Case Studies / Case Study Details
AGI Installs New Lighting Equipment for Repeat Customer
Champions Centre, a Christian church with campuses in Tacoma and Bellevue, Washington, most recently called on AGI, Inc. to install a new lighting dimmer system in the 2,500-seat main sanctuary on their Tacoma campus. But the relationship between Champions Centre and the full-service sound, lighting, video and acoustical consulting, design and installation firm formed many years prior.
In 2000, Pastor Mike Patterson convinced the church executive staff to hire a professional AV firm to design and install new sound, lighting, video and acoustical systems in Champs Auditorium -- a 600-seat youth sanctuary -- and in two smaller auditoriums in the 40,000-square-foot addition to the children’s ministry. AGI designed and installed a high-quality concert sound system that includes Electro-voice speakers, driven by Crown amps, in a left-right-center configuration and a Soundcraft console at front-of-house. Prior to that project, Champions Centre had always acquired its AV equipment from retail outlets and completed the installation in-house, with Patterson overseeing the efforts of a volunteer staff. “It was a whole new horizon for us,” Patterson said. “We were stepping up into the 21st century and doing it in a professional manner.”
In the past 10 years, the church has used AGI for nearly all its sound and lighting needs, including purchases, rentals, and maintenance, and 80 percent of its video. “Working with AGI has made us so much better as a church,” Patterson said. “Within our budget guidelines, we stay right on the cutting edge of technology.”
Streamlined Shopping for AV
Forging a solid relationship with an AV contractor he can trust has saved Patterson time, money and, most importantly, hassles. “I know when I call AGI for a price I don’t have to second guess whether or not I’m getting the best deal. I don’t have to go on the Web and Google the products they spec. It’s a streamlined process.”
A professional AV company follows the latest technological developments and can help a church find the right equipment within their budget, to help fulfill their vision, mission, and goals. “Even though I consider myself knowledgeable, the AGI staff goes to the trade shows, they read the journals. I don’t have time to do what they do,” Patterson said, noting that he considers Kyle Anderson a “genius” in the AV industry.
A reputable company won’t sell you products you don’t need, either, an important consideration in lean times when money is tight. For instance, when Patterson called AGI’s Director of Operations, Jason DeMoe, with a question about February’s Digital Television transfer, Patterson was prepared to spend close to $20,000 to replace the church’s wireless system to comply with new FCC standards.
DeMoe said, “I would have loved to sell him replacement wireless equipment, but he may not need to spend that money now. I told him to wait, as the situation with the FCC isn’t resolved yet.” “They’re all straight shooters,” Patterson asserted.
Finding an AV Contractor
For churches shopping around for a full-service company to handle all their AV and lighting needs, Patterson said, “Look at their Vision statement and find out their purpose. I know that AGI, for instance, is here to help churches. That is 90-plus percent of their business.”
He also recommends relying on word-of-mouth. Ask other churches in your area, especially those with systems you like, to recommend a company. When you find a company you are considering hiring, ask for references, too. Patterson says he never hesitates to recommend AGI Professional and, in fact, just referred AGI to a colleague in a Texas church for a $600,000 AV and lighting installation project.
Looking Toward the Future with AGI
Champions Centre is a non-denominational Christian church with a total membership of 6,000 across two campuses. Services feature contemporary worship with concert-level sound, full theatrical lighting, and video projection on large screens. The church holds one Saturday night service and three Sunday morning services.
The new ETC Sensor lighting dimmer system in the Tacoma sanctuary replaced multiple rack mount dimmer packs. The packs were 25 years old and no longer met the needs of the church.
“They actually had to keep three or four spare dimmer packs on hand because several were always out for service at a time,” said AGI lighting designer Kelly Baum. “They would get three back from the shop and, by that time, another three would need repair.”
The ETC Sensor system includes two 96-channel racks in the main equipment room and another 48-channel unit near the front-of-house to accommodate a total of 128 circuits. Although the church couldn’t afford a turnkey system upgrade at the time, the modular design of the ETC system gives them an inexpensive upgrade path for the future.
When the time comes a few years from now to upgrade all the AV systems in the space, Patterson said it will be an easy decision to call his friends at AGI. “The AGI staff caters to who we are and what we do. I love the relationship we have with them.”