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Special effects firm expands

Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on August 22, 2009

Ultratec Special Effects Inc

By Hank Daniszewski ā€“ London Free Press

The London company behind the flash and smoke of many stage spectaculars has taken on a new name and global ambitions.

Ultratec Special Effects Inc. is the new name for the company formerly known as Le Maitre.

Founded in 1992 by Adrian Segeren, the company provides pyrotechnics, fog machines and other effects for rock concerts and major musicals. It has recently handled shows by bands such as Metallica and Nickelback and shows such as Disney on Ice.

Le Maitre is a pyrotechnics firm based in Britain. Segeren started out as the head of the Canadian branch of the company.

He said the firms have grown apart and the relationship formally ended in March, prompting the name change.

Segeren said cutting the ties to Britain also freed Ultratec to expand to international markets.Goremaster Makeup Effects Manual

“Our plans are to go on a global basis. We are planning to expand into Europe and southeast Asia,” said Segeren, who started as a DJ in his family’s dance hall in Oxford County.

The company plans to set up a distribution centre in Europe next year.

Almost 90% of the company’s market is in the United States, making it vulnerable in recent years to the rising value of the Canadian loonie. Segeren said the company is “chugging along” despite the recession.

In 2007, the company took over Luna Tech, a rival pyrotechnics company in Alabama. Segeren said the assembly of most of the pyrotechnic products is now done on that site. He said the Alabama operation has helped shield the company from currency fluctuations.

Ultratec also has a small servicing office in Florida.

The London operation, based in Hyde Park, produces a variety of non-pyro special effects including fog and smoke machines, bubble and artificial snow makers and confetti cannons.

With the Alabama acquisition, the company has grown to 80 employees, with about 35 in London and the rest in the United States.

Despite the company’s global push, Segeren said he has no plans to move the company from London.

“Lots of people ask me about that. I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

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