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ARCHIVED  August 1, 1996

News: Terra Firma’s offerings range from Internet to inventions

There’s no dearth of one-person Internet shops peppering Northern Colorado. For those who simply want access to the Internet or a home page designed, choosing a service provider can be somewhat overwhelming, given thechoices. But consider this. If you want access and a home page, plus reconfiguration of your computer system, plus relational database programming, plus a new corporateimage, plus industrial design drawings or just someone with whom to reflect philosophically on issues of importance (or non-importance), then TerraFirma Design might be your kind of company. Combining his technical expertise with a flair for the artistic, owner Kai Staats has balanced left-brained and right-brained traits in a company that
offers a wide variety of customer services. Staats has worked closely with Alan Wendt of EZLink Internet Access to launch the EZLink web site, a gathering place where companies post home
pages, customers access the Internet, and entertainment and shopping can be done. An industrial designer and dabbler in inventions by trade, Staats didn’t exactly plan his company’s shift to Internet-related business. One year ago, an Arizona-based client wanted to gain Internet access and asked Staats to help. “I spent two weeks learning everything there is to know about the Internet,” he said. With that in his hip pocket, Staats returned to the client ready to help the company ramp up. However, in the meantime, the client had moved ahead
with another provider. Not about to write off his new knowledge, Staats began marketing Internet access as another talent of Terra Firma Design and
working on the EZLink web site. And now, in addition to web-page program design for large companies such as WTCI, an arm of TCI Cablevision, and Vartec, a Denver company,
Staats is nearing approval on a proposal to help the firms change corporate identities. Plus, he has a patent on an ergonomic computer keyboard and backpacking equipment that is being tested by major sporting-goods retailers. “He knows the technical side, but also has a great imagination,´ said Joanne Monath, marketing communications manager at Ultimate Support
Systems of Fort Collins. The company was Staats’ first customer in Fort Collins. Ultimate, a manufacturer of music stands, would send assembly instructions and drawings of how to assemble products to customers. The
photographic portions of the instructions were costly to take and produce. Staats suggested videotaping the assembly of a piece of equipment, then using stills shot from the video tape with the instruction text. “It saved us a lot of money,” Monath said. “Plus, we just liked him. He’s such a nice guy.” Back on the web site, Staats likens his expertise to those of desktop publishers in the 1980s. “Back then, that was the buzzword,” he said. “Suddenly, people with access to computers became experts in desktop publishing.” Those involved in the industry had to raise their standard to compete with service providers. Staats said the same thing has happened in the Internet
fray. What sets him apart, he believes, is quality web-page design and a variety of services with which to serve clients. “I don’t claim to be an expert (in any of his service areas),” Staats said. “But I can produce for a company cohesiveness and consistency in three or
four areas of its business.”

There’s no dearth of one-person Internet shops peppering Northern Colorado. For those who simply want access to the Internet or a home page designed, choosing a service provider can be somewhat overwhelming, given thechoices. But consider this. If you want access and a home page, plus reconfiguration of your computer system, plus relational database programming, plus a new corporateimage, plus industrial design drawings or just someone with whom to reflect philosophically on issues of importance (or non-importance), then TerraFirma Design might be your kind of company. Combining his technical expertise with a flair for the artistic, owner Kai Staats has…

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