Business of the Year: Catalyst Exhibits Inc.

This exhibit for Carbon Black, a cybersecurity company, featured a branded arcade-brawler game.
This exhibit for Carbon Black, a cybersecurity company, featured a branded arcade-brawler game.

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:38 pm

Pleasant Prairie-based Catalyst Exhibits Inc., founded in 1998, has seen notable growth over the past four years and continues to find ways to innovate.

It’s for these reasons, among others, that earned the tradeshow exhibit creator the Kenosha Area Business Alliance’s Business of the Year award, as part of KABA’s Ovation Awards program.

The company provides a range of services for clients globally. It specializes in the design, development, fabrication and management of exhibits and displays for trade shows and expos. Its work entails custom exhibit design, rental exhibit solutions, program management, interactive design, event management, event marketing and trade show designs.

Tim Roberts, CEO of  Catalyst Exhibits Inc.
Tim Roberts, CEO of
Catalyst Exhibits Inc.

“Catalyst is honored to be one of this year’s (Ovation) award recipients,” said Tim Roberts, Catalyst chief executive officer. “It’s really a celebration of our customers, our employees and the community in which Catalyst has been able to continuously grow.”

Catalyst relocated from Crystal Lake, Illinois, to a 144,000-square-foot building in Pleasant Prairie’s Lakeview Corporate Park in 2009. In 2016, it had 130 employees. That number grew steadily each year to 160 employees today.

It has also seen double-digit percentage-point increases in gross revenue in that timeframe. In 2016, Catalyst saw a 13.5% growth in gross revenue. In 2017 it was 16.7%. In 2018 it was 15.7%. And year-to-date in 2019, it is about 12%.

“One key to our growth is that every day we focus on our four core pillars of growth, innovation, quality and efficiency,” Roberts said. “One example is our addition of a digital laser finishing system (that) helps with higher quality graphics and CNC production. Another example is our new Octave division that provides turnkey (audio/visual) services and equipment for exhibitors. The more we can do under one roof, the more cost-effective we become for our customers.”

Catalyst invested in the state-of-the-art digital laser finishing system this year. According to the company, it has higher quality graphics to provide faster and better-quality products to clients.

Through its Octave division, the company will be able to create a more technological full-service exhibit trade show experience. Octave A/V has allowed Catalyst to better support its clients’ audio-visual needs, push the industry standard and create more local jobs, the company said.

An exhibit Catalyst created for Axalta.
An exhibit Catalyst created for Axalta.

The company also says it has focused this year on adding some process experts to its team, which allows it to provide more consistent service to customers.

Catalyst is also involved in a number of efforts in support of the local community. For instance, the company is redesigning space and donating furniture and wall graphics to the Boys & Girls Club. It also donated supplies to be sold at Annie’s Resale for the World, a nonprofit group based in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. Money raised from those sales goes toward helping educate children, as well as providing food, shelter and emergency relief to families around the world.

Catalyst also sponsored events such as the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce’s Scholarship Golf Classic, which provides qualified high school students with scholarship funds to attend a college of their choice, and a golf outing for Open Wings Learning Community in Kenosha.

Catalyst Exhibits Inc.
7809 100th St., Pleasant Prairie
Industry: Trade show exhibits and events
Employees: 160

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