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Companies Join to Form Stellar Event The consolidation of four major U.S. event production firms has resulted in the creation of Stellar Event and Presentation Resources. In May, the Houston-based company took over operations of The Abbey Group (with offices in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Houston and San Antonio), LD Systems (Houston and San Antonio), Ducky-Bob's Cannonball Party Rentals (Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas) and Stuart Rental Co. (Sunnyvale and Walnut Creek, Calif.).

The combined operations employ nearly 370 people and bring in close to $40 million in annual revenues, according to Stellar chairman and chief executive officer Tom Boudreaux. Stellar has "no intention" of changing the names of its operating units yet, Boudreaux tells Special Events Magazine, but will begin introducing them as part of the Stellar family on major projects. Stellar offers a range of event production services from basic rentals to sophisticated light and sound capabilities. The company is pursing other acquisitions (particularly in the area of multimedia) in major markets including the northeast region of the United States, Boudreaux says.

Stellar Event and Presentation Resources

2040 N. Loop West, Suite 300,

Houston, TX 77018; 713/681-5664

Universal Breaks Ground on Dedicated Event Venue Mid-November is the target date for completion of the dedicated special event facility Universal Studios Globe Theatre at Universal Studios Hollywood. Formerly the restaurant Winston's Grill, the new venue will offer 10,000 square feet of usable event space, according to director of convention and event sales Madeline Kruzel. "We found more and more guests wanting an indoor event venue capable of handling everything from black-tie galas to corporate product launches to themed prop dinners," she tells Special Events Magazine. Accessible from both inside and outside the park, the Globe Theatre will feature a turn-of-the-century facade and offer full production capabilities and a finish kitchen.

Universal Studios Hollywood

100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608; 818/622-3036

MPI Studies Independent Planners Independent meeting planners have staying power. According to a recent study from the Research Center of Meeting Professionals International, more than 72 percent of the 300 planners surveyed have more than 10 years' experience in the industry. The study also says that the types of meetings most planned by them are corporate (41 percent), incentive (14 percent), special events (13 percent) and sales (12 percent). Resort areas are the destination of choice for 30 percent of respondents, with convention facilities and downtown hotels ranking second at 17 percent. The respondents say they will plan more than 9,700 meetings in 2000; 94 percent believe that the expected growth of planned events in 1999 will be due to continued growth within the meeting industry. The complete survey is available from the MPI Research Center for $75.

Meeting Professionals International

4455 LBJ Freeway, Suite 1200, Dallas, TX 75244-5903; 972/702-3000;

Web site:

ProAdvance Signs with Mrs. Dole Washington, D.C.-based ProAdvance has been retained by the Elizabeth Dole for President Exploratory Committee to provide event production and advance services. "This is the first time an exploratory committee has outsourced this part of the campaign versus hiring staff," ProAdvance vice president Andrew Garlikov tells Special Events Magazine. ProAdvance senior associate Bobby Peede is spearheading the project. "We hope to go right through [the election in] November 2000," Garlikov says. ProAdvance, which also worked on former Sen. Bob Dole's presidential bid in 1996, specializes in producing events to generate favorable media coverage.


2030 M St. N.W., Washington, DC 20036; 202/955-9430;

Web site:

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