Spotlighting Hawaii Entertainment
by Pacific Business News –
Hawaii Stage and Lighting Rental started 48 years ago as a family-owned electronics company that repaired audio equipment in Hawaii clubs and hotels, and expanded over the years to meet client demand to supply materials and equipment for concerts and other events.
“We can do whatever a customer asks,” Owner and Founder Craig Maddocks told Pacific Business News. “If we can’t provide something, we go and buy it.”
The company previously handled logistics for big-name concerts in Hawaii, including Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, and Arashi, which drew thousands to Ko Olina Resort in 2014 and is the company’s biggest production to date.
It now primarily has corporate contracts, setting up incentive events for companies from all over the world.
The business has trickled down to the kids and grandkids, though Maddocks has no plan to step down anytime soon.
People are at the core of the business, which made it through the recession without laying anybody off.
“Our people are our biggest assets,” Maddocks said. “We also do everything we can for our clients, and there is really nobody else that does what we do. That is why we have so many repeat customers.”
The strategy has resulted in consistent growth for the company, which has a main warehouse in Honolulu, with two others on Maui and the Big Island.
How many clients do you have? We have a lot of repeat clients but we are constantly bringing on new clients as well. You never know—it is in the hundreds. We have clients from the United States, but we also have a lot from Japan, Korea, Australia, Canada. Our focus now is corporate, and our clients—which include IBM, SAP, Salesforce and Oracle—usually bring in a main act to Hawaii as an incentive event. We also have the exclusive rigging contract for the Hawaii Convention Center, which we just renewed for the next three years.
What is the biggest challenge to doing business in Hawaii? Human resources and venues. Hawaii has very little venues to produce shows in, and it is very hard to find qualified labor. To get into this business, you really have to love it. It is time consuming and very demanding.
How many employees do you have? We have about 45 full-time employees, and we have up to 200 part-time employees for certain projects. It is also union too, we use IATSE. It’s not uncommon to see someone who has been working here for 15 years.
How do you retain your employees? We make sure we have good pay and good benefits, and we are a very close company. We organize two large events for our employees every year, one on the Fourth of July and one on Christmas. Training is also very important, and we invest a lot for the safety of our employees. We have all kinds of classes here — CPR, climbing, rope classes … We have kids who have kids who work here, so that makes it even more important.
Where do you get your equipment? We mostly have all of the big stuff — we don’t have to buy major stuff anymore. But if someone wants a fogger and we can’t find one to sub-rent locally, then we will buy it from the Mainland. There’s no industry here, so everything comes from the Mainland.
What is the best part of your job? Like I said, to be in this business you really have to like it. It is my hobby. There is a lot of reward in it as well, from going in with nothing and seeing the final result…the transformation is really cool.
Do you have other hobbies? We have had season tickets for the University of Hawaii football games since the stadium first opened in 1975. That has always been incredibly important to us, and up until two years ago we never missed a game. Our 50th anniversary was a UH football game.
Do you support community organizations in Hawaii? We donate all of our labor and resources to two events every year, the Police Memorial Gala and an event for the Make a Wish Foundation.
What is next for the company? We never know what is next, but we plan on continuing to provide the best service to our clients. We have a good group of people to lead the company, including Kalani Rodriguez, our vice president of production, and our two daughters Debby and Shawn.
Hawaii Stage and Lighting Rental
Craig Maddocks, President
Address: 822 Mapunapuna St, Honolulu, HI 96819