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Chris Curtis has seen his fair share of presidents get inaugurated up close.
And when Donald Trump is sworn in on Friday, Jan. 20, Curtis will be there along with his video production company, GoVision. In fact this will be the fourth time the Argyle-based company will provide its services for a presidential inauguration.
GoVision will provide 11 video screens for the official swearing-in ceremony on the grounds of the Capitol Building and nearby. It will provide seven other screens around the Washington, D.C., area for other events.
“For total worldwide attention, this is the biggest event there is for us,” said CEO Curtis, who founded GoVision in 2002.
GoVision’s first presidential inauguration was for George W. Bush in 2005. It also did both of Barack Obama’s inaugurations in 2009 and 2013.
Curtis has never met Trump or any of the presidents for which his company has performed services. But he said it is still exciting to be involved and to be present.
“I’ve always been in awe of seeing it,” Curtis said of the events. “There was the historic role of Obama’s inaugurations, and this will be an historic one as well.”
In all, this will be Curtis’ sixth presidential inauguration to attend and for which his company will provide video services. He was also at the 1993 and 1997 inaugurations of Bill Clinton with his former company, Screenworks, which is now a major competitor of GoVision.
In fact, the 1993 inauguration was the first to use a video screen, he said.
“We were one of the first to have SONY Jumbotrons and when they contacted SONY they sent them to us because we had the portable units,” Curtis said.
Curtis sold his share of Screenworks in 1998 and figured he had worked his last inauguration. Then, a few years later, something happened in technology that drew him back into the business. LED screens came onto the scene and were more cost-effective.
“My thinking in getting back in is this stretches it, so I got back in,” he said.
Then, a friend helped get him re-connected for the inaugurations.
“Fort Worth’s own Roger Williams [District 25 congressman] was on the Bush inaugural committee and helped me get back in,” Curtis said. “GoVision had just started a mere two years before, so to get something like that we knew we were on our way again.”
That was also the first inauguration after the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Congress had created the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, with which Curtis and his company dealt concerning their services.
Among the many events in which GoVision has been involved were the past three NCAA Division I college football championships, the NCAA Final Four, the Rose Parade, the Colonial and Byron Nelson golf tournaments, Super Bowl fan activities, and even the pope’s visit on the Capitol steps. Curtis is a 1983 graduate of TCU. And yes, his company has provided equipment for events at his alma mater.
The company has even done work abroad, such as providing shot clocks, scorers’ tables and video boards for a basketball game in Japan broadcast on ESPN and some fan events at the 2010 Olympics.
GoVision, in partnership with Panasonic, also installed Colossus, the world’s largest freestanding video board, at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee. It has four screens and measures 8,694 square feet.
In 2016, GoVision was acquired by Plano-based Learfield, a college sports multimedia and sponsorship company that manages the multimedia and sponsorship rights for 125 collegiate institutions, conferences and arenas. No price for the transaction was released. GoVision will continue to operate under its own name.
Curtis said it’s more than the large events that have made his company successful.
“We take great pride in doing great work, not just this [the inauguration], but for customers we’ve had for a long time as well,” he said. “It’s what we do, from the smallest local festival to inaugurations. Main Street Days in Roanoke, Texas, is a big thing to them – and to us.”