Design, service and turn key production management, while the hallmarks of our existence, are all distilled down to one thing: People.
Most of our staff designers and production managers have been with the company for many years, having begun in the field or in the shop, then in the office as junior staff and to subsequent senior positions. They fully understand the culture of excellence we’ve created here at Bentley Meeker Lighting & Staging, Inc., and have indeed become that culture of excellence themselves.
In seeking out our full time staff, we look for people who have extensive formal theatrical training, On Broadway and Off, as well as lengthy careers as theatrical lighting designers for other applications before joining our firm to light events. It is that training, both outside the company, and their rising through our ranks, that has brought us the high level of creativity, and nuanced aesthetic that we’ve become so widely known for.
Bentley began his career at the age of 14. Born in Roanoke, VA, his family moved to Bahamas and then Canada. As a high school drop-out, he came to New York at that young age to work with famed commercial photographer Peter Vaeth. He parlayed that into work on film sets as a freelance lighting technician and eventually secured a job as an in-house lighting technician at New York's Palladium, a massive, trendy nightclub opened by Steve Rubell and Ian Schraeger following their reign of NY nightlife at Studio 54. It was there, working with the extraordinary lighting designers of the day who came through doing events at the club and working hand in glove with artists like Jean Michele Basquiat, Keith Haring and Andy Warhol, (among many others) that he developed his passion for light.
Since 1990, BMLS has created unique lighting environments for over ten thousand events of all stripes: galas, private events, concerts, fashion shows movie and Broadway premieres and product launches of all sorts. Bentley has personally worked for many A-list clients including Paul McCartney, Prince, Rihanna, Earth Wind and Fire, Lionel Ritchie, Lou Rawls, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Wyclef Jean, Mariah Carrey, Aretha Franklin, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander Wang, among many others. He has also created the lighting for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, her 35th and 40th birthday parties, as well as Hillary Clinton’s multitude of campaign events.
As a fine artist, Bentley has shown his art internationally and in addition to many shows in New York, was commissioned by Michelle Obama to create a bespoke sculpture for the Nordic States State Dinner. Bentley has authored a book showcasing his work, “Light X Design” (Glitterati, April 2011), where he shows an intimate look at some of the popular venues he has transformed.
Bentley has been featured multiple times in the NY Times, NY Daily News, NY Post, New York Magazine, WWD, NY Social Diary among many other publications. He has been labeled a "Top 25 Trendsetter” by Modern Bride, recognized as one of fashion's "50 Most Powerful” by The New York Daily News, and previously named "Best Pick" for weddings by The Knot.
Vice President of Operations
Jeff started his career over 20 years ago in Washington, D.C. where he discovered his love of lighting while working on arena-scale live concert events. He went on to study Show Production at Full Sail University in Florida. Jeff’s passion for lighting has allowed him to tour around the world and back. He has worked with the biggest names across all genres of the live entertainment industry including Disney, Feld Entertainment, and Hard Rock. In 2009 Jeff set up roots in New York City. He dove into the theatrical lighting world, working on and off Broadway at famed venues including The Roundabout Theatre, Shakespeare In the Park, and The Public. Jeff ultimately joined forces with Bentley Meeker Lighting and Staging, Inc. where he found he was able to combine his talent for creative design with his natural propensity for fostering relationships. Starting out as a Production Manager, Jeff’s unique skills were quickly recognized within the company. His upward trajectory with BMLS propelled him through numerous roles in the company from Production Manager to Director of Operations. Jeff was officially named Vice President of Operations in 2019. He is honored to work alongside Bentley and the BMLS team to support what they do best: create magic!
Director of Finance
Elizabeth brings 30 years of experience obtained from various and numerous positions for Swissotel, Hyatt, Meridien and Belmond hotel companies. As a Regional Financial Controller, Elizabeth has managed assets for North American properties for Meridien Hotels of over $150m. Her experiences have spanned from single unit and multi-unit responsibilities.
Prior to joining Bentley Meeker Lighting & Staging, she worked with Belmond as Financial Controller at the 21 Club, a renowned restaurant located in Manhattan.
Director of Operations
Ethan started as a production manager with Bentley Meeker Lighting & Staging in 2010 – drawn in by a starkly gorgeous photo he saw on the internet of a wedding Bentley had lit. Ethan has advanced through most positions of the company fueled by a passion to deliver for clients and an obsessive eye to detail.
Design has been the driving force for Ethan his whole life. Beginning in graphic design and theatrical lighting – it was with Bentley Meeker that Ethan immediately saw the promise of event lighting design and how it impacts humanity.
Senior Designer, Lighting & Audio Visual
Aaron has been in the live event industry for over 18 years. The craft of production is not just a career for Aaron but has become a life long passion. Aaron’s roots are in live music and broadcast audio engineering early in his career, followed by several years of concert touring across the United States. Eventually transitioning into Production Management, he joined the Bentley Meeker family in 2015. After taking on a number of positions with the company, he is currently the Associate Director of New Business.
Senior Designer, Lighting & Audio Visual
With over two decades in the special event industry, Jaime Napolitano began her early career alongside top industry professionals designing and fully producing parties for NY’s social set, myriad celebrities, fashion, top media and fortune five hundred corporations.
In 2009 with a desire to expand her technical knowledge and creativity, Jaime joined Bentley Meeker to explore the magic of lighting. With established relationships throughout the industry and hundreds of events under her belt she continues to push the boundaries with her ability to transform spaces. She is currently the General Manager of Bentley Meeker’s operations at the Plaza Hotel.
Jaime holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Management & Marketing from Rutgers University and an Associates degree in Arts History from Parsons School of Design.
Designer, Lighting & Audio Visual
James Bell is a driven and passionate lighting and audio visual production designer with considerable experience in large-scale event production. He thrives in fast-paced, high-volume environments and understands the beauty and value of creating long lasting relationships. His diverse expertise includes the development and execution of social, corporate, non-profit and entertainment events. He is a creative problem-solver who strives to consistently provide exceptional service.
Designer, Lighting & Audio Visual
Darien is the Lead Designer for the Morgan Library and Hudson Mercantile, as well as a contributing Designer with Rainbow Room and Rock Center.
Born and raised in Astoria Queens, he began working as a production assistant at various night clubs around NYC. Joining BMLS in 2013 as freelance lighting crew, he quickly adapted to the environment, style, and character of the company. His ascent has gone through many roles as a freelancer, culminating with an opportunity to join full-time. Seizing the role of a production manager, he continued to demonstrate his acumen advancing to his current position as a Designer.
Darien embraces the core of BMLS design while demonstrating our commitment to creating long-lasting partnerships with integrity and ingenuity.