Continuing its tradition of celebrating sci-fi motion picture premieres, ETC closed down its global headquarters last Friday and smuggled all 800 Wisconsin employees off to see the opening of Star Wars – The Force Awakens.
Nineteen school buses shuttled the staff from Middleton and Mazomanie to fill 10 rented auditoriums at a local theater. An exhilarating buzz permeated the rumbling buses as employees, many adorned in Star Wars costumes, chattered about their hopes and expectations.
“I’ve been waiting for this movie since before I was born,” said Mike Tarman, a lifelong Star Wars enthusiast from ETC’s Marketing department. “I’ve kept my expectations in check, but I’m feeling something I’ve not felt since…” Tarman, an aspiring filmmaker, helped create a Star Wars-themed video to announce the company outing at ETC’s holiday party a week prior. Since then the entire company has been buzzing.
Upon arrival, attendees found free soda and popcorn awaiting them, as well as a full-sized, remote-controlled R2-D2 replica, who was featured in the announcement video, courtesy of Mike Masino, brother of John Masino, ETC product graphics designer, who has been building the droid for a couple of years, including having some parts painted at ETC.
During the adventure to a galaxy far, far away, U.S. technical phone support was graciously provided by ETC’s London office, allowing the U.S. staff to enjoy the film as well. Employees of ETC’s offices in New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, London, Holzkirchen (Germany), Rome, Ede (the Netherlands), and Hong Kong attended the film at separate showings in their time zones.
This is the third time ETC has closed for a movie premiere. First was to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979 when ETC counted a mere five employees. Then in 1999, Fred again sent more than 500 employees to attend Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
“We’re a company of geeks!” exclaims Foster. “And we’re thrilled to celebrate one of the most anticipated motion-picture releases in history.”
You can view ETC’s Star Wars announcement video on the company’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=004YQtGh9fI.