March 2020

TLS Productions, Inc. News & Announcements


TLS Productions, Inc. and our sister company, H & X Technologies, as part of the Hibino family of companies, would like to extend our best wishes that each and every one of you - clients, colleagues, friends, family and everyone in between - are healthy and safe.  COVID-19 has impacted our entire industry, and now more than ever, we want you to know that we're all in this together.

We hope you've noticed over the last several weeks that dozens of companies within our industry are offering a wealth of free online training courses specific to the technologies necessary and skills required for work in our industry.

During this unfortunate downtime, the courses available at the below link can and should be utilized so that when we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, we'll all be sharper than ever, and ready to take on any project big or small.  So please, check out the link below and hopefully you'll find something of use to you, or pass it along to others that you think may be interested.


It is also important to note during this time, that many positive changes are taking effect regarding unemployment compensation.  In Michigan, Governor Whitmer, under the federal CARES Act, signed an agreement between Michigan and the U.S. Dept. of Labor to implement Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Compensation programs that grant benefits to workers who do not already qualify for state unemployment benefits.  Workers include self-employed, 1099-independent contractors, gig, and low-wage workers who can no longer work because of the pandemic.  The agreement also increases weekly benefits for all unemployed workers by $600 a week and extends benefit payments from 26 to 39 weeks.  Check with your state's unemployment insurance agency to learn more.

Setting The Stage To Tell Your Story

So, what have we been up to since February's newsletter?  We were fortunate enough to be involved in two BIG shows before the COVID-19 pandemic began shutting the country down.  Together with our sister company, H & X Technologies, we provided lighting, rigging, audio and LED video equipment and services for ASTOUND and their client Topcon at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG show in Las Vegas.  Production credits below, and some great shots courtesy of Kathryn Rapier & Dan LaPorte.

Client: ASTOUND for Topcon
LED: H & X Technologies
Lighting, Rigging & Audio: TLS Productions, Inc.
Account Manager: H & X Technologies
Lead LED Technician: Elliot Baum
LED Technicians: Andrew Paul, Collin Gorman, Derek Johnson
Media Server Operator: Don Stevens
LED Project Manager: Ryan Hooper
Production Manager: Dan LaPorte
Lighting Design: Bobby Glowacki
Lead Rigger: Josh Bleeker
Programmer / Master Electrician: Jay LeDane
A1: Carlos Bartlett
A2: Melissa Williamson


Also at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG show in Las Vegas, we provided lighting and rigging equipment and services for ASTOUND and their client Astec Industries.  Production credits below, and some great shots courtesy of Kathryn Rapier.

Client: Astound for Astec Industries
Lighting & Rigging: TLS Productions, Inc.
Account Executive: Cameo Stancliff
Project Manager: Raleigh Vaughn
Lighting Designer: Ken Farley
Lead Rigger: Mike Nuguid
Programmer / Master Electrician: Randy Reece


We also had the opportunity to work with George P. Johnson and their client, RAM Commercial, at the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.  TLSP and H & X Technologies provided rigging, audio and LED video equipment and services.  Production credits below, as well as some great shots from our main man on the scene, Zip Zembinski.

Client: George P. Johnson for RAM Commercial
LED: H & X Technologies
Rigging & Audio: TLS Productions, Inc.
Account Manager: Rachel Bacheller
Lead LED Technician: Xavier Carter
Production Manager & Rigger: Zip Zembinski
Audio Technician: Don Davenport


CM Hoist Training To Be Rescheduled

TLS Productions, Inc. was previously scheduled to be hosting a week-long training session at our Ann Arbor, MI headquarters, Monday March 23rd through Friday March 27th.  Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 situation, this training session was cancelled.  We are planning to reschedule this week long training session when it is safe to do so.  If you're interested - reach out to us at: for more information and we'll keep you posted once new dates have been confirmed.

*** TLS Productions, Inc. is a Columbus McKinnon Authorized Service Center and can provide CM Hoist Service & Certification, in addition to CM hoist sales and rentals.  Our mission, along with Columbus McKinnon's mission on this topic, is to improve the quality of hoist service and repair; contact us today to learn more about CM Hoist Service & Certification, or to inquire about CM hoists for your next production! ***


TLS Productions, Inc. Sponsors Team RUSH

If you've checked out any previous newsletters, then you should be aware of TLSP's sponsorship of Team RUSH!  Team RUSH is a high school robotics team located in Clarkston, Michigan. RUSH stands for Respect, Unity, Spirit and Heart. It is a part of the FIRST Robotics program (they call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate Sport for the Mind). Almost 4,000 teams with more than 91,000 students and 25,000 mentors from 27 countries build robots under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense time limit. The teams of students are challenged to design a team "brand”, hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-sized robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get.

Due to the spread of COVID-19, Team RUSH had to suspend competitions.  Below is an update from Team RUSH Captain, Kyle Hughes:
As I am sure you are aware, Team RUSH and all the rest of the world has taken an abrupt halt!  On Thursday, March 12, the team was still preparing for our upcoming competition in Pittsburgh.  We knew that a storm was coming, but we had no idea that it would be a Category 5 storm!  On Friday, March 13, school was closed, for at least 3 weeks, but we really don't know if it will go further. 
The students of RUSH are safely at home (their parents are excited to have them home for dinner for a change).  I have been challenging the students daily with something to focus on. They have been sending me daily videos or photos to fulfill their challenge. 
The students / mentors were very sad not to compete, but they understand the magnitude of what they need to do to help this situation. Tonight, the RUSH students will "Zoom" (an online conference room) with another team from Massachusetts to play a game. We are trying to keep minds sharp, while still working with other teams. 
We are very unsure if we will be able to compete again this year, but still have our hopes up. There is talk about maybe having competitions in the summer. We will see, and we will update you.
We appreciate your support so much, and are so happy that we won the first tournament we participated in to give you that win. We dedicate our first win to all of our sponsors. Thank you so much!
Kyle Hughes - Team Leader

From The Desk Of Doyle Martin - March 2020

Two short weeks ago today (as I write this), I had just arrived in Las Vegas to be there during the CONEXPO-CON/AGG show, where we had 2 major projects and a couple of smaller rentals as well.  Before that trip, we were all talking about the virus in China and Europe and how it might affect us here in the US.  That was on Monday, March 9th. By the end of that week, I was wondering if my flight home was going to happen before major travel restrictions were enacted.  By Wednesday the next week, Las Vegas was completely shut down - we were just able to get our gear out of the convention center - and things were obviously moving in the direction of "really bad."  Over the next three days, I watched in horror as every meeting, tradeshow, event, and concert tour either postponed or canceled.  The event industry was in the throes of an extreme event, the likes of which it has never seen or experienced before.

Over the last few days, I've spoken and communicated with many industry friends, acquaintances, and colleagues - some of whom I hadn't talked to in years - to hear their stories.  How they are faring, how they think they may make it through this unexpected shutdown intact, and just talking and listening to my entertainment brothers and sisters who like me are simply dazed, hurt, and confused.  The sheer number of small companies laying off everyone and locking the doors is astounding.  Roadies who had a fantastic spring and summer on the books, now looking at months without any income.  From top to bottom, seeing the immediate (and possibly careless) firings of creatives, management and hourly workers with little or no warning.  Right now, it all seems so bleak, so dark.  So very many who have no idea what the future may hold.  It is a strange, scary time for us all - but it is not time to give up.

Since I wrote this introduction, the US Congress has passed the CARES Act. This act provides unemployment for those who lost so much work as well as providing loans to small businesses that should allow them to keep their people on payroll and to keep the doors open (hopefully). Although this does alter the outlook and provides a little breathing room, the entertainment and events industry are still in a very scary place.

Here is what I know - I know that the men and women of the entertainment and events industries have such heart, such caring for our art and our craft that there is simply no way this is an end.  Instead, we need to understand that this is simply a pause for an undetermined amount of time.  Throughout modern history - through wars, terrorist attacks, and social turmoil - our industry has been there to lift spirits, bring people together, and create lasting memories.  The need for this, the need for us, will be greater on the other side of this great pause than ever before.  Yes, the pain is great, and we are going to lose a large number of our professionals to other industries during this time of uncertainty.  But rest assured, there will be enough of us hard-headed, politically incorrect, never say die, the show must go on event and entertainment professionals still around to make sure that when we are again needed and called to action, we can fulfill our task.  We will be there to bring everyone together with joy, music, laughter, lights, sound, and visuals.

I have really struggled with what to say about our company, if anything, in this article.  This is not about us.  It's so much bigger than just us, and frankly, I think it is much too soon into our great pause to grasp this as any type of marketing opportunity.  Having said that, I think I owe it to those of you who receive this newsletter (and actually take the time to read it) to give you a quick rundown of our situation.  Currently, all of our warehouse operations in both Henderson, NV, and Ann Arbor, MI, are shut down until further notice. No one on our staff nor any of our freelancers have been identified as having the virus. All of the contacts you are used to seeing, emailing, or talking to are working from home, and I'm sure would be happy to hear from you - even if it's just a "how's it going" text, email, or call.  At this point, thanks in large part to our parent company HIBINO, we are not laying anyone off, nor are we doing any wholesale furloughs.  Our most sincere hope is to reach the other side of this intact as a company so that as soon as the government and the health organizations give us the ok to again gather together, we will be ready to do our part.

I'm not going to lie; sleep is coming hard for me these days.  I do worry about my industry and all the people I care about who are a part of it.  The landscape of the entertainment and events industry will undoubtedly look very different when this is over than it did just a few short weeks ago - before this all began.  I don't know right now what that means; who will make it and who will not come out the other side.  I do know that TLS Productions, our management team, and our staff are going to be there to help pick up the pieces so that when the need for production (rigging, lighting, sound, SFX, and visuals) returns we will remain to be not just an option, but a force to be reckoned with in what will again be a highly competitive and healthy industry.

Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and let's all do what we have to do to flatten the curve of the virus' spread so that we get to again hit the "GO" button sooner rather than later.  Stay home - wash your hands - and reach out if you need someone to talk to. 

Doyle Martin
TLS Productions, Inc.
Chief Operations Officer


Did you know that TLS Productions, Inc. is an ETC Factory Authorized Service Center with ETC Factory Authorized Field Service Providers on staff?  Our ETC Field Service Providers handle a variety of functions – advising contractors on proper methods for installing various products, providing phone tech support, providing onsite tech support when problems arise, updating operating software and doing new system commissioning along with owner training.  And when needed, we can provide loaner equipment or acquire equipment direct from the factory, we can also facilitate factory repairs as needed. 

Keep your ETC equipment operating at peak performance, and contact one of our ETC Factory Authorized Service Technicians today!

To learn more about upgrading to the latest ETC technologies, contact Emily Ann Jugowicz TODAY!

To learn more about ETC Rigging and how we can help you raise the bar on safety one hoist at a time, contact us today, and let us be your Authorized ETC Rigging Provider!

STAGEMAKER hoists are designed to handle stage and theatrical equipment and enable the safe and accurate positioning of lighting systems, speakers, and various scenic elements.  The features and options of STAGEMAKER hoists make them a great choice for a demanding customer.  Their low weight make them ideal for touring events.  Their compact size permits them to fit inside truss structures.  Their quietness makes them ideal for operation during performances, even in theaters.  Stagemaker’s CE mark and CSA c/us certification ensures the quality process.

TLS Productions, Inc. is a dealer and Factory Authorized Service and Certification Center for STAGEMAKER hoists, with one of the largest rental inventories in the Midwest AND the West.  We invite you to learn more about STAGEMAKER products for your next production, so contact us today! 

TLS Productions, Inc. offers a turnkey operation:

We provide consultation and all the necessities to design, rig and light exhibits, productions and permanent installations of any size, including state of the art audio gear and the latest in LED video gear provided by our sister company, H & X Technologies.  We offer equipment rentals and sales encompassing most international brands and both electronic and mechanical repairs are done in house.  TLS Productions, Inc. also provides theatrical draperies for rental and sale and can fabricate drapery to meet your specific needs. 

If it's lighting, rigging, staging, audio or video related, there are no limits to the products and services that we can provide.

To find out what TLS Productions, Inc. can do for you, contact us at any of the options below.

TLS Productions, Inc. - Ann Arbor, MI
78 Jackson Plaza
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

(855) 515-TLSP (8577) Toll Free
(810) 220-TLSP (8577) Office
(810) 229-8292  Fax

TLS Productions, Inc. - Henderson, NV
7350 Eastgate
Suite 160
Henderson, NV 89011

(702) 880-0551 (office)

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78 Jackson Plaza
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103

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