The KATIE Group, Inc., the Long Beach, CA-based lighting specification firm, is making friends all over the place. On February 20, the company formed an agreement with Inter America Stage, Inc., of Sanford, FL, to provide sales and facility management for an expanded Inter America Stage operations based in Southern California. The very next day, KATIE announced an agreement with Glass Illuminations, Inc., of Sun Valley, VA, to provide sales and marketing management for expanded Glass Illuminations operations in North America.

Inter America Stage provides custom-designed stage machinery, rigging, and safety and fall protection systems, along with other turnkey services, to such themed entertainment clients as Disney, Sea World, Universal Studios, and others, along with broadcast facilities, theatre, retail venues, and museums. Glass Illuminations has a complete range of fiber-optic based lighting products and multiple patented illuminator systems. Products include the Addra-Lites® and Lite-Wash® systems. Clients include various theme parks and other venues, including the Las Vegas hotel Mandalay Bay.

Tom Folsom, principal of The KATIE Group, notes that he and Mark T. Black, principal of Inter America Stage, have worked together in the past, when both were at the rigging specialist Hoffend and Sons in the 1980s. "We worked on such facilities as Cerritos Performing Arts Center, Teatro Colon in Argentina, Shrine Auditorium in LA, Stage 29 at Paramount, Universal Studios in California and Florida, and many others," he said. As part of the expansion, KATIE Group, Inc., will move into a larger facility in LA, to allow room for fabrication and staging of equipment, as well as expanded customer service and sales operations. He adds the arrangement will allow KATIE Group "to provide a much broader range of services to our sales representatives and clients, not only in the Western US, but nationwide." Speaking of the Glass Illuminations deal, Folsom said, "This will allow KATIE Group, Inc., to provide to our representative sale force what is without a doubt the premier fiber-optic design, engineering, and implementation company in the United States."

Black and T. J. Sterling, the latter of Glass Illuminations, had similarly upbeat things to say. Black predicted the KATIE-Inter America Stage agreement "assures our customers of the highest level of product and service as we expand our operations." Sterling said, "It would take us years to develop the marketing team that KATIE has put together over the past few years. We look forward to working with them and their representatives."

KATIE, founded by Folsom and Keith Gillum in 1998, specializes in high-tech specification grade lighting products and control systems specifically designed for theme parks, large-scale commercial applications, museums, retail facilities, and other architectural applications. Previously, the firm was the exclusive rep for Altman architectural lighting products, an arrangement that ended in 2000. Thus the new agreements signal interesting new developments for KATIE in 2001.You can see for yourself at Global Shop Exposition in Chicago (March 22-24) and Lightfair International in Las Vegas (May 29-June 1), as KATIE and Glass Illuminations will exhibit together at both shows.