Christmas eve, 1975 an 18 year old college student pitched the idea of a state of the art lighting console to his college professor. "We're going to make a lighting console and sell it to the Met!"
With this statement of determination, ETC was born.
One year later, on Christmas day, Fred Foster, his brother Bill Foster, and two friends, James Bradley, and Gary Bewick, revealed the Mega Cue - the lighting console that started it all.
Twenty years later in 1996, Foster's dream was realized when ETC sold a lighting console to the Metropolitan Opera House (the Met.)
Christmas Eve 2015 marked ETC's 40 th anniversary, and there's no denying we've come a long way. Now a global leader in the manufacturing of lighting and rigging technology, ETC employs over 1000 people across 10 countries, in 11 corporate, and several home offices. ETC is proud of its industry reputation for unmatched technical and customer service, 24/7/365. And with a family of over 300 authorized service centers throughout the world, staffed by hundreds of certified technicians, customers are never far from an ETC resource with a face and a name.
"We develop professional tools, and make them accessible to everyone," says Foster. Our products can be found in small and large venues worldwide, such as theaters, churches, restaurants, hotels, schools, television studios, casinos, theme parks… and opera houses.
While ETC products continue to win awards, Foster is quick to tell anyone who asks, "We have the best people. And when you have the best people, you can never stop growing." ETC's employees constantly keep an eye on technology trends, always asking, 'how does
this benefit our customers and how can we improve on it?' We strive to be a resource to our customers with live training sessions, workshops, online classes, forums, videos, news articles, and more.
Fred Foster was a visionary, an innovator, a role model, and a true leader. His contributions to the entertainment technology industry were countless and ranged from product innovations to student mentorship programs. He was recognized repeatedly for his philanthropy by several organizations around the world.
Throughout the years, Foster performed virtually all roles for ETC – from original inventor/engineer to industrial designer, tech support, salesman, marketer, chief operating officer, to president, and finally, CEO.
Fred Foster passed away in February of 2019 leaving behind an industry-leading company with a unique culture and a future of continued growth.
In 2015 the board members of privately owned ETC decided the company would become one-third employee owned. In order to reward the employees for their dedication, the company awards shares of ETC stock to employees over a 10 year period in the form of an ESOP, or employee stock ownership plan. With this expansion of ownership ETC further acknowledges the employees as the backbone of the company and solidifies ETC's future as a privately owned, independent company. A company where the culture can be passed down from generation to generation. A culture where employees come first, where family is number one, and where customer service means treating everyone as they should be treated.
At ETC we take our mission statement seriously.