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Fred Foster, co-founder of Middleton-based lighting design company, dead at 61

MIDDLETON (WKOW) – Fred Foster, co-founder and CEO of the Middleton-based lighting design company ETC, has died at the age of 61, the company announced today.

Founded in Madison in 1975, ETC started as a college project and has since grown into a global leader in the manufacture of lighting and rigging technology for entertainment and architectural applications.

The ETC culture of family, support, and encouragement is attributed to Foster and his vision of creating a people-focused environment, according to the company news release.

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, the release said.

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

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.

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


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