Long Beach, CA-based KATIE Group Inc. (KGI), founded in 1998 by Tom Folsom and Keith Gillum, was in Chicago in March, exhibiting at the GlobalShop trade show (see www.lighting dimensions.com, April Online Exclusives, for more on that event). There, the company spoke about its latest agreements, most prominently its sales and marketing tie-up with Sun Valley, CA-based Glass Illuminations Inc. (GI Inc.), which was also on hand at the KGI booth.
Ten-year-old GI Inc. offers a number of fiber-optic-based lighting products, including its Lite-Wash product and Addra-Lite framed signage system. Says Folsom, “We kept hearing about them from Southern California designers; they said GI was the best fiber firm they had worked with. We checked that out and found it to be the case. They have 27-odd patents on aspects of their illuminators, and their products really get the light out — they can achieve effects that no one else can come close to.”
GI CEO T.J. Sterling calls his firm a “well-kept secret.” Says Folsom, “We had a lot of discussions about the realities of going nationwide; it's one thing to be a niche player, quite another when you're going national or international, with specification, consultant, and designer issues. It is important that customers in Des Moines receive the same level of service as customers in Southern California.”
Folsom continues, “We also have a joint-venture agreement with Inter America Stage of Sanford, FL; in the 80s, I worked with its principal, Mark T. Black, at Hoffend and Sons. For several years we've been talking about him setting up a Southern California operation. With some new stage and scenery projects coming up on the West Coast we're going to joint-venture on space and on marketing.”
KGI will also be providing sales and marketing management to McLean, VA-based Advanced Optical Technologies LLC (AOT) for technology sales and manufacturing operations; the company has been issued multiple patents on its constructive occlusion optical system, originally developed for the “Star Wars” defense program. “With these patents, we've developed prototype products, both fluorescent and point source. We're demonstrating to manufacturers how this optics system works, and seeing if they want to license the technology and incorporate it into their product lines.” Look for KGI, GI, and AOT at a shared booth space at this month's Lightfair.