Early summer used to be a down time for the busy trade-show season. Not anymore. Two very different cities - Miami Beach and Shanghai, China - were recently hosts of two such shows in May and June, respectively.

In its second year, ExpoLatina returned to Miami Beach from May 23-25. In a festive host city, the show provided a worthwhile meeting place for nearly 1,000 attendees to mingle with a wide mix of exhibitors, all focused on the attractive Latin American market for sound and lighting products (though some countries in that sector remain stronger than others). The sentiment was for the ExpoLatina program to continue next year, as part of LDI 2001 in Orlando.

Moving to a very different part of the planet, China was once again the site for the third edition of PLASA Presents Light & Sound Shanghai. According to veterans, the show (held June 7-9) was more national than international this year; the preliminary attendance figure was 5,702, on par with last year's 5,713, though this figure is not broken down by region (more facts and figures can be found at www.lightandsound-shanghai.com). Observably, while there was a hearty contingent of Brits at the show, there were virtually no Americans, a change from last year.

Production Resource Group has named John M. Hovis its president and chief operating officer. Hovis, who will report to PRG chairman and CEO Jere Harris, assumes responsibility for all aspects of the company's day-to-day operations, specifically all field operations plus the corporate information technology, human resources, and finance departments. Hovis is the former senior vice president and COO of RailAmerica's North American operations, where he led the consolidation of RailTex and RailAmerica following RailAmerica's acquisition of RailTex in February. In other PRG news, finance veteran John E. Cunningham Jr. has joined PRG as chief financial officer of the lighting and audio group. He will be located in the North Bergen, NJ-based offices of Production Arts, and will assume responsibilities for the consolidated operations of the two groups, including finance, budgeting, cash management, and long-term planning....Stu Chalmers has joined High End Systems as its new vice president of operations. Areas of responsibility include all production and assembly areas, materials and purchasing. Chalmers was the first employee of the Kaizen Institute of America and was instrumental in starting the Kaizen Institute of America with Masaaki Imai, the founding father of the Kaizen philosophy, which is a process of continuous improvement. As a consultant, Chalmers has worked with a number of manufacturers, including Ford Motor Company. Prior to that, he worked for 3M Company for 15 years in all aspects of quality. In other High End news, the company promoted veteran sales representative Sean Hoey to the position of sales manager for the US and Canada. Hoey has been employed with the automated lighting manufacturer at its Austin, TX headquarters since 1991....Having outgrown its previous manufacturing space, trussing/ground support/roofing systems manufacturer James Thomas Engineering has moved to newly-acquired 4,900 sq.-m. premises in central Worcester, England. The building, workshops, and offices within are part of a new, purpose-built industrial unit. James Thomas Engineering Navigation Complex Navigation Road Diglis Trading Estate Worcester WR5 3DE, England. Phone: 01905 363600; fax: 01905 363601. In other James Thomas news, the company has promoted former sales director Mervyn Thomas to the position of general manager....Clear-Com Intercom Systems, part of the Vitec Group PLC, has hired a new president, Rick LeBlanc. LeBlanc hails originally from Canada, and is a graduate of University of Toronto with a degree in electrical engineering as well as an MBA from Northwestern....Vari-Lite International, Inc. has entered into a letter of intent to sell its operations in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Sweden to an investment company that owns Focus Showequipment BV in Amsterdam. "The sale of our continental European operations will allow the company to focus its attention on the development, manufacture and sale of its Vari superscript *Lite[R] automated lighting systems and continued operation of our rental and production services offices in North America, Asia, and London," says Rusty Brutsche, chief executive officer of the company. The purchaser's strategy will build on the reputation of both Focus Showequipment (Amsterdam) and EML (Brussels/Utrecht), production services companies in the Benelux region, serving the various segments of the entertainment industry (theatre, concerts, broadcast, film, corporate events, and conferences). Together with operations built by Vari-Lite in France and Sweden, the purchaser intends to develop a branded international network of professional organizations in northern and western Europe. All companies owned by the purchaser will be authorized Vari superscript *Lite[R] dealers. In the Netherlands, in the course of the year, the operations of Vari-Lite Production Services-Amsterdam/EML will be integrated with the operations of Focus Showequipment in Amsterdam....Telex[R] Communications, Inc. has moved its corporate headquarters to a new location in the Minneapolis area. The new building will house all sales, marketing, engineering, and administrative functions for Telex and its professional audio, wireless, and multimedia communications products. The new address is: 12000 Portland Ave. South, Burnsville, MN 55337. The main telephone number remains the same, with a new area code: (952) 884-4051. The move expands Telex's space to approximately 115,000 sq. ft. Telex Communications, which employs 300 people in Minneapolis, will maintain its manufacturing facility in Buchanan, MI, which had once been the home of Electro-Voice and its related brands....Two Sennheiser employees have been promoted and a new West Coast market developer has been appointed. Andy James is the new West Coast market developer; he is also a touring and studio drummer. His new responsibilities include in-store training, merchandising assistance, planning, and inventory evaluation. James will report to Greg Beebe, who was recently promoted to channel manager. In his new position, Beebe will work in channel marketing, partner promotions, and merchandising support, development of channel marketing plans, and overseeing channel activities related to InnovaSon digital mixing consoles, Chevin amps, and DAS loudspeakers. The other Sennheiser promotion was of Matt Carlin, a five-year veteran of the Sennheiser USA service and technical support department. Carlin has been appointed to the new position of East Coast market developer serving the music industry (MI) and sound reinforcement (SI) channels....Audio manufacturer Denon Electronics has moved: 19 Chapin Road PO BOX 867 Pine Brook, NJ 07058-9777; the phone and fax numbers remain the same: phone: (973) 396-0810; fax: (973) 396-7459...Apollo Design Technology, Inc. has moved to a new manufacturing and office facility: Apollo Design Technology, Inc., 4130 Fourier Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46818; phone: (219) 497-9191; fax: (219) 497-9192; web: www.internetapollo.

com....Cleveland, OH-based Vincent Lighting has hired Dale Linville as the company's film and video rental manager. A 10-year veteran of the film and video rental scene, as well as a former dolly grip, key grip, generator operator, and gaffer, he will oversee the firm's new film and video rental line....Christie Lites has opened Christie Lites Dallas (CLD), managed by Kevin Leckey (operations) and Alan Niebur (sales). The 16,000-sq.-ft. facility supports the Christie Lites multi-office network and will serve both the regional and touring markets. The shop is located at 4801 Reading St., Dallas TX 75247; phone: (214) 352-5252; fax: (214) 357-5757....Diehl Graphsoft has changed its name to Nemetschek North America. Most of the contact info remains the same: Nemetschek North America, 10270 Old Columbia Rd., Columbia, MD; phone: (410) 290-5114; fax: (410) 290-8050; new web address: www.nemetschek.net....

Dazian Fabrics has moved. New address: 124 Enterprise Avenue, Secaucus, NJ 07094; phone: (201) 549-1042; fax: (201) 549-1055....Entertainment lighting distributor TMB Associates has hired Stephanie Algarin, a former manager of Decasource Inc., as marketing administrator, a newly created position....Michael Mell, ASTC, has formed a new company, Theater Design, Inc., a full-service theatre consulting firm. Prior to forming Theater Design, Mell worked for 10 years for Brannigan Loreli Associates and its successor firm, Robert Loreli Associates, both theatre consulting firms. Over the past five years, Mell worked with Artec Consultants, a theatre and acoustic consulting firm, serving as director of theatre consulting services for the last two years. Theater Design Inc.'s address: 3 Short Street, Cold Spring, NY 10516: phone: (914) 265-3614; fax: (914) 265-3614; MMell@TheaterDesignInc.com....