Meet The Team
Bill Ellis, IESNA
Bill Ellis is an industry expert in lighting systems integration and is very proud of Candela Controls Inc.’s 20-year history. He is a member of IESNA, 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, the Entertainment Services and Technology Association. He is a Certified Low-Voltage Systems Specialty Contractor in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Throughout his tenure, Bill’s knowledge and experience has garnered him 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, SeaWorld Entertainment, and Universal Orlando.
Bill has been approached more frequently to participate in panel discussions, seminars and workshops that have ranged from industry fundamentals to DMX512 to PoE. He has received positive reviews from LightFair International, LDI and IESNA, for his ability to present complicated content in a cohesive and unbiased way. He is currently signed on to present at IALD Enlighten Americas 2019 in Albuquerque, NM in October, 2019 and at NATEAC 2020 in New York.
Bill is also dedicated to community service in Florida as well as giving back to the industry at large. He has been a volunteer reservist with the Orange County Fire Rescue Department in Central Florida since 2003, primarily photographing scenes to use for marketing, training and investigational purposes. Bill holds a BFA degree in Lighting and Audio from the North Carolina School of the Arts and has participated in several of the school’s job fairs and has taught a masters class there as well. Also, Candela Controls has been proud to sponsor the industry charity, Behind the Scenes, since 2014. The charity supports entertainment technology professionals who have fallen on hard times. Go to www.lrlr.org for more information.
Business credits and recognitions include Co-founder and 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.
Bill has two daughters, Rachel and Alexandra, and resides in Winter Garden, FL with his wife, Jocelyn.
In 2012 Dale Ward 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.
Dale 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.
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.
Since joining Candela Controls, Bill has been instrumental in key projects in the Northeastern US; notably – Hard Rock Hotel Atlantic City, NJ, New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, NJ, National Air & Space Museum, Washington DC.
Bill enjoys spending time with wife & three sons saltwater fishing & playing golf.
Chris has been carving out a career in the CAD field for nearly 9 years. He was hired as a CAD technician and was officially promoted to CAD Manger for Candela Controls in 2014. As CAD Manager, Chris oversees a staff of 3 technicians, and is responsible for keeping the CAD department moving to ensure that the field and the shop have current and accurate drawings to allow work to be completed smoothly and on target.
When not busy with the coming and going of projects, he is always trying to figure out the better way to do things in his department. 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.
Samantha Haines-Riiska joined the Candela Controls team as a CAD Technician in early 2016, after relocating from beautiful Western Massachusetts, and is enjoying the lack of snow and abundance of sunshine in Florida. She began drafting while studying theatrical lighting design at Smith College, where she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2012, and enjoyed it enough that she thought to look into drafting as a career. She completed an AutoCAD certification course in 2015 and has since continued her education while working at Candela Controls through participation in ETC’s Ion console programming training in 2018. She takes particular pride and enjoyment in working on lighting control systems in performing arts centers and other unique venues where her theatrical lighting design knowledge can be best utilized.
Having been both a Government and a Theatre student during her time at university, she is extremely passionate about the intersection between art and social change, and in the way in which art shapes our culture, and is always on the look out for unique projects that combine her passions for history, politics, and theatre.
In her off time you can mostly find her reading, baking, running, or volunteering her time with community theatrical projects.
Seth joined the Candela Controls team as a CAD technician in 2016, bringing with him a working knowledge of CAD which he first learned in high school. Seth’s CAD skills and knowledge have really grown since joining the team and now he primarily works on Candela’s theme park projects. With an interest in theme parks as a visitor, he now gets to work on the back end from an engineering standpoint.
Seth’s diverse background began after graduating from high school in 2004 when he entered the work force in the automative industry. Over the course of 10 years, he gained experience in custom wheels and tires, body repair, and powder coating.
When he’s not working, Seth enjoys riding BMX, going to concerts, seeing movies, exploring theme parks and weird roadside attractions. He and his wife welcomed their first child in February, 2019.
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 has been a valued employee of Candela Controls since 1999. His experience and depth of knowledge has him primarily working with ETC and Crestron products. In the field, Chris is responsible for ensuring proper installation of equipment as well as connecting and verifying communication between our system and others.
Prior to his time with Candela Controls, Chris was a production electrician for BASH Theatrical Lighting Company in Orlando. He is a graduate from the University of North Carolina.
Matt ‘Woody’ Sypko
Woody began his career with Candela Controls in 2002 as our in-house Fabrication Technician. Woody builds specialized cables, panels, control racks and preps fixtures to be installed in the field. He also assists in the field as an Installation Technician as needed. In addition to his fabrication responsibilities, he manages the Shipping and Receiving Department.
Woody is a great addition to the team. He is an incredibly hard worker who will do whatever needs to be done to get projects completed correctly and out the door. He also has impeccable comic timing, always ready to lighten the mood with a quick one liner. Originally from Boston, MA, Woody has lived in Florida since the early 1990’s.
Daniel joined the Candela Controls team in 2012, bringing with him over a decade of low-voltage electrical experience and has completed ETC’s new technician training course.
Daniel’s interest in the trade started at Petra Zenon De Fabery vocational high school where he first explored the electrical field. After graduation, he attended Liceo de Arte y Tecnología in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to study Industrial Electrical and PLC. Daniel began his career first working as an electricians helper before becoming a commercial electrician. He later transitioned into the low-voltage controls field.
Daniel is an avid Milwaukee tool, windows and Android user. In his spare time, he enjoys camping and playing videos games such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Final Fantasy Tactics.
Erich 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. He is also an ETC certified field service provider.
Erich studied Technical Theatre and Production and Design at Florida School of the Arts. When he’s not working, Erich enjoys spending time with his family 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.
Andrew initially joined Candela Controls as a Field Technician with plans to quickly move into a Systems Programmer position. In addition to his programming knowledge, Andrew brings a breadth of experience from his lighting work on cruise ships, stadium shows, houses of worship, theatrical productions, corporate events, live broadcast studios, theme park productions, and permanent installations.
A native of Greenville, SC, Andrew started working in theatre in 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatrical Design and Technology from the University of Central Florida.
Senior Systems Programmer
Brent began as a freelance programmer for Candela Controls in 1999 and joined the team full-time in 2003. He is now the Senior Systems Programmer, with more than 20 years of experience programming controls systems and user interfaces. Brent holds certifications from manufacturers such as ETC, Crestron, and others, as well as being a member of the Advanced Programmers Group for ETC.
Brent transitioned from the IT industry to the lighting industry in 2002. His technical background is primarily in computers, software, and networking, but has maintained and serviced AV control systems as well as developed interactive games for NBA City and others. 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 writes and plays music in his free time, which he has enjoyed doing for nearly 40 years. He has also played in various bands across the country between 1985 – 2005.
Jim had been working as a freelance designer and programmer since 2010 before joining Candela Controls full-time in 2014. Jim is a member of the Advanced Programmers Group for ETC. He is also the creator and moderator of the annual LDI convention seminar series “The Art of Programming,” discussing strategies and techniques of programming lighting consoles.
His career as a programmer of lighting consoles and show control systems began in 1989, where he worked primarily 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.
Some of his most 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.
In addition to programming lighting systems, Jim also develops software and databases. His hobbies include running and playing softball. He is an alumnus of the University of Miami and the University of Phoenix.
Office & Management Team
Before starting his tenure at Candela Controls, Inc., Michael spent the previous 36 years overseeing notable lighting and installation design/build projects around the world for Production Arts, PRG, Strand Lighting, Color Kinetics and Philips/Signify. In 2012, he collaborated on a renovation of the exterior lighting of the famed Empire State Building, installing 3600 LED luminaries between the 72nd floor and the tip of the broadcast antenna. He has participated in five permanent installations for the Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, Orlando and Macau. He has also been involved in major construction projects at Madison Square Garden, The Harahan Bridge, The Mirage, Treasure Island, The new Mario M. Cuomo/Tappan Zee Bridge, Caesar’s Palace, and The Metropolitan Opera House. He has helped create a lighting control system to enhance the artificial volcano at the main entrance to Las Vegas’ Mirage Hotel. In the same city, he supervised installation for Buccaneer Bay, the $30-million “sign” – a regular performance featuring actors, explosions and a replica of an 18th century frigate that adorns the Treasure Island hotel and casino.
Other projects that he has managed include: The Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Detroit Opera House, The New York State Theatre (NYC, New York), ChiC (Beijing, China), JAL Hotel (Tokyo, Japan), The Atlantis ride at Sea World (Orlando, Florida), Nike Town (NYC, New York), The Masquerade Village – Rio Hotel (Las Vegas, Nevada), The Aloha Showroom (Honolulu, Hawaii.), The Flamingo Hotel Showroom (Las Vegas, Nevada), Caesar’s Forum Fountain Show (Las Vegas, Nevada), Crown Casino Atrium Show (Melbourne, Australia), Disneyland “Fantasmic” Show (Anaheim, California), Fremont Street Experience (Las Vegas, Nevada), Reunion Tower (Dallas, TX).
Michael is also a volunteer on several committees for the ESTA Technical Standards Program (TSP), developing ANSI certified interoperability and safety standards for the entertainment industry– Serving as Co-Chair of the Controls Protocols Working Group, (which maintains the DMX512, RDM and sACN standards), as well as a principle voting member on the Photometrics and Electrical Power Working Group. Michael is also a voting member on the Technical Standards Council which oversees the TSP.
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.
Ashley, a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, joined the Candela team in April of 2020. With a degree in Scenic Technology, she brings knowledge of carpentry, welding and technical design to the world of Lighting. Through various internships, she has experienced the world of entertainment through the lens of live theatre, theme parks, corporate events and architectural installation.
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.
Kaleigh Merrill enjoys a challenge and learning about new topics which is what led her to Candela Controls, Inc. While she works on estimating for all types of projects Kaleigh particularly enjoys the museums.
Kaleigh has a unique background in competing and coaching competitive gymnastics which has given her a knack for communicating effectively and bringing out the best in people. Kaleigh also has experience in digital media and content creation, her work has been featured in many publications including PopSugar and Refinery 29. She has built a digital presence into a media business known as Merrill Media Creative.
Kaleigh resides in Winter Garden, FL with her husband and two kids. Kaleigh has been trying to convince her husband to get a dog, and her best friend to move back to Florida. In her spare time Kaleigh does hot yoga, reads, and volunteers coaching gymnastics.
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.”