When Martin Michaud assumed the presidency of MDG in 2003, it did not come as a surprise to anyone within the company since he was being groomed for the position by retiring company president Marc Gringras for many years. Selling MDG products for over 23 years, Michaud was the logical choice since he was more than just a little familiar with company's line of fog and haze effects.
However, when Michaud took the reigns from Gringras he decided it was time to get the word out about MDG, not so much to get new business, but more to inform the “general” public. In other words, Michaud wanted people to know what MDG was doing other than employees, customers, and vendors. “When there is a change in company personnel at a certain level, there will likely be a change in that company itself,” Michaud says. The most notable change has been Michaud's determination to “spread the word” around the world, which was made apparent by the number of press releases sent out since last December, the first time that has happened in the company's history.
Speaking of history, Michaud says that 2005 was an ideal time to start getting MDG some media attention. Not only was it a long time in coming for the Montreal-based company, but this year is MDG's 25th anniversary. “I want people to know about MDG throughout the year, not just at trade shows,” Michaud says. “I especially want to publicize our new hires so they will be known before they step onto the trade show floor.”
Michaud is fond of saying that MDG has a line of fog generators rather than fog generators are in their line. The point being that while fog generators may seem to be a rather narrowly focused piece of equipment to produce, MDG maintains a competitive advantage which has allowed the company to market its expertise to not only theatre designers but also to the world of industry as well as the US military.
MDG and the US military have been in business together for over a decade and MDG has even created fog generators exclusively for the military. “We're efficient in the sense that if a client has a need, we will try to understand that need and see if it's feasible to develop something for them,” Michaud explains. “For the US Navy, a standard fog generator would not be resilient enough in such a harsh environment, so we needed to create a new product.” The result was a fog generator that lasts for a decade rather than the standard two years for use in the Navy's training exercises.
Here's an interesting factoid: MDG fog generators are favored by plumbers. “As strange as it sounds, you can go into a construction rental shop and see MDG fog generators for rent to use in construction,” Michaud explains. “When a new home is constructed, prior to sealing up the interior walls, plumbers will test the pipes for leaks using fog rather than water because fog won't damage the interior of the new building.” It's easier to fan away fog than mop up a puddle.
Lest anyone forget, MDG is still very much an entertainment technology company with a new installation at Universal Studios Orlando and in the new Cirque du Soleil show, KÁ, in Las Vegas. MDG supplied over 40 haze, fog, and low-lying fog generators for the show's atmospheric effects. This installation is the Professional Modular Fog System, which automatically refuels itself.
However, despite these high profile projects Michaud is quick to point out that regardless of how much or how little a customer spends, all clients are created equal. “There's not one customer who's just a number to us; they are all important,” he says. “A large international dealer/distributor or a very small dealer who occasionally needs an MDG product is equally important. No order or client is too small. That is how we built this company and how we will continue to grow it.”
Aside from continuing to spread the word about MDG's projects and people, Michaud says that creating new and better products are on the company's horizon. “Every day I think about what we can do to improve our products or what new item we can bring to the market,” he says. “I've always been like that and I think the future is very bright. I'm looking forward to another 25 years.”