukian: “Steve was an incredible personality; someone who had
enormous pride and integrity and who commanded the utmost respect from his
peers. He had a lion-like exterior and persona which put the fear of God into newly
encountered unfortunates who did not know him, but those who did, recognized that
this formidable façade masked a gentle, kind, dare I say, sensitive soul who
relished challenges and the opportunity to solve the most hair raising problems.
One occasion I remember well was many years ago during a setup of one of Tony
Farmer’s Extravaganzas at Sun City. The crew were busy hoisting a particularly
large flying piece into the fly-gallery and there was the usual hubbub on stage with
people milling about, busy with their particular duties. All of a sudden there was an
ominous rumble from the grid and the sound of ropes breaking loose. Within
seconds, everyone miraculously vanished off stage (Nic Michaltos leapt into the 3rd
row of the auditorium), everyone, that is, except Steve, who remained welded to
his spot. The huge set piece came crashing down and landed, literally, two inches in
front of Steve’s feet. He stood there in the same spot, the ever present cigarette in
mouth, took a swig from the coffee cup that he had been clutching all along, turned
totally pale and barked, in his inimitable way, as though nothing had happened, ”
Get this s*** off the stage!’