In October 2010, Tait Towers of Lititz, PA, and Fisher Technical Services (FTSI) of Las Vegas, NV, joined forces. Adam Davis of Tait and Scott Fisher of FTSI discuss what the merger of these two companies heralds in the scenic world and for their clients. Like their newly merged companies, their answers are one of their first joint ventures, as they set out on a combined path toward a bright new future.

1. When did Fisher and Tait start working together and on what kinds of projects?
Fisher and Tait first started working together in 2007 on the Bon Jovi Lost Highway tour, with FTSI providing winches and the Navigator control system to Tait. Since then, we’ve gone on to put Navigator equipment on dozens of high-end tours and productions, and it’s become the default control system for Tait.

2. What is each company’s area of expertise, and how do they dovetail?
FTSI’s primary areas of expertise are in mechanical systems, controls, software, and specialty rigging, generally provided as integrated turnkey solutions based on the Navigator system. Tait’s specialty is in incredibly efficient and robust designs of sets and mechanical systems for touring productions and events, as well as integration of video systems and other elements into those sets and mechanical systems. The main areas where we dovetail are in the controls and rigging portions, where Navigator allows complete integration and coordination between all of the tour systems and controls, reduces the amount of upfront design time, and provides a reliable and flexible means of programming and playback. The combination of the complementary technological strengths of both companies has produced some stunning shows in the past, and we expect even more spectacular results from the newly combined companies.

3. How will the two companies work together on a day-to-day basis now, and who does the ultimate decision-making?
For our clients, Tait and FTSI will act as a single company. The client who comes to Tait Towers or FTSI with a new project will be assigned a manager with experience in that type of project, and that manager will coordinate resources from both companies to efficiently execute the client’s vision. We felt that the industry needed a single-source automation and staging resource that has the depth and breadth to efficiently address and coordinate all of the myriad aspects of touring productions, permanent installations, and special events in all areas of the entertainment industry, so we’ve combined all of our resources and experience to redesign the way the industry uses automation, staging, sets, and rigging systems. As for decision-making, this will remain a collaborative effort between the principals of the companies.

4. What is in the works now in terms of large projects?
We’d tell you, but we’d have to kill you. The client bases of both companies have embraced this new alliance enthusiastically, and several bigger, better projects in all areas of our operations, including touring, theatre, theme park, and film, have already presented themselves. We will share these stories with you as the shows open, but for now, suffice to say that we’re very busy on some very exciting new work.

5. What can we look forward to in terms of new scenic fabrication, automation, and flying?
The primary improvements you’ll see are continued leaps ahead in systems integration and the efficiencies and creative possibilities created by that technology. When all the systems of a show are designed together, work together, and talk together, you get huge improvements in efficiency of load-ins, systems programming, equipment reliability, and accuracy, which in turn, makes executing the increasingly complex creative visions of the designers easier and easier. Basically, we can do better looking and operating shows than ever before with less effort and greater safety and reliability.