Engineering Careers

My, admittedly somewhat limited, experience with engineering jobs is that it’s a lot easier to gain experience that a company is willing to pay for than it is to connect with that company and start working. When living in Las Vegas I would go to just about any tradeshow that gave away a free floor pass, and as I was walking to floor I would look up any company that seemed to be doing interesting things. If they had a career page and were hiring some kind of engineer I would save it for the future. I love my job and hope to not need this resource and time soon, so I figured I might as well share my collection. Because my degree is in Electrical Engineering there will certainly be a theme to all of these companies, but with how interdisciplinary many teams are these days I’m sure there are plenty of engineering jobs posted from other areas of study as well. There won't be too many big names on this list. If you’re qualified to work at Apple, Facebook, or Intel I’m sure you can find their career page.

Some links will be broken as careers pages change often, but it should get you close enough to their webpage to figure it out. If you have suggestions for something I missed send me an email.

I’ve sorted the companies into the following categories:

Unsolicited Advice:

I think startups are a very exciting career posibillity and actively look for ones I like. But startups come and they go, often times suddenly. Know the company before you commit and if your life doesn't permit the risk/reward of venture capital then think before you applying to a startup. I will try to say when I know a company is a startup but be smart. If the flashy website has the entire company under "meet the team" and it mentions how the founders met you should think startup and know what you're getting into.

Convert your resume into a pdf before you send it! You have no idea what a Word document will look like when it is opened on a different computer.

Sanitize your social media and internet presence. You don’t have to delete everything, but assume a potential employer will look for you. Open an incognito window and Google yourself. If all you see are pictures of you at college parties then change some sharing settings or remove some tags. Don’t let a video of you at your worst be their first impression of you.

Never burn a bridge you don’t have to. You have no idea what your hiring managers previous experiance is. NEVER badmouth a previous employer or manager during an interview!

The qualifications for some postings can be more of a wish list rather than the minimum required. Think about what the roll does. If you can do it, then apply. Even if you don’t have everything they ask for.

If what the company is doing excites you, make sure you can say why and then tell that to your interviewer!

Job Boards & Recruiting Services:

Angel.co - A search engine for startup jobs. Currently had a little over 100,000 jobs posted at 23,000+ companies. Wide range of positions from CFO to technician and everything in between. I really like how they show compensation and equity up front. If you go through the main page it will ask you to create a login, but if you just what to browse you can fiddle with an incubator’s job page to see all of the available postings.

Indeed.com - For whatever reason Indeed seems to be a very popular place for entertainment companies to post jobs (might be somewhat regional). Try a few broad searches and be willing to scroll past the first 2 or 3 postings, but I’ve seen everything up to well paid management positions pop up here.

Offstagejobs - Previously Backstagejobs. Good place for more traditional theatre jobs including summerstock and internships and well as professional positions. Has tags for touring as well as resident positions. One of the first to require companies to list compensation in the job posting (more places should require that).

PLASA job board - I don’t see as many jobs posted here as I used to, but there are still very reputable companies that post their positions here. Worth bookmarking if you’re shopping around for the right gig.

USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) - An organisation doing what it can to promote whats best for the entertainment industry. They run a pretty active job board with postings from many first rate companies.

Automation, Scenic, & Fabrication:

All Access - Worldwide company. A build anything and everything type company with a large presence in rock and roll touring. I know them best as fabricators of custom scenery, but they also do rigging, automation, special effects, and lighting. Provides solutions for all kinds of large events.

Birket Engineering - Worldwide company based in Orlando, Florida. Automation and custom effects focused company with a specialty in theme park ride control systems. Significantly more engineering focused company than many in the industry. Great for someone with an engineering degree that passed the FE and is pursuing a Professional Engineer licence.

Creative Conners - Small but mighty Warren, Rhode Island based company. Provides control & automation to a lot of more traditional theatres in the US and Canada as well as touring shows. Does sales, service, and rentals of their stock gear as well and fabrication and integration of custom machines. Really cool company that actually has their prices posted on their website. No formal career page currently, but there is a “Join our team” form at the bottom of the about page. They also have an excellent podcast that I quite enjoy.

Mountain Productions - Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania based company. Provides custom staging and rigging services. Builds a large variety of stuff including a lot of outdoor events. Also provides chain hoist maintenance, service, and training.

TAIT Towers - Worldwide company based in Lititz, Pennsylvania. They provide staging, lighting, custom effects, and automation for some of the biggest names in the industry. One of those companies that can and will build anything you can imagine.

Wenger/J.R. Clancy - Owatonna, Minnesota and Syracuse, New York based company. Provides design, engineering, and manufacture of complete rigging solutions. Builds counter weight as well as automated hoist based rigging systems. More focused on traditional theatre and educational spaces.  Provides acoustic shell, scoreboard, and fire curtain systems as well.

ZFX - Worldwide company based in Louisville, Kentucky. Builder of custom rigging and flying effects. Well known for providing top notch effects with a mind for safety. One of the companies your high school should have called to fly peter pan. Also have a proclivity for Utilikilts if that’s your thing.

Design & Services:

Atomic Design - Worldwide company. Provides custom fabrication, management, rentals, logistics, and design services for events all over the country. More focused on TV and film than most similar companies.

Barbizon - Worldwide company. They provide sales, service, installation and integration of lighting equipment. They do a little bit of everything but currently seem to be focusing on delivering complete lighting systems.

EVENTEQ - Columbia, Maryland based company. I don’t know a lot about this company, but for some reason I really like them. They provide lighting, audio, video, and staging as well as design for all kinds of events. Some touring, but looks like more corporate work. If you like the east coast and you fancy yourself a designer I would give them a call.

FiveCurrents - Worldwide company. Producer of REALLY big shows like the Olympic Ceremonies and the UAE National Day. This is a company for people really experienced in live show production, but if you’re qualified, it’s hard to think of team that takes on bigger events.

Freeman - North America wide company. Largely a provider of labor, but also does a fair bit of rentals, logistics, and design. If the ridiculous world of trade show booths interests you this is a good place to look.

Frost Productions - New York, New York and Boston, Massachusetts based company. Creative full service events company. Provides turn-key experiences and with a focus on one-off events. Openings are listed on their contact page after you choose a location.

High Output - New England based company. Has a pretty wide array of services. From equipment and manpower for a wide variety of event to designing and installing complex systems. Also operates sound stages for TV and film production.

ILC (Intelligent Lighting Creations) - Arlington Heights, Illinois based company. Provides lighting systems to productions and events around the country. Designs and manages the production as well as rents, services, and installs the gear. Specifically mentions ETCP certifications, so if you’ve got one, you probably have a step up.

LCI Productions - Worldwide company based in London, England. Designers of various attractions and events. Works on a lot of interesting systems including 3D Projection Mapping, Water Shows, Augmented Reality, Dancing Fountains, and Interactive Displays on top of typical special effect and creative services design. Could be a great option for a creative type that can work legally in the UK.

LMG - United States wide company based in Orlando, Florida. Provides rentals, logistics, and design services mostly in Las Vegas and Orlando. Also has a touring division.

PSAV - United States wide company. Provides rentals, logistics, and design services at venues all over the country. Largely specializing in corporate events, but not exclusively.

Thinkwell - Worldwide company based in Los Angeles, CA. They call themselves “The Experience Company.” Has a giant portfolio of corporate clients including theme parks, resorts, museums, advertising, and event companies. If you’re a big ideas type designer then I’d see what they’re all about.

Manufacturers:

(NOTE: Almost every manufacturer has sales positions available. If that’s what you want to do, pick your favorite and give’er hell. I’m only going to post companies that are hiring for positions other than manual labor and sales to narrow things down a bit)

ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls) - Worldwide company based in Middleton, Wisconsin. Best known for their lighting instruments ETC also builds lighting control & dimming, rigging, and automation equipment. I’ve always respected ETC for the amount effort they put into engineering the right solution for the product they’re building rather than just buying an off the shelf component that happens to work for the job.

Lightwave International - Worldwide company. Specializes in special effects. Specifically lasers. They make several different products that they both rent and sell direct. They also do effect management and design.

Rental Houses:

4Wall Entertainment - United States wide company. Largely a supplier of equipment, both sales and rentals. I know of a few people that are employed to run shows through them, but my understanding is that’s somewhat rare.

Eclipse Staging - Gulf Coast area company based in Dubai, UAE. I don’t remember how I came across this company, but if you’re in the Middle East and looking for a gig this is an interesting option. They supply basically everything that plugs in and turns on: lighting, audio, video, laser, interactive, special effects, and power distribution equipment.

Pacific Coast Entertainment - Huntington Beach, California based company. Provides Lighting, AV, and staging rentals and sales. Also does some production and permanent install work.

PRG (Production Resource Group) - United States wide company with many ties internationally. Arguably could be in either the touring or automation categories. They rent and sell gear, build custom scenery, provide manpower, and pretty much everything else.

Solotech - Worldwide company based in Montreal, Quebec. They rent and sell pretty much anything in the AV space. Seem to have carved a niche for providing highly integrated, well designed systems and not just roadboxes full of gear, but I haven’t worked with them personally. I believe they provide technicians with some systems, but I am unsure how common that is.

Starlite Productions - Moorestown, New Jersey based company. Came onto my radar after they won a PLSN Hometown Hero Lighting Company award. Provides AV and lighting rentals and sales. Portfolio includes lots of corporate work and is in the right neck of the woods for big political events. Does a mix of indoor and outdoor work.

Touring, Theme Parks, and Large Scale Production:

(NOTE: If you really want to get into touring, but don’t have any experience I recommend you read the job descriptions closely in this category. Traditional full-service rock and roll companies tend to want seasoned vets that they can depend on for years. You might get their one day and it never hurts to apply, but I would suggest getting your feet wet with a company that tends to be willing to hire and train people with less experience like Carnival or Feld.)

Bandit Lites - Worldwide company. Full-service lighting company providing design, equipment, and manpower with a focus on rock and roll. They don’t have a careers page, but if you’re a rock star electrician it couldn’t hurt to drop them a line.

Carnival Cruise Line - Worldwide company based in Miami, Florida. Technicians on cruise ships are often responsible for a variety of show rooms. Work weeks are pretty long. The job descriptions say to be able to do 10 hours a day 7 days a week. It’s hard work, but success on a boat shows that you’re a competent employee that could go on to do great things. A lot of people break into the industry this way. I also have it on good authority that it can be a lot of fun as well.

Cavalia - A worldwide touring company based in Montreal, Quebec. They do large tent circuses with lots of horses. They pride themselves on using the latest in lighting and video to paint the scene more vividly for the audience. To my knowledge, they stick to a few shows done well.

Christie Lites - Worldwide company. Full service lighting company that also provides rentals and sales. Provides plenty of equipment and manpower to rock and roll while still having a presence in more traditional markets.

Cirque du Soleil - My employer for 6 years. A worldwide circus focused company based in Montreal, Quebec with 15 - 25 productions going on at any given time. Mix of touring and resident shows. From medium sized one-offs to mega-shows that run for 25+ years. Industry leader in terms of technology and safety. I don’t have the right words to say how highly I recommend working for them. Non-union.

Clearwing Productions - United States-wide company. My personal experience with Clearwing is as a provider of audio gear and manpower for rock and roll. They are a much larger company than that providing services in audio, lighting, rigging, staging, backline, and video. They also seem to work in many facets of the permanent install market as well.

Dragone - Worldwide company. Producer of circus themed mega-shows all over the world. Dragone pushes the limit of technology and performance. Shows tend to be permanently located rather than touring to my knowledge. Positions are rarely nationality restricted so they are a unique opportunity to work internationally without touring.

Farah Experiences - Abu Dhabi, UAE based company. They manage and operate Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld. They feel to me like a strange addition to this page, but they are a lesser know company that several friends of mine have worked for in the past. Job postings don’t tend to be limited by nationality which makes this another unique opportunity.

Feld Entertainment - My employer for 5 years. A worldwide family entertainment company based in Bradenton, Florida. Largely focused on arena touring with some larger shows. I have no idea how many different touring units they have these days, but it’s a lot. Always looking for talented stagehands. In the past they gained a not entirely undeserved reputation for underpaying employees and a poor quality of life. My understanding is that things have improved quite a bit and are more on par with the rest of the market. Definitely a good option for someone fresh out of school or with limited professional experience. I had a lot of fun in my time there and recommend working for them. Mix of union and non-union with option to join for some tours.

NETWorks - Worldwide company based in Columbia, Maryland. Produces a wide variety of Touring Broadway shows with 10 - 15 shows running at any given time. Some first national tours some older shows. To my knowledge all tours are union, but that should be taken with a grain of salt.

Pyrotek - Worldwide company based in North America. Provides special effects of all types: pyro, lasers, smoke, cryo, smell, and others. I know them best for their extensive work with rock and roll touring but they have a large base of permanent install and special event clients as well.

Troika - Worldwide company based in Rockville, Maryland. Produces a variety of traditional theatre shows focusing on Touring Broadway. Has 5 - 10 shows going at any time. Some first national tours. I believe they’re a union company, but I don’t know that for sure and don’t know what their options to join are.

Upstaging - Worldwide company based in Sycamore, Illinois. In my eyes they are the premier full-service rock and roll lighting and trucking company. They supply equipment and manpower to some of the largest tours around. Very career focused company. Says they’re willing to train, but I would go in with a great attitude and at least a bit of touring experience.