Uptick in Chicago tech deals new biz to specialist shop

CHICAGO: In a sign that the Midwest tech scene is showing new signs

of life, Chicago-area agency Tech Image recently signed five new

clients, accounting for roughly $700,000 in fees.



Tech Image was hired to handle b-to-b PR for all of its new accounts,

which include Follett Software, Strategic Systems International, Virtual

Media, Webley Systems, and XNet Information Systems. All five companies

are located in the Chicago metropolitan area.



Tech Image is also planning to start an industry analysts' relations

group. In support of the effort, Tech Image has affiliated with the

Worldcom Public Relations Group in the belief that the hi-tech PR

business is about to pick up steam, said Mike Nikolich, CEO.



"I hear from people that they're pulling their heads out of the sand and

starting to look for PR again," Nikolich explained.



Of the 22 tech clients his firm now has, Nikolich admitted that six

ceased PR spending this year as the economy began to slump. But all six

have indicated that they plan to start spending again in 2002, he

said.



Tech Image will end the year with about $1.5 million in revenues,

down slightly from last year's $1.7 million. However, Nikolich is

forecasting a doubling of fees next year.



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