Rigging expert Harvey Sweet retires

harvey-sweet_headshot.jpgMiddleton, WI (22 January 2013) – Respected theater-technology expert Harvey Sweet has retired from ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.), after four years in the position of ETC Rigging’s senior product manager. He finished his tenure on December 31, 2012.

Says Sweet: “Having worked for over 59 years -- most of them in theater production and theater equipment manufacturing/installation industries, with the last four at ETC -- the time has come to hang up my hammer and my keyboard. It was a great experience and career cap to have been part of ETC. I had watched the company grow to become the largest, most significant theatrical-lighting firm in the United States and a major player throughout the world, and then I was privileged to join and help the ETC Rigging product come into its own on the industry stage.”

ETC’s CEO Fred Foster says: “We’ll miss Harvey’s invaluable knowledge. He is an authority in the field of stagecraft. And I deeply appreciated Harvey dedicating the last few years of his long and illustrious career to ETC’s rigging effort. It is tremendously ironic that he was my first professor at the UW…neither of us could have forecast our futures, much less anticipated that we would end up working together 35 years later."

Sweet was most recently among those honored with the PLASA 2012 ‘Frank Stewart Volunteer of the Year Award’ (LDI 2012). He was a fundamental part of ESTA’s E1.6 – 1 Rigging Task Group, which was recognized for developing the motorized-rigging standard. As the Task Group’s leader, Sweet had worked for seven years on the project, logging over 1200 hours. The rigging standard has been officially adopted by ANSI (the American National Standards Institute).

Dr. Sweet is also the published author of three theater-technology textbooks. He holds a Ph.D. in Scene Design Criticism and a Masters in Theatre Technology and Design, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He taught theater technology, scenic design and theater aesthetics for over 30 years at several universities.

Within his long resume, Sweet also held executive positions in the industry, including as Vice President - Sales, LA ProPoint, in Sun Valley, California, and Vice President of Theatrical Rigging Systems for LVH Entertainment Systems, Oxnard, California. His international experience includes serving as Executive Director of Lighting for Tokyo’s Sanrio Puroland theme park. He also owned and operated Sweet Studios Theatrical Equipment and Supplies, Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Sweet’s other industry leadership roles have included Chair of ESTA’s Fire Safety Curtain Task Group BSR E1.22, as well as Chair of the Powered Rigging Task Group, for the Rigging Working Group of the Technical Standards Committee. He also headed up USITT’s Educational and Technical commissions.

Sweet and his wife Peggy will continue to reside in Waunakee, Wisconsin. Long looking forward to leisure travel, the couple celebrated the retirement with an Asian cruise.

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