Fred Foster, ETC co-founder and CEO has passed away at the age of 61. Foster was a visionary, an innovator, and a role model. The ETC culture of family, support, and encouragement are attributed to Foster and his vision of creating a people-focused environment. It’s difficult to put into words what it has been like to work for and with such an inspiring leader.

One of Foster’s greatest qualities was his ability to bring people together and rally them around a goal or a vision. Whether it was a new product technology, a tradeshow booth design, or an employee meeting space, he was always creating, always making, and always giving. His ideas were big, and his heart bigger.

Foster is credited with countless industry contributions ranging from product innovations to student mentorship programs. He has been recognised repeatedly for his philanthropy from a number of organisations.

Foster announced his cancer diagnosis in the summer of 2015 and went through extensive treatment to prolong his life. Foster died peacefully surrounded by family and loved ones. Both of his children, daughter Kate Foster and son James Foster, as well as his wife, Susan Foster, are employed at ETC.

Mathew Lewis, ETC product manager at ApexPro, the South African distributor of ETC in South Africa, states:

“Fred Foster’s contribution to theatre went beyond just the creation of ETC. Throughout his life, Fred seemed to emulate that special quality that is innate to theatre geeks all over the world. The love of the work, the always can-do attitude and the sheer joy that comes with making magic happen. And even though we might be a world away from Middleton Wisconsin here on the southern tip of Africa, today our thoughts, hearts and wishes are right there, with the whole ETC family.

“The theatrical community has lost a visionary and champion. But we should feel honoured that our industry was touched by a man such as him.

“From all of us at ApexPro and the ETC community here in South Africa, we send the Foster family all of our love and best wishes and will do our best to keep his legacy alive and proud.”

You can read more about Foster and his life of giving at