Welcome to Ben Peoples Industries

We’re a small studio with a love of big challenges.  Clients come to us with unique problems, and we love finding innovative solutions to fit their needs.  More often than not, we take those solutions and adapt them into a flexible, customizable product to add to our arsenal of modular controllers.

Our shop is based in North Braddock, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh, but we’ve worked on projects and events from New York to California to Australia. Our clients include large scene shops and production companies, small community theatres and public art presenters, and everyone in between.

We pride ourselves on being a small, friendly company who delivers quality product and always puts our customers first – contact us with a question, and you’re likely to get an answer straight from Ben himself.

Read on to learn more about our awesome team, what our clients have to say, and the history of BPI!  (Spoiler alert:  it involves a drunken robot and an abandoned strip club…)

About

THE CHARACTERS

BEN PEOPLES
President
founder, mastermind, gadget builder, code writer, troubleshooter, tinkerer, teacher, photographer, kite flyer, mad scientist, lover of all things robotic and electronic

SARAH DEUTSCH
General Manager
master organizer, long-term planner, budget balancer, website designer, teacher, storyteller, book addict, electronics newbie, lover of all things ice cream and chocolate

MAGGIE PEOPLES
Chief Fun Officer
ballerina, artist, mathematician,
sculptor, writer, illustrator, Lego builder, gardener, reader, lover of chocolate, pretending, and balloons

About

JOHNNY HOLGUIN
Shop Assistant

PATTY PETRONELLO
Office & Warehouse Assistant
to-do list slayer, modern dancer, aerial artist, tactile item creator, lover of books, B-movies, and Indian food

THE STORY

Trinculo the drunken robot - our very first logo!
Trinculo the drunken robot –
our very first logo!

Ben spent 10 years working in live theatre and theatre consulting before taking the leap and starting his own company, embracing his love of big challenges and tiny electronics.

In 2011, he founded Trinculo’s Attic, a one-man shop that built custom electronics for theatre props and costumes, as well as the occasional fleet of hoists for rock tours (Grizzly Bear was his first big client!).

He spent the next few years developing handy little devices to control firefly jars and light-up costumes, as well as writing a book on Embedded Electronics for Theatre, and teaching workshops all over the country.

In 2013, a Broadway electrician came to him with an idea for a customizable DMX cue light panel, and our first stock product was born (as was our daughter Maggie, who went on to become the company’s CFO – Chief Fun Officer).

Prospero was our first stock product, and over the next several years we developed half a dozen others – all based on the needs of an individual client, but designed to adapt to the needs of many.

In 2015, we changed our name to Ben Peoples Industries – we loved Trinculo the tinkering robot, but we’d outgrown the attic and needed to move on.  We moved into a bigger shop, Sarah took on the role of General Manager, and Maggie got her very first office.

BPI continued to grow and started developing new technologies for industries outside of theatre – public art, experiential marketing, and eventually architainment lighting, where much of our work is today.

Maggie's first office, circa 2015
Maggie’s first office, circa 2015
BPI's current home (after removing the old strip club sign!)
BPI’s current home
(after removing the old strip club sign!)

By 2018, we had outgrown 3 shops over 5 years, and we were ready to start looking for a more permanent home.  That Fall, Ben found his dream building in North Braddock, PA. 

The 100 year old building spent its early life as the neighborhood restaurant and bar, then became a series of strip clubs (the last one memorably named Bare Assets), before closing and falling into disrepair.  It had been abandoned for almost 10 years when we first saw it, and while it made Sarah cringe, Ben knew it had the potential to be the perfect home for BPI.

We bought the building in January of 2019 and spent the next 4 months gutting and renovating it into our new office, shop and warehouse space.  We moved in that Spring, and while it’s still a work in progress, our business and our team have flourished in our new home!

Our Clients

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About
About