Bridging the Technology Gap in the Live Events Space

This article was published in the Tech Summit 2020 issue

By Chad Fraughton, Co-Founder and Vice President, Cornerstone Technologies

Game changer. Paradigm shifter. Market disruptor.
Buzzwords to which all companies aspire, at least the progressive ones, and especially along Utah’s Silicon Slopes. For more than 28 years, our mission at Cornerstone Technologies has been to help companies implement that one idea, process, or emerging technology that pushes them beyond the competition. Living in the live event space, we continue to bridge the gap between tech and our clients, providing access to the latest and greatest. Allowing their guests to see, hear, feel – to experience – their brand with clarity and impact.

Along the way, we’ve enthusiastically embraced technology internally to simplify the complexities of our business and streamline our processes. This journey has led us down paths we might not have imagined in the early days, but in our own small way, we’re proud of our contributions to the rise of Silicon Slopes. Cornerstone has spun off six successful start-up ventures that support our mission, and we employ more than 100 engineers, creatives, technicians, and support staff.

Cornerstone co-founder Todd Mortensen and I originally worked for WordPerfect / Novell during the salad days of the late 1980s. We gained real traction once we started plugging in individuals from our video broadcast and satellite communications background into live events such as distance learning, trade shows, production, and technology support. We were leveraging the advances in technology to develop effective communications tools and strategies.

In 1993, it was time to start flying on our own. Thus, the birth of a new breed of company – Cornerstone Technologies – setting out to bridge the gap (there’s that phrase again) between marketing and communications teams, and their audiences. With our signature flair, we supported trade shows, new product releases, user groups and industry events. Initially, we focused on gear and technical support, but it didn’t take long for our creative abilities to manifest, utilizing that gear to help us communicate in unique and exciting ways. That’s why I’ve frequently referred to Cornerstone as a different kind of tech unicorn – a left brain/right brain hybrid. Creatives with an endless supply of “What if we could …;” techs who nerd out on making those specific visions become reality.

We pride ourselves on creating a family culture at Cornerstone, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise when the “kids” started coming – startup ventures aligned to support the Cornerstone mission.

  • Cornerstone Logistics (2003). Meeting our clients’ logistical needs has been a long-time Cornerstone advantage. We can be anywhere at any time – meeting deadlines and staying in budget.
  • Flex Rental Solutions (2010). This was a real technological master stroke – think of it as the Google of the industry. Being able to create bids around the clock and having access to available inventory was definitely not the norm a decade ago. We took VPN mobile software for service and made it web-based for ease in problem solving. The software dramatically streamlined our business, plus today it helps more than 1,500 companies streamline their businesses, too.
  • EventLab (2015). There are distinct differences between production design and environment design. EventLab creates immersive brand environments unique to each client’s culture and message.
  • Entertainment 2.0 (2016). Giving clients a direct pathway to hiring headline entertainment and keynote speakers while flawlessly addressing the myriad associated details.
  • The Forge (2018). This company brings creative renderings to life. It builds custom brand environments, working with metal, wood, foam, acrylic and other materials.
  • Destination by Design (2019). This is a true win/win venture. Our clients win as we procure premium space and negotiate hotel and property contracts (resulting in significant savings); we win as we also negotiate favorable production timelines with the facilities.

Cornerstone’s reputation as the go-to company for live events – not only in Utah, but also nationally and across the globe – is well-earned. We will continue to bridge the gap between tech and our clients, helping them set their brands apart in exciting and meaningful ways. Our family of companies will no doubt expand as we continue to identify specific competitive advantages that also help our clients become the next …
Game changer. Paradigm shifter. Market disruptor.

Read the rest of the articles in the Tech Summit 2020 issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine

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