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Inside Gulf Coast Productions: Where The People Behind The Gear Make The Difference

Established in 2000, the Southern Louisiana-based entity has grown and thrived in delivering high-caliber production services in both live and install applications. U.S.,


By Keith Clark January 8, 2018

Gulf Coast founder/CEO Larry Habetz (at right) with guitarist Doyle Dykes at the James Burton and Friends concert in Shreveport, LA served by the company. The images above provide a look into that event.

To Larry Habetz, founder and CEO of Gulf Coast Productions, the single most important aspect of the production business is long-term relationships, whether they’re with customers, partner companies and associates, or manufacturers.

“Our philosophy is straightforward: we know that customers can get the gear anywhere, so it’s the people behind the gear that make the difference,” he explains. “The unwavering goal of Gulf Coast is to exceed expectations throughout the entire production process. By defining each customer’s specific needs and using proven techniques, the latest industry innovations and reliable equipment, we leave no need unmet.”

Established in 2000 and based in the small city Rayne in the Acadia Parish of Southern Louisiana, Gulf Coast Productions delivers high-caliber sound, lighting, roof and stage production services and equipment for a wide variety of live events, and increasingly, installations. The thriving enterprise is well on its way to fulfilling Habetz’s mission to serve as a leading provider of production technology in the Southern U.S., garnering thousands of satisfied customers along the way.

“Across the board, we’re always pleased with the work of Gulf Coast,” states a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Alexandria in Louisiana, a long-time client. “We hold our annual youth conference each year, in which Larry and his team illustrate their attention to detail and concern for quality far beyond what is expected of them all. Our team believes that the creativity and knowledge of Gulf Coast helps us in providing the best conference possible.”

Hand In Glove

One entity that Habetz rates high on the relationship meter is Electro-Voice. It’s an affiliation that goes back almost three decades, the past two with Gulf Coast serving as a valued dealer of the EV’s full line of loudspeakers, amplifiers, processors and microphones. “The key is that EV basically acts as a true partner in what we’re trying to achieve for our customers,” he says. “They get it. They look out for us. They’ve assisted us and supported us in a lot of different ways and areas over the years.”

An example is the implementation of a concert-level sound reinforcement system at Word of God Ministries for the church’s newly constructed 1,500-seat worship center in Shreveport, LA. By the time Gulf Coast got the call for the project, the system had already been bid by a different installer who was no longer involved.

EV XLD281 line arrays, EVF-1122S full-range loudspeakers and XLC215 subwoofers deployed by Gulf Coast to serve the worship center at Word of God Ministries

“When I visited the site for the first time,” Habetz adds, “the structure was already built, and they were starting with the finish work on the inside. I asked the pastor if he was wedded to the PA that had already been bid, and he asked what I would recommend. I told him that I would choose Electro-Voice, because while good-quality product is available from a number of sources these days, nobody else offers the level of service that we get from EV.”

No EASE modeling had been done to validate the existing system design, so Habetz acquired the CAD drawings and sent them to the EV in-house application engineering department. “The very next day, the EASE model was waiting for me in my inbox,” he continues. “That meant that I was able to put a bid in the pastor’s hands that afternoon. He was blown away, and said that we were the first contractors on the entire construction project that had been able to turn things around like that for him. That definitely made an impression on him, and helped him make his decision.”

Extending Success

It’s that type of relationship that also has Gulf Coast seeking to utilize EV equipment on every project, albeit within the pragmatic need to always select exactly the right tool for the job. “The thing about EV is that new products steadily flow out and the line expands to meet additional needs, all the while remaining very high-quality equipment,” Habetz says.

The impressive depth in terms of product lines and support has been furthered by an extension of the relationship with EV parent company Bosch. Gulf Coast specializes in the entire line of Bosch gear, which has in turn expanded the company’s ability to serve an even wider customer base in the integration market.

Gulf Cost delivered more than 100 EV loudspeakers and plenty of support for a unique film premiere at legendary Fenway Park in Boston.

This came into play recently in a bid on another large church system project. The client asked Habetz directly why the church should put its trust in Gulf Coast, which gave him the opportunity to expound on his relationship with EV. “I explained that if EV, one of the largest manufacturers of pro audio equipment in the world, as well as Bosch, one of the largest manufacturers in the world, trust us, then it says something very significant.” (Gulf Coast was awarded the project, by the way.)

He continues: “That type of trust and relationship is what we can bring to customers, where there’s a world-leading organization and a vast number of people we work closely with and who can bring their talents and energies to bear when developing systems and solving problems.”

Full Circle

The symbiotic relationship between Gulf Coast and EV has evolved over the years. Habetz fondly recalls one of his mentors, the late Monte Wise, who held the title of systems applications specialist for the Bosch Security Systems division when he passed away in 2009, as one of the individuals “who took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. The wisdom and knowledge he provided me was priceless.”

He extends his focus to Wise’s mentor, Jim Long, who worked with EV for more than 40 years and contributed to the company in myriad ways: “I got to know Jim through Monte, and it’s another one of those connections that was such a key part of both us coming up through the ranks. The drive that we have is because of individuals like this.”

A system deployed by Gulf Coast at the 12,000-plus-seat Cajundome in Lafayette, LA, has the EV line arrays and loudspeakers managed by an EV NetMax DSP/matrix controller with FIR-Drive.

 

A newer generation, such as EV product manager Guillermo Wabi and Bosch vice president of key accounts Tom Hansen, have been vital in keeping the affiliation strong and mutually beneficial. “We share a lot of common fundamentals on doing business,” Habetz concludes. “Obviously, EV hasn’t been around 90 years because they’re doing it wrong. That’s pretty rare in today’s business climate where companies hang around for a time and then they’re gone.

“So to be a part of a company that has that much lineage and heritage, and a consistent approach of doing things right, is a true asset to what we’re trying to do. And to come full circle, it’s based on relationships.”

Find out more about Gulf Coast Productions here.

 


About Keith

Keith Clark
Keith Clark

Editor In Chief, ProSoundWeb & Live Sound International
     
Keith has covered professional audio and systems contracting for more than 25 years, authoring hundreds of articles in addition to hands-on work in every facet of publishing. He fostered the content of ProSoundWeb (PSW) from its inception, helping build pro audio’s largest portal website, and has also served for several years as editor in chief of Live Sound International (LSI).
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