ETC keeps the spotlight on training


Product training opportunities have increased significantly over the past several years as ETC continues to grow. Having recently celebrated its 45th year in business, ETC has gone from modest beginnings to become arguably the largest manufacturer of lighting and control products in the world. They’ve added rigging, software, architectural, horticultural, weighing divisions, and other product offerings over time. ETC is well known and respected for the quality of these products, and for the customer service provided to the end-user. For many years, ETC has placed increased emphasis on education and training events and opportunities across the globe. While some other lighting companies have manuals and datasheets online, no other manufacturer offers ETC’s sheer breadth of training and educational resources.

Online and in-person training

There is such a wealth of available information, training courses, virtual events, and resources across all the various product ranges – it can be a bit daunting to see the full ETC picture. Fortunately, the lion’s share of free content lives on ETC’s Training page and on ETC’s YouTube channel. There are also numerous opportunities for accredited online training, focused across many disciplines. Finally, ETC’s Educational Outposts are beginning to safely ramp back up for in-person training.

CUE conference training

ETC Vice-President of Marketing David Lincecum points out, “Training has been a hallmark of ETC’s formula for great service because customers will always have a better experience when they know how to use the products to make their lives easier. That started with face-to-face, one on one instruction, and over time it’s grown to include online learning through events, YouTube, and our education portal LearningStage. Everyone learns differently and we have a class for whatever your style may be. We look forward to the return of in-person training.”

“Everyone learns differently and we have a class for whatever your style may be.”

Educational material ranges from hundreds of video tutorials available through ETC’s Video Learning Series, YouTube channels, and the online Study Hall, implemented at the onset of the 2020 global pandemic to keep educational offerings in motion, and to support the industry during this difficult time.

Traditionally, ETC hosted two separate bi-annual events in their Middleton headquarters; CUE was focused on students, educators, programmers, and designers, while Workshop was tuned for dealers and manufacturer reps. For 2020 and 2021, the ETC Workshop sessions were held virtually and were greatly appreciated by those in the industry whose work and travel were ultimately sidelined by the pandemic.

The online LearningStage training courses present the unique opportunity to receive accreditation for successful courses in specific areas, including technician, continuing education, entertainment and architectural controls, rigging, hardware, and software. For those that may wish to pursue a career as an ETC specialist, this resource is a gold mine. Users just need to create an ETC One account, log in, and start browsing through available courses.

Education and training department

Education and Training Manager Sophie Pierronnet joined ETC London in 2004, where she primarily assisted with ETC’s Authorized Service Providers program, which to this day is led by the company’s Field Service teams. Pierronnet’s team brings many years of experience in training reps, dealers, and end-users, as well as participation in the CUE and Workshop events. She says that with the 2005 launch of the Congo console, followed by the Eos control family in 2007, the pace of ETC’s training quickened, and the company began to offer in-depth console training in several different ETC office locations. “From my exchanges with customers and colleagues over the years, one thing seems clear: ETC takes providing training to our end users, dealers, reps, authorized service providers, and employees on our products and industry very seriously. Training is an inherent part of our support philosophy.”

“ETC takes providing training to our end users, dealers, reps, authorized service providers, and employees on our products and industry very seriously. Training is an inherent part of our support philosophy.”

Since 2017, the team has held in-person training for several thousand individuals across 26 states and five territories. More recently, ETC has adapted some of the programs to being taught fully online as blended learning.

Sophie continues, “We have had opportunities to expand our online syllabus and grow our online learner base – in 2020 our online training platform LearningStage saw an increase of nearly 1000%! While the education team itself is fairly small, by working with subject matter experts from many areas of ETC and outside of ETC too, we have been able to steadily release new courses and webinars. Our goals are to continue to strengthen all of our programs: in-person, virtual, and hybrid, and to bring our customers more courses to help them enjoy using our products to their fullest.”

Product training at ETC

While the takeaways from these programs may seem targeted more towards ETC’s High End Systems end users and manufacturer reps, educators really appreciate the benefits that ETC’s training resources bring to their students.

Brad Hull of Mercer Zimmerman describes the impact that in-house training can deliver to their customers, saying, “Ellen White and Spencer Lyons came to KC in 2019 to conduct a two-day Ion training class. Mercer Zimmerman hosted the event for ETC in our in-house training facility at our new company headquarters. Being able to invest two days in this engaging manner is critical to cultivating long relationships with the entertainment professionals in our market.  ETC is a model of technical and customer support.  Its training, education and industry outreach programs are second to none. It was a pleasure to partner with ETC to keep our customers coming back production after production, season after season. And we’re looking forward to hosting them again!”

“ETC is a model of technical and customer support.  Its training, education and industry outreach programs are second to none.”

Johnny Hackenkamp of Wunder Lighting & Controls, Inc. shared similar thoughts on ETC’s online opportunities, saying, “I very much appreciate that ETC makes the online console and product training courses, especially the ability to self-pace my learning and do them when I have the time. For ASP (Authorized Service Provider) specific Lighting and Rigging training, I like the structure of the training I have attended and very much appreciate the hands-on and practical application portions of them. Last, I believe the ongoing Study Halls are quite beneficial. I am always sharing little tidbits of information with coworkers and colleagues and try to be prepared for any teachable moments that may arise.”

The simple phrase ‘Education and Training’ is powerful at ETC, but in some ways, they just skim the surface of the copious resources and continued drive by ETC to help their customers. If you know ETC, this should come as no surprise. There are support articles, a database of service-related articles, and User Forums, just to name a few. All these efforts combined have produced powerful and tangible results for ETC through the years, through great loyalty to the brand and continued support of the products.

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Bruce Jordahl
Bruce joined the ETC family in 2017. A former magazine editor and journalist, Bruce also worked in marketing at High End Systems throughout the 1990’s, returning as a consultant in 2012. At ETC he covers marketing for the High End Systems product range, and pinch hits on projects for other company departments. Based in Austin, Bruce is a musician and budding record producer, and was nicknamed ‘the ETC musical director’ at Workshop 2018, a moniker he is now comfortable with. He has enjoyed a long side career performing at lighting industry events, loves to talk about his amazing grandchildren, and gets occasional points for sending banana nut bread to his co-workers.