General Manager, Fourth Phase Las Vegas

Pat Little is a very busy guy these days. As general manager of Fourth Phase Las Vegas, his days cover a full spectrum of activities, from reviewing invoices to compiling quotes or visiting project sites. Two things he likes to focus on are customer service and delivering a quality product, as he strongly believes that one can't establish and maintain a successful business without those two foundations. He likes the fact that the Las Vegas shop of PRG combines a group of related companies under one roof, including Scenic Technologies for scenic fabrication, ProMix Electrotec for audio reinforcement, Showpay for labor services, and Fourth Phase for lighting. A Las Vegas resident for 31 years, the 38-year-old Little has seen the city reinvent itself several times, and enjoys the role Fourth Phase plays in making things happen all over town. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, dirt bikes, and basically races anything with wheels.

Ellen Lampert-Gréaux: How did you first get interested in the industry?

Pat Little: You could say I was born into the business. My father, Terry Little, was a stage manager on Broadway for years with shows like Li'l Abner, On the Town, Destry Rides Again, and Here's Love. My mother, who now has a local modeling agency, was a dancer. We moved to Las Vegas in 1971 and my father went to work for the International Hotel, where my brothers and sisters and I would hang out backstage with Elvis, Ann-Margret, and Liberace. Currently, we are all still in the business in some form.

ELG: What was your first job?

PL: I was a runner for car shows and industrials until one day Jim Brennan came to my Dad's house and told me to be at the shop at 8am. That shop was Cinema Services [later acquired by PRG and now part of Fourth Phase] and I started in the cable department.

ELG: What was your most interesting project to date?

PL: It would be hard to pinpoint one or even a few to fit that category. The best part of what we do is that literally every project has some element that makes it stand out. Sometimes it's trying to find the right equipment for the effect the client wants, or managing the install and transforming the venue into something totally different from what it was. It's our little part in creating the magic of the industry.

ELG: What was your least favorite, or most difficult, project?

PL: There really can't be a least favorite, because I enjoy the challenges presented with each new opportunity. That said, the most difficult is, again, an overall concept: the difficulty in meeting and then exceeding your customer's expectations. This is not a negative. It is truly an opportunity to show what we have and how we can facilitate the process to achieve the client's vision.

ELG: Where were you, and what were you doing, in 1988, the year LDI was founded?

PL: In 1988 the company I was with was predominantly involved in the television industry and I was doing a lot of sporting events like boxing on HBO.

ELG: When did you first attend LDI?

PL: My first visit to LDI was back in the early 90s in Reno, when our company had its first real presence at the show.

ELG: What makes Vegas a special place to work?

PL: Vegas is an exceptional market, as it is not one-dimensional. We always see the marketing quips on it being the convention and trade show center, but it is so much more, with a very wide industry base covering film, special events, concerts, and, of course, conventions and trade shows. Vegas is glitter and excitement. It's everyone's dream or fantasy but it can also be Corporate America. Vegas is a chameleon and we're very much a part of all that goes into making that happen.

ELG: Why do you find it challenging to work for Fourth Phase/PRG?

PL: Because the capabilities and expertise behind the companies of PRG run parallel to the needs of all the above industries and more. Our jobs here make us an integral part of what's happening on a daily basis. We can help make it happen and we all feel a personal involvement in the growth and potential of each new project. At the same time, on a very personal level, I've had 20 years with the company and it's been very rewarding to watch the very positive accomplishments and growth we've achieved. The current PRG evolved from a vision and the tireless commitment from Jere Harris, our chairman/CEO. Our roots are backstage Broadway and now we encompass the full realm of capabilities, offering quality, commitment, and exceptional products and services.

ELG: What haven't you done that you want to do?

PL: There's nothing in particular that is pressing on my wish list, and that's great too — not knowing what's coming my way is the best part. Every day is different and that makes them all special.

ELG: What's the next great trend in Vegas?

PL: In the 80s it was comedians, the 90s started the Cirque shows, and the next trend? Who knows? I'll keep ya posted!