Electronic Theatre Controls

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Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.
Industry Theatrical and studio lighting equipment
Founded Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. (1975)[1]
Founder Bill and Fred Foster[2]
Headquarters Middleton, Wisconsin, U.S.
Area served
Key people
Fred Foster, CEO
Dick Titus, President
Products Lighting control systems
Stage lighting instruments
Fixture dimming
Stage rigging Automated Rigging Systems
Power distribution systems
Website ETCConnect.com

Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) is a privately held corporation with global headquarters in Middleton, Wisconsin, United States. An international manufacturer of entertainment and architectural lighting systems, ETC offers professional lighting fixtures, lighting control consoles, dimming equipment and power distribution components. Specific product areas include the Source Four line of lighting fixtures; two series of LED lighting fixtures; ten lighting control consoles; two dimming systems; an architectural-lighting control; and a line of lighting gear. the company also manufactures the Transtechnik brand of dimming and control systems, studio automation systems, as well as IES Matrix dimming systems, used throughout Europe.


In 1975, Bill Foster and his younger brother Fred founded ETC while students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Bill was the first president and Fred is the current chief executive officer. During its first decade, the company established itself as a manufacturer of microprocessor-based lighting control consoles.

By 1990, ETC had acquired Lighting Methods, Inc., a Rochester, New York-based manufacturer of entertainment dimming systems. Soon, ETC became one of the largest fully integrated entertainment lighting control manufacturers in North America, with offices in Middleton, Wisconsin; Orlando, Florida; Rochester and Hollywood.

In 1995, they acquired the lighting control division of London-based distributor ARRI GB. Also that year, they opened an office in Hong Kong. In 1997, the firm opened a marketing office in Copenhagen, and a year later opened an office in Rome.

In 2002 the company acquired Transtechnik Lichtsysteme of Holzkirchen, Germany, widening the market share in Europe. The next year it took an equity position in AVAB Transtechnik, Paris. They acquired Dutch sine wave-dimming manufacturer IES in 2004, including its industrial weighing and measuring division Penko Engineering BV, both located in Ede, Netherlands.

In March, 2005, all formerly separate operations of ETC in Europe were rebranded under the common corporate name of ETC. Headquarters were located in Middleton, Wisconsin.


In 1987, the company designs and manufactures a lighting control console.[3]

In 1982, ETC releases its first console: Concept

In 1987, ETC releases a console called Expression

In 1992, it introduced the Source Four ellipsoidal spotlight and the Obsession lighting console.[4]

In 1995, it introduced the Source Four PAR which is meant to replicate the performance of PAR cans while lessening the disadvantages involved with traditional PAR cans.

In 1999, it introduced an alternative to Fresnel lanterns.

In 2002, it introduced a multiple PAR as an alternative to striplights.

In 2004, it introduced a moving fixture which was awarded both the EDDY and ABTT awards.[5] The Revolution has a filament structure, as opposed to most other moving lights, which use arc lamps. Also, the product uses a gel string color scroller instead of the typical color wheel, thus allowing lighting designers to use familiar gel choices.

In 2006, it introduced a lighting control system. EOS[6]

In 2007, it introduced a lighting control console. ION[7]

In February 2009 it acquired an LED performance set of lighting fixtures based on X7 technology.[8]

In 2012, it introduced a new branch of its products completely lit with LEDs. They were made to reduce energy use and produce less heat. One of them can change colors.


  • Fred Foster, Chief Executive Officer
  • Dick Titus, President
  • Julie Cymbalak, Chief Operating Officer
  • Sarah Danke, VP, Professional Services
  • Steve Downs, VP, Quality and International Operations
  • David Lincecum, VP, Marketing
  • Bill McGivern, VP, Manufacturing
  • Steve Terry, VP, Research & Development
  • Mark Vassallo, VP, World Sales
  • Jeff Welch, VP, Finance

General Managers[edit]

  • Philipp Schaeffer, General Manager, ETC GmbH
  • Susanne Krause-von Ketelhodt, General Manager, PENKO
  • Matthew Brookfield, General Manager, ETC Ltd.
  • Wynne Cheung, General Manager, ETC Asia
  • David North, General Manager, Rigging