Meet The Team
Bill Ellis, IESNA
Bill Ellis began his career while earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Lighting and Audio from the North Carolina School of the Arts. He is a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and sits on its Theatre, Television and Film Advisory Committee and Museum Lighting Committee. Bill is also member of Control Protocols Workgroup for ESTA. A leader in systems integration, Mr. Ellis is a Certified Low Voltage System Specialty Contractor in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Louisiana
Throughout his tenure, Mr. Ellis has gained experience and respect in the industry for his innovative thinking and problem-solving approach to the unusual project. Some of his most challenging projects include: the Sky Church and Artists Journey at Experience Music Project, Seattle, WA; the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, IL; the Space Shuttle Atlantis on display at The Kennedy Space Center, FL; and the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor, MD. In addition, there have been over 19 casino projects in 7 states, the Bahamas, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as multiple themed projects for the Walt Disney World Company and SeaWorld Entertainment.
Mr. Ellis is also dedicated to community service. He has been a volunteer reservist with the Orange County Fire Rescue Department in Central Florida since 2003, photographing scenes to use for marketing, training and investigational purposes.
Business credits and recognitions include Owner of Candela Controls Inc. since 1999; Systems Integrator VANCO Lighting; Systems Engineer BASH Lighting South; Master Electrician, Walt Disney’s World on Ice; PLASA’s Volunteer of the Year 2014; and an Archi-Tech award winner for Technology Integration in 2010 for the Carolina Herrera store in Las Vegas, NV.
Mr. Ellis resides in Winter Garden, FL with his wife and two daughters.
Dale Ward began his professional career as a stagehand and stage manager while a student at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, in 1970. During the summers he worked with the prestigious summer stock company, Kenley Players. Throughout the rest of the year, when classes would allow, he worked with I.A.T.S.E. Local #12; where he became a member in 1975. In the fall of 1976, he left Columbus for Chicago and joined the tour of Fiddler on the Roof with Zero Mostel. This tour ultimately landed him on Broadway.
During his eighteen plus years in New York, Dale moved from being a Broadway stagehand to a production manager of many live events including The Paris Opera Ballet and the Ballet de Marseilles for the Metropolitan Opera Presentation Department. In addition, he was the production manager for several major touring companies from Europe for the Lincoln Center in New York, and The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
While working as an independent production manager, he helped establish the highly acclaimed film and video production company known as The Maverick Group. During his time with Maverick Dale produced live events, industrial films, commercials, and some of the first music videos for the “upstart” network know as MTV.
His music video clients included Epic Records, Atlantic Records, Profile Records, and CBS Records. He produced videos for such artists as The Manhattans, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Supreme Team, Robert Hazard, and Run DMC. He also produced televisions pilots for HBO, Showtime, and MTV.
In 1987 Dale Joined Vanco Stage Lighting which was bought in 1996 by Production Resource Group. There he focused his attention on lighting special events for live audiences as well as for television and film.
Some of the better known events in which he has been involved are the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, the Republican National Convention, the Democratic National Convention, many of the Presidential inaugural galas, numerous Super Bowl half-time shows, “Christmas in Washington,” “The Kennedy Center Honors”, and “A Capitol Fourth” and the “Memorial Day concert”, both from the Capitol lawn in Washington DC.
In 2012 Dale joined Candela Controls as General Manager to help guide the business aspect as well as promote the growth and development aspects of this great boutique company. Working with Bill Ellis, President of Candela Controls, Dale looks forward helping this company grow and become a true industry leader worldwide.
After graduating with a degree in Broadcasting from Loyola University of New Orleans, Bill moved to New York City and began work on staff at the Julliard School as a theater electrician. In 1984, Bill began working for industry icon, Sonny Sonnenfeld as a Manufacturer’s Representative selling entertainment and architectural lighting systems.
Bill moved on to form his own Manufacturer’s Rep firm representing Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) in the New York/ New Jersey market prior to beginning his almost 30-year career with them as one of the key directors of the company working all over the world.
From 2014 through 2016, Bill worked with ACT Lighting (exclusive North American distributor for MA Lighting & Clay Paky) as Vice President of Business Development.
Having known Bill Ellis and Dale Ward for many years, Bill is excited to be joining Candela, getting more involved with the system’s business and assisting them in their continued growth.
Bill enjoys spending time with wife & three sons, saltwater fishing, & playing golf.
Chris Crouch has been working in the CAD field for 4 years and is Candela’s CAD Manager. As CAD Manager Chris is responsible for keeping the CAD department moving and ensuring that the field and shop have drawings to allow for work to be completed accurately and smoothly. Crouch’s attention to detail with a hint of OCD is what allows him to excel at keeping drawings up to date and assure closing documents are correct; thus keeping the CAD department in order and running without issue.
Chris’s first job was at a bicycle shop where he was in charge of assembling bicycles and is where he first discovered his love for the sport of BMX. On a typical weekend Crouch can be found at the BMX track showing off new moves on his bike. Aside from bikes Chris’s interests include cars, turning wrenches, electronics, and comics. Other than finishing school Chris’s biggest accomplishment is being able to finally say that he has a career rather than just a job.
Samantha Riiska grew up in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. She graduated from Smith College in the spring of 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Government with a concentration in Central and Eastern European Politics, and Theatre with a concentration in Lighting Design. She’s tried just about every thing you can do in theatre from acting to stage management to directing, but has found nothing she loves quite as much as lighting. She is extremely passionate about the intersection between art and social change and is always on the look out for unique projects that combine her passions for history, politics, and theatre.
She joined the Candela Controls team as a CAD Technician in early 2016, after relocating from New England, and is enjoying the lack of snow and abundance of sunshine in Florida. Her favorite part of working at Candela is the new and interesting projects that come across her desk, particularly those being done for theme parks.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, baking, running, biking, and participating in any kind of theatrical projects she can find.
After graduating from high school in 2004 Seth entered the work force in the automative industry. Over the course of 10 years Seth gained experience in custom wheels and tires, body repair, and powder coating. In 2016 Seth switched gears and joined the Candela team, bringing with him a working knowledge of CAD which he first learned in high school. Since first joining Candela, Seth has expanded his CAD skills and now primarily handles Candela’s theme park projects. With an interest in themes parks as a visitor, he now gets to work on the back end from an engineering standpoint.
When he’s not working Seth enjoys riding BMX, going to concerts, seeing movies, exploring theme parks and weird roadside attractions.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Dave’s first two chapters began when he joined the US Army, serving for 3 years as Sargent of the MPs. His goal was to someday become a police officer. He reached that goal and served for 18 years in Melbourne, FL and Palm Bay, FL.
This chapter in David Crawford’s professional career began after returning to school and completing his degree in Drafting Design from Eastern Florida State College in 2018. He joined the Candela team shortly thereafter as a CAD specialist. Dave has been a welcome addition to the CAD team and apparently the feeling is mutual – he lives in Melbourne, FL, and doesn’t seem to mind the long commute to Winter Garden.
Dave met his wife while on the job as a police officer and together they have 3 children and 5 granddaughters. He is an advanced scuba diver and likes to go diving in the Keys with his son. If you ask if he likes to travel, he’ll quickly tell you that he’d much rather jump out of an airplane than take a trip in one. Welcome aboard, Dave, and thank you for your service!
Chris finished school at University of North Carolina in 1991 and moved to Florida and began working for Candela and has been with the company for 17 years. Prior to his time with Candela Chris was a production electrician for Bash Theatrical Lighting Company. Chris primarily works with ETC and Crestron products. In the field Gallaher is responsible for ensuring proper installation of equipment as well as connecting and verifying communication between our system and others.
Matt ‘Woody’ Sypko
Woody relocated to Florida from Boston in the early 1990’s and worked as a bartender at Disney’s Pleasure Island for 11 years. He began his career with Candela Controls in 2002 as a Fabrication Technician. Today, he manages the Shipping and Receiving Department. Additionally, he works as the in-house Fabrication Technician building specialized cables, panels, control racks and prepping fixtures to be installed in the field and he assists in the field as an Installation Technician as needed.
Woody is a great addition to the team. He is an incredibly hard worker that will do what needs to be done. He also has impeccable comic timing, always ready to lighten the mood with a quick one liner.
Daniel’s electrical background started at Petra Zenon De Fabery vocational high school where he first studied electrical. After graduation he began studying Industrial Electrical and PLC at Liceo de Arte y Tecnología in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Daniel began his career in the electrical field working first as an electricians helper, before becoming a commercial electrician then transitioned into the low voltage controls field.
Daniel joined the Candela team in 2012 bringing with him over a decade of low voltage electrical experience. Daniel has completed ETC’s new technician training course.
Daniel is an avid Milwaukee tool, windows and Android user. In his spare time Daniel enjoys camping and playing videos games such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Final Fantasy Tactics.
Erich Toombs studied Technical Theatre and Production and Design at Florida School of the Arts. Toombs joined the Candela Controls team in September 2016 and brought with him over a decade of experience installing and servicing ETC, Martin, Vari-Lite, and other major lighting brands. Erich is also an ETC certified field service provider. When he’s not working Erich enjoys helping to raise his daughters and flying quadcopters.
When Junior Jones first became interested in electrical work he enrolled in California’s electrical apprenticeship program. After completion Junior worked as an electrician for five years before becoming a licensed journeyman. Junior was a journeyman for five years before joining the Candela team. Junior is responsible for installing lighting systems and also handles wire pulls on job sites.
When he’s not working Junior enjoys playing sports, especially tennis.
Leo Leon Mercado
Leo studied at Bernardino Cordero Bernard vocational school in Ponce Puerto Rico. After graduation Leo worked in the air conditioning field for ten years after which he spent two years as an electricians helper before joining Candela Controls, Inc. as an installer.
In his free time Leo enjoys camping with his family, snorkeling, and relaxing at the beach. Leo also enjoys tinkering with various objects to create things.
Senior Systems Programmer
Brent moved over from the IT industry to the Lighting Industry in 2002. His technical background is mainly in computers, software, and networking, but has also maintained and serviced AV control systems as well as developed interactive games for NBA City and others. Currently he has been programming control systems and user interfaces for over 15 years.
At NBA City, Brent was the Manager of IT, AV, and Interactive Game Development. As IT Manager, he implemented a wide area network that merged the corporate office with satellite locations onto one giant network that made it easier to manage, control, and communicate. He also implemented a Virtual Private Network, allowing traveling users to be able to access the network securely from the internet as if they were in the office. He also set up the ability to remotely access and control any computer in any office or AV room, which made troubleshooting, servicing, and software upgrades much easier to handle with very minimal effort. As AV Manager, Brent maintained the systems which included projectors, TVs, plasma screens, LCD’s, amplifiers, speaker stacks, microphones, video servers, video cameras, video switchers, LED boards, Media Matrix, AMX, and lighting. He also created animations and media content as well. Finally as Interactive Manager, he not only maintained and modified the existing games, but also created 6 proprietary games that tested your skills as an NBA player. The games included Dribble, Quickness, Vertical Leap, Free Throw, 3-Pointer, and Pass and Shoot. Currently, Brent is Candela’s Senior Systems Programmer with certifications from manufacturers such as ETC, Crestron, and others. He has programmed networked systems, touch screens, and web based interfaces that interact with various manufacturers hardware and software giving the end user one simple interface to navigate and control. This effort bridges the gap between the sometimes complex systems and the often non-technical end user. Brent is member of the Advanced Programmers Group for ETC. At this time he is one of only seven APG members in the Eastern USA. He is also a member of ESTA which helps shape and create technical standards for entertainment technologies. You can find more information about the APG by visiting http://www.etcconnect.com/Products/Architectural-Systems/Paradigm/Software/Advanced-Programmers-Group.aspx and for ESTA at http://esta.org/ .
Brent enjoys writing and playing music in his off time and has been playing guitar for over 35 years. He has also played in various bands across the country from the 1985 – 2005.
Jim has been a programmer of lighting consoles and show control systems since 1989. Primarily working in theme park environments, he also has experience with architectural installations, touring theater, concerts, and contemporary worship. His lighting design credits encompass musical theater, live concerts, and large scale fountain installations. In 2008, Jim changed career paths to manage installations of new productions and consumer events for SeaWorld in Orlando.
Since August of 2010, Jim has worked as a freelance designer and programmer. Recent programming projects include, the pre-Broadway version of “Chaplin” at La Jolla Playhouse, the LED lighting in the rotunda at Harrah’s Cherokee, NC, WINK-TV Ft. Myer’s, FL studio renovation, national tour of “Dreamgirls”, national tour of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story”, LED mapping and control for “Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin” at SeaWorld Orlando, “Shamu’s Christmas” at SeaWorld San Diego, the off-Broadway production of “Little Miss Sunshine”, and Christmas light shows at Disney’s Swan Hotel.
Jim is the creator and moderator of the annual LDI convention seminar series "The Art of Programming" discussing strategies and techniques of programming lighting consoles. Jim is also a member of the Advanced Programmers Group for ETC.
In addition to programming lighting systems, Jim also develops software and databases. His hobbies include running and softball. He is an alumnus of the University of Miami and University of Phoenix.
Office & Management Team
Carl Harris started his electrical career in 1981. He attended New Castle School of Trades where he received a Certificate of Electrical Maintenance 1st class. He further received his Florida Journeyman Block License in 1989. His work history consists of employment in the following capacities; steel mill maintenance, limestone plant electrical maintenance, cement plant electrical maintenance, residential electrical service and new installation, industrial electrical install and repair of conveyor and canning systems, and commercial electrician service and installation.
Carl started with Candela Controls as an Installation Technician and today, Carl serves as a Project Manager. A few of the projects he has really enjoyed working on, include Coca-Cola, Disney’s Rock & Roll Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Theatre in the Wild at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Bob Marley’s, Margaritaville, and the Universal Studio Cineplex at the City Walk Complex at Universal Studios, AT&T/Cirent Semiconductor chip plants’ clean room, Walt Disney World’s main computer/IT building, and the Orlando International Airport/ Food court, to name a few.
Mark has been making a living in the world of show lighting for the past 33 years. After attending both UNC Chapel Hill and East Carolina University, in 1985 he went to work for a small lighting company in Raleigh, NC, eventually moved to Manhattan, followed by Connecticut and then to Orlando. Along the way he’s worked for Production Arts Lighting, Hartford Ballet, Disney World, Bash Theatrical Lighting, and Christie Lites. He has also worked with many other freelance clients for thousands of projects from bar bands to Broadway. Colvin has carried the titles of Production Electrician, Production Stage Manager, Lighting Designer, Lighting Director, Shop Manager, Operations Manager, Show Manager and even Pyro technician a few times. Throughout this experience he’s met a lot of semi-crazy but very interesting people. In the fall of 2017 Colvin decided Project Manager for Candela Controls, Inc. would be an interesting new title to explore. Since joining the Candela team Colvin’s primary focus has been managing the many casino projects.
Mark and his wife Melissa (the Hartford Ballet stop above) are proud soon to be parents of one college graduate, with a second on the way in a couple of years as well as 4 cats, a dog, and 2 horses. In the very rare free time he has Mark enjoys fishing or photography; or even better, both.
Kacey Conn comes to Candela after a career in the industry spanning over 19 years. Kacey majored in Theatre at Towson University with a focus in lighting design and stage management. After college she began doing production and freelance work which grew into a small lighting and rigging installation company based in the greater Baltimore, MD area. She helped grow the business over those 10 years as Owner and President.
During that time, Kacey served as an active member of ESTA’s Business Resource committee member, and as a dealer representative and secretary for the Board of directors. Kacey became Membership Manager for ESTA (formerly PLASA).
Kacey took a brief hiatus from the industry working as a software business analyst, a job that taught her many new skills, but did not feed her passion for the lighting industry. During that time, she stayed connected to the industry by riding with the Long Reach Long Riders charity motorcycle group that raises funds for Behind the Scenes. She has served as a member, and most recently as the President, of the Board for The Cockpit in Court Summer Theatre in Baltimore. Kacey has also been doing freelance lighting design on occasion in the Baltimore area.
Carol Cimino joins the Candela team as Project Manager after a lengthy career in the theme park industry. Her primary focus will be the multiple themed projects that Candela is committed to. Carol’s diverse experience in the industry will prove to be an invaluable asset to the team.
Carol has spent 30+ years at SeaWorld Orlando where she “worked the circuit” in the Entertainment Department. She began her career with SeaWorld as an operator and technician for lighting and laser systems, and a technical director and stage manager, she helped to install and operate many of SeaWorld’s iconic shows and consumer events. As the Entertainment department grew exponentially, so did her interest in developing new team members to help them succeed. As a result, she became a bit of a travelling manager, building and developing teams in the areas of Maintenance, Stage Management, Costuming, Pyrotechnics and Administration. She rounded out her career at SeaWorld as the department’s Safety and Training manager, developing safety protocol, best practices and compliance standards that served not only Entertainment, but multiple areas throughout the park.
Prior to joining Candela, Carol also worked in Derry Township, Pennsylvania as a Safety Supervisor for Hershey Entertainment and Resorts (and yes, it really was a sweet job!). As someone passionate about how companies work, she gained an amazing perspective on business operations from a company who has been in the theme park business successfully for over 100 years.
With a BA in Communication and a Master’s degree in Education & Training, Carol considers herself a lifelong learner. She has spent over 20 years actively serving on Entertainment and Theatre Advisory Boards, coaching and interning with students to help them develop the skills that will help them as they start on their new careers. Taking a page from that book, Carol is enjoying being the new kid in the neighborhood
After graduating from The University of Central Florida, with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, Kelly joined the Candela team as an Administrative Assistant in October 2014. Kelly is responsible for handling calls, assembling project submittals and manuals, presentation and conference material, database management, and handling RMA's.
Prior to working at Candela, Kelly was an at home advisor for Apple Inc. and an Operations Assistant with Geek Squad®. Her previous work experience with both Apple Inc. and Geek Squad® has allowed her to help out with any day-to-day technical glitches that may occur. In her free time Kelly can be found working on her sailboat, exploring new places to photograph, or spending time with her five cats.
Thierry Housiau is Candela’s bookkeeper and is responsible for general accounting, including accounts payable & receivable, payroll, and billing. Thierry was born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium and has been working in the accounting field for the last 26 years. He has built up his knowledge beginning at his very first accounting job in 1990 in a family business, where he was employed from 1990 to 1997. Thierry’s proficiency in accounting and Excel as well as striving to keep customers happy makes him an asset to the Candela team!
Outside of work, Thierry’s passions include meeting new people and music. He graduated from the Music Academy in 1983 and helped in a recording studio for many years, where he gained a lot of knowledge and confidence. Thierry’s dream job would include giving back to the community, as he likes to help those who are less fortunate and need assistance.
Client Relationship Manager
Sharon McCullough joined the Candela team in March 2016 to further develop Candela’s growing portfolio of regional customers; focusing on General Contractors in the market. In todays ever changing world we find this to be an advantage knowing we have a liaison on the team to act as a conduit for our customers while at the same building new relationships within the construction industry.
While growing up on the space coast here in Florida, Sharon started out in the healthcare field with a Degree in Medial Administration with a focus on medical law, medical ethics, and federal compliance. While focusing on medical ethics she began to transition and complete her degree in legal studies. Soon after, Sharon accepted a position in Tampa at a real estate school providing outside marketing and sales. This was where McCullough discovered her passion for building client relationships.
Sharon McCullough comes to us with over 10 years of experience in business-to-business sales, marketing, collaborating sales strategies and business development. Having spent the last 7 years with one of the largest outside commercial sales and advertising organizations, The Blue Book Building & Construction Network, Sharon has developed and maintained solid relationships amongst the areas local General Contractors, Architects, and subs. These relationships were demonstrated in spring of 2015 when she ranked 5th in the nation for newly developed business relationships.
Sharon’s emphasis has been selling strategies and online marketing solutions while maintaining and increasing her book of business. Networking with leaders in construction has allowed her to be an asset to her client base. She has increased the usage of products by engaging end users and providing continuous training for General Contractors. Subsequently this follow up has increased content for project information thus offering more job opportunities to her customer base. McCullough states, “Actively following up with customers can potentially maximize a client’s success.” Throughout her journey she has also been instrumental in the training of new company hires. McCullough brings experience and a proven track record of success in the Client Relationship Management area, which will be invaluable in meeting the department objectives.
“My entire career has been focused on building relationships I look forward to continuing this tradition with Candela Controls Inc.”