Tom Littrell is originally from Wichita Falls, Texas. In 1970, he graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas – (look it up!). He was drafted, spent three years in the Army, and then went back to graduate school in technical theatre. A friend’s cousin worked for a company in Dallas called Showco. They provided large-scale lighting and sound systems to rock tours. Tom dropped out of grad school to do a tour or two with Showco, then go back and finish his degree. But his second tour was as a lighting technician on Paul McCartney’s Wings over America 1976 tour. That tour…uh...set the hook so he stayed at Showco and toured with Led Zeppelin, the Who, Genesis, Linda Ronstadt, and others. In 1980, he was ready – again - to go back to grad school when Showco engineers began work on what would become the Vari-Lite system. He was asked to help with that project and delayed going back to graduate school one more time, going on the road with Genesis and the first Vari-Lite system in 1981. He programmed the moving lights and operated the console for the first show in Barcelona, Spain, and the rest of the tour. He continued at Vari-Lite for another twenty years – touring with Genesis as well as David Bowie, ZZ Top, Hall and Oates, Don Henley, and many other concert and corporate event clients. Later he did technical product management and marketing.
In 2002, Showco/Vari-Lite was sold and Tom was laid off. He immediately called ETC. Happily, they offered him a job and he and his wife Stacy moved to Madison, Wisconsin in 2004. He was Fixtures Product Manager for ten years and then became an outreach and training specialist. He retired in August 2020 after seventeen years with ETC. He loves Madison – but could do without the winters.
FYI, he still doesn’t have a graduate degree and wonders if he should go back to school.
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