Profiles - A Light-Hearted Look at Industry Personalities

Peter Ed

Business Development Consultant, PE Consulting

No. 29 in a continuing series

Peter Ed

Caricatures by

David Lewis

Peter Ed once dreamed of becoming an astronaut, after John Glenn's three turns in Friendship 7 made an indelible impression on him as a youngster. He has been striving after the impossible and improbable ever since.

Born in Stafford, he emerged into consciousness in South East London, before his family moved to Gothenburg in Sweden when he was nine. Life passed uneventfully - apart from the usual adolescent thrills and spills - and he ended up studying electronics and physics at Chalmers University of Technology. Chalmers and Peter got on so well that the University sent him to finalise his studies by doing a Masters degree at Imperial College in London. However, the Drama Society and Student Union bar nights progressively took up more and more of his spare time.

It was a certain Brian Croft, then at TFA in Marshalsea Road, who started him on the long journey of theatre lighting by referring him to Theatre Projects in Covent Garden. His first job on the professional scene was looking after the Kliegl lighting desk at the brand new musical Cats at the New London Theatre. Other memorable shows at TP were the first UK tour of Annie, a Summertime Special in a circus tent on a windswept field outside Bournemouth and the emergency repair of a dimmer system for Flic Flack, a freak show for intellectuals, in Mannheim.

Feeling creatively unchallenged, he found himself at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School studying as a ‘Directors Attachment'. Never quite knowing what he was attached to, and after directing a few plays, one at the New Vic Studio (a wonderful Molière), he drifted around the harbour area, getting himself into trouble. It was the Baltic Trader Thekla that lured his attention away from the BOV, installing lighting and sound on the ship in time for a series of lunch time plays for the opening of the Old Profanity Showboat, as it was named.

Living on the ship (in the Captain's Cabin), Peter lit the shows, repaired bilge pumps, humped loudspeakers up and down to to the hold, changed the beer barrels and counted the cash at the end of the day. One memory was giving a young comedy duo, the ‘Slattery-Vranch Irrigation System' enough work to get their Equity cards. Also known as Tony Slattery and Richard Vranch, they later became household names on the international comedy scene.

After a period as Chief at the Palace, Redditch, he moved back to London having got himself a proper job as a Sales Engineer for Tim Burnham Associates (TBA), that went into receivership seven weeks after he joined. As one of only three survivors, he was bought up by film camera and studio lighting company ARRI (GB), designing dimmers and the world's first DMX equipment (the Connexion modules) and working with a small but well respected US company called ETC, buying their pcbs and making ARRI Image and Imagine consoles. Many satisfying installations included TV studios as far apart as Tyne Tees and Australian Broadcasting, London fringe theatres and West End and Opera houses in Italy.

With a young family and too much travelling, Peter decided to leave ARRI, and landed in the corporate corridors of Strand Lighting as global product manager for control and dimming equipment. His baby products include the LD90 dimmer, the GSX/LBX consoles, the EC90sv dimmers and the 400/500 series control systems. He then moved into business development, using his transatlantic expertise and contacts, working in the international Cruise Ship and Theme Park markets. Particularly satisfying was winning the contracts to supply the two Disney cruise ships, the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder with ship-wide architectural control and dimming systems.

Another change beckoned, and Peter joined ETC Europe, first as Business Development Manager for leisure markets, and later as Marketing Director. During this period he helped to develop ETC Europe's strategic marketing positioning as well as strengthen their capabilities in managing project sales in the Cruise Ship and Theme Park markets. During this time he was instrumental in forming the European Division of the Themed Entertainment Association, TEA Europe, becoming the first European President of the Association.

Today, Peter has almost forgotten his aspirations to conquer space - but he is eager to conquer new markets for any client desiring to uses his skills and experience in developing new business.

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