David Cunningham: 2010 Wally Winner


Lighting industry inventor and visionary David Cunningham is the winner of the 2010 Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award. The “Wally” will be presented by Fred Foster, CEO of ETC and former Wally winner, on Saturday, October 23 at the LDI Awards ceremony at LDI2010 in Las Vegas.

Cunningham graduated from the University of California San Diego with degrees in philosophy and chemistry in 1969. From his early days as an actor and director, he turned his talents to technology and built the world’s first computer-controlled lighting system for the UCSD Experimental Theater. He went on to design the Compuset 2000 for Van Buren Industries in 1974.

Cunningham then became vice president of R&D for Strand Century where he developed a number of industry-changing control and dimming product lines, including the MultiQ, MicroQ, Mantrix, Light Palette, Mini Palette, Mini Light Palette, CD80, and Environ II. In 1984, he became president of Entertec, and was responsible for the development of various control, dimming, and lighting products for Lee Colortran and ETC, including the overwhelmingly successful Source Four and Sensor product line for ETC (>$1B sales to date).

Between 1996 and 2002, Cunningham created an “art house” in Los Angeles and a second “art house” in Del Mar with a team of twenty artists, and produced numerous improvisation performances during the same period. Between 2001 and 2006, he designed several LED-related lighting fixtures for entertainment applications, and entered into a joint venture with Color Kinetics. In the last six years, Cunningham has been developing high efficiency incandescent sources and fixtures for entertainment and general lighting applications. He holds numerous patents and has truly been a leading source for lighting.

Founded in 1992, the prestigious "Wally" Award was established in memory of Wally Russell, a true trailblazer whose career influenced future generations of industry professionals. Each year, the "Wally" honors one individual who exhibits a strong sense of leadership, a commitment to technological innovation, and a career of service to the lighting industry.

Past winners of the "Wally" include: Richard Pilbrow, Joel Rubin, Fred Foster, Allen Branton, Richard Belliveau, George Izenour, Sonny Sonnenfeld, Jimmy Fuller, Jim Bornhorst, Stan Miller, Don Stern, Bran Ferren, Fred Bentham, Francis DeVerna, Tharon Musser, George van Buren, Charles Altman, and Wally Russell (in memorial).

For additional information about the Wally Russell Awards and how to make a donation: www.wallyfund.org

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