ETC lights venues all around the world – theaters, museums, tradeshows, amusement parks, concerts and more. One of the main reasons our equipment is so popular is because we understand what lighting professionals need for their varied applications, since we’ve been in their shoes. Employees have come to ETC from all kinds of backgrounds and have their own experience in those industries. And every year, we get the opportunity to showcase our skills at an annual company picnic, art exhibit and talent show – called ETC Live! – held at our factory.
This year’s event, with a ‘Fire and Ice’ theme, took place on Saturday, August 7th. The deluge of rain that Wisconsin’s gotten this year took a day off, so we lucked out with beautiful – albeit humid – weather. Nearly 1,000 people – ETC employees, our families and guests – joined a swarm of Wisconsin state birds (read: mosquitoes) to enjoy the food and fun. ETC CEO Fred Foster provided some relief from the humidity, peddling around the event on his ice cream cart and handing out frozen treats. And kids got to experience a fantasy land, with a bounce house, massive inflatable slide, magic show, games and crafts.
ETC’s Town Square was turned into an art gallery for the event. Artists and photographers throughout the company displayed their beautiful paintings, photography, sculptures and woodworking in the pseudo shop-windows. And the parking lot was temporarily turned into a car show, as ETC gearheads showed off their classic and restored cars.
Then the ETC Live! show started. ETC’s outdoor amphitheater was bathed in deep blues and reds, thanks to the Selador® Series LED fixtures in the lighting rig. Manufacturing’s Dan Woodson kicked off the entertainment with a rendition of “Sweet Caroline.” He was followed up by ‘Madtown Ballroom,’ a local Latin-dance troupe made up of ETC R&D’s Matt Garrison and friends, dancing Salsa Rueda. Alternative-rock group ‘Crew Member Mike’ – all teenagers, including a son of R&D’s Dennis Varian – performed song covers and an original tune. Next up was musical-comedy group ‘Ironsides.’ John Ironside from ETC’s IT department, along with his wife and others, took on hits by the Carpenters, interspersed with witty observations on the neurotic nature of the famed lyrics. Rob Raff from the Sales department of ETC’s Southeast office – fresh off his smashing opening act at ETC’s Rep and Dealer Workshop – serenaded the crowd with smooth coffee-house covers of favorite rock and pop ballads. He was backed up by Scott Aumann from ETC Repairs, and Curt Schreiner and Rob Bloch from Shipping.
The main event of ETC Live! opened with teenage band ‘The Last Minute,’ which included sons of ETC’s John Masino (Manufacturing Engineering) and Lisa Patzka (Administration). The group handled clean covers of hits by Jane’s Addiction and Stone Temple Pilots and performed an original piece. ‘The John Masino Band’ took the stage to close out the show. Fronted by vocalist and guitar-wizard Masino – who was backed up by Aumann and Schreiner among others – the group wowed the crowd with incredible music, including classics by Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Jimmy Hendrix, David Bowie, The Foo Fighters and AC/DC, as well as the band’s own original hits.
At the end of the night, everyone packed up their lawnchairs and picnic blankets to head home. On Monday, we came back to the office to display our other talents – making award-winning products and providing outstanding customer service.