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 products include the Source Four line of lighting fixtures; the Selador Classic and Desire series of LED lighting fixtures; Element, Eos, Gio, Ion,Cobalt, Congo, Congo jr, Congo Kid, SmartFade, and SmartFade ML lighting control consoles; Sensor+ and SineWave dimming systems; Unison architectural-lighting control; and Smart Solutions lighting gear. ETC 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 of ETC. Fred is the current chief executive officer. During its first decade, ETC established itself as a manufacturer of microprocessor-based lighting control consoles.

By 1990, ETC had acquired Lighting Methods, Inc. (LMI), 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, WI; Orlando, FL; Rochester, NY; and Hollywood, CA.

In 1995, the company grew again when ETC acquired the lighting control division of London-based distributor ARRI GB. Also that year, ETC opened an office in Hong Kong, extending its expansion into Asia. In 1997, ETC opened an office in Copenhagen, Denmark, to serve the Northern European market, and a year later opened an office in Rome, allowing greater access to Southern Europe.

ETC acquired Transtechnik Lichtsysteme, Holzkirchen, Germany, in 2002, widening ETC’s market share in Europe. Continuing its growth, ETC took an equity position in Avab France in 2003. In 2004, ETC acquired Dutch sine wave-dimming manufacturer IES as well as 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 joined under the common corporate banner of ETC. ETC’s headquarters, located in Middleton, WI (near the state capital Madison) serves as the hub of global administration and manufacturing.

Popular ETC Products[edit]

In 1987, ETC designs and manufactures the flagship Expression® lighting control console.[3]

In 1992, ETC introduced the Source Four® ellipsoidal spotlight.[4]

In 1995, ETC 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, ETC introduced the Source Four PARNel as an alternative to Fresnel lanterns.

In 2002, ETC introduced the Source Four MultiPAR as an alternative to striplights.

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

In 2006, ETC introduced the Eos™ lighting control system.[6]

In 2007, ETC introduced the Ion® lighting control console.[7]

In February 2009 ETC acquired the Selador product line, an innovative LED performance set of lighting fixtures based on X7 technology.[8]

In 2012, ETC introduced a new branch of its popular Source Four 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, VP, Human Resources and IT
  • 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