Brothers Fred and Bill Foster and their friends James Bradley and Gary Bewick begin work on a prototype lighting control console in a basement apartment in Madison, Wisconsin, using new chips called microprocessors. In between sailboat races, Bill writes most of the software, Gary designs the hardware, James provides technical and software engineering, while Fred adds the lighting knowledge and industrial design.
With only a few people, ETC builds its first products for Colortran, who private-labels them “Channel Track.” Bill, the original president of ETC, leaves to become a physicist, while Gary goes on to pursue his Ph.D. in electronic engineering, and James leaves ETC for the fields of photography and color reproduction. Fred, eventually ETC’s chief executive officer, continues with the company, adding people and products.
First fifteen years: ETC earns reputation for sophisticated, microprocessor-based lighting control consoles.
ETC launches first ETC-branded console, Concept.
ETC designs and manufactures flagship Expression® lighting control console.
ETC moves into first of eight buildings in fully-operational factory in Middleton, Wisconsin.
In February, ETC makes dramatic growth leap with acquisition of Lighting Methods, Inc., a Rochester, New York-based manufacturer of entertainment dimming systems. ETC quickly becomes one of the largest fully integrated entertainment lighting control manufacturers in North America.
ETC introduces Source Four® ellipsoidal spotlight, Obsession® control console, and Sensor® dimmer at LDI (Lighting Dimensions International) 1992 tradeshow.
ETC expands into Asia with opening of Hong Kong office.
ETC expands into Europe, acquiring the lighting control division of London-based distributor ARRI GB.
ETC introduces Unison® lighting control systems for architectural applications.