IESNYC Contributes to other IES Sections through Funding Opportunities for IES Conference

Being the oldest and largest section in the Society has its rewards as well as its responsibilities. Other sections in the Society look to the IESNYC for inspiration and ideas. Every year, we look forward to sharing our experiences and pioneering programs with members from other sections at the annual IES Conference.

In an effort to help the Society increase attendance to the recent IES Conference in Orlando, the IESNYC Board of Managers (BOM) decided to take another unprecedented step in the history of the Society. We offered members from other sections a funding opportunity to attend the conference.

The BOM contacted the heads of other sections for nominations and, after receiving applications from members throughout North America, the BOM selected five people who might otherwise not be able to attend. Each one received a stipend of up to $1,000 to compensate for travel, lodging, and conference registration fees.

Our New York City section has the great fortune of being at the center of a vibrant and generous lighting community,” says Mike Barr, senior account manager at Lutron, a member of the IESNYC Board of Managers, and a member of the Scholarship Committee. “This year, as the result of a very successful sponsorship campaign, we could assist these members to reap the benefits of attending the conference.

We invite you to meet this year’s recipients and hear their experiences at the IES Conference. We expect you’ll agree that this is an initiative we should be proud of.

IES Annual Conference Winners

Laura Ashley A. Alferes
Board of Managers, IES DC
Emerging Professional Chair/School Liaison Chair
Building Electrical Systems Designer, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Building Electrical Washington, DC
Former Student Member
Member since 2010



Sam Haberman, PE, LC, LEED AP BD+C
IES Oklahoma City Section President
Project Manager, Alvine Engineering
Oklahoma City, OK
Former Student Member
Member since 2015




Michelle Sackett, EI, LC, LEED AP BD+C
Electrical Designer, ZRHD Consulting Engineers
Oklahoma City, OK
Member since 2001




Ana Laura López Vargas
Lighting Designer, Lumina Mexico
Mexico City, Mexico
Member since 2015




B.J. Warren
Member of the Board of Managers, Norfolk/Virginia Beach Section
Secretary and Awards/Promotions Chair
Electrical CADD Technician, ClarkNexsen
Virginia Beach, VA
Member since 2011



Here's What the Winners Had To Say...

Is this the first IES Conference you’ve attended? What motivated you to attend this year’s conference?

Laura: This is my second IES conference. Last year, I was a first-time attendee in Indianapolis. I came for inspiration, mentorship, support, and networking. I could probably describe it further, but these words stand out when I think of the IES Conference. My networking web has grown larger since last year and it was exciting to see familiar and new faces from all over North America.

Sam: This was the first IES Conference I have attended, so I was unsure of exactly what I would gain by attending. But I know that as my section’s president, I needed to understand and experience the IES at the national level. I also thought it important to attend the Leadership Forum the day before the conference. I wanted to learn what other sections did during the program year, and connect with individuals in leadership positions throughout the IES.

Michelle: No, this is my third time. In the past, I’ve enjoyed the topics and networking, but the funding opportunity was the only way I could go this year.
Ana: It is my second one. I attended last year’s conference in Indianapolis. The conference is a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge, relate what I am working on, share experiences, and get the chance to meet experts face-to-face. I was also looking forward to meeting many people with different professional backgrounds, but who are as passionate about lighting as I am.

B.J.: Yes, but it won’t be my last. My section was looking to send a board member to the conference, and this year they selected me because of my enthusiasm and ideas to move our section forward. The funding opportunity was just a bonus.

What did you experience at the conference?

Laura: I met people with backgrounds in theater, engineering, architecture, interior design, art, and lighting design. Everyone had a unique story to tell and I could share my story with them as well, and relate how I went from being a musician to an engineer who was mesmerized by architecture and how lighting defined spaces and made them meaningful. Last year, I got a feel for what goes on at the conference and this time, I could share more of what our section does throughout the year. It’s great hearing the ideas, struggles, and successes of other sections because it keeps everyone in the know. I’m an Emerging Professional (EP) and during the EP workshop, I truly enjoyed the speed networking session in which lighting professionals rotated to different tables and answered questions, gave sound advice, and shared their experiences. As part of the “connection” theme of this year’s conference, EPs had a full-day workshop on Saturday. It started off with a tour of the Disney Wilderness Lodge, led by Chip Israel, and ended with a great cookout at the Wilderness Entertainment venue. Everyone enjoyed themselves, especially around the fire pit!

Sam: I attended the Leadership Forum in the morning and then went to one workshop that afternoon. I benefited from the many seminars and paper sessions that I attended. I also went to our district executive meeting, which was held one evening during the conference, and I was able to meet many leaders within our district, including our district chair, the southern regional district , and several district officers.
Michelle: My main goal was to complete as many seminars as possible for the CEUs, and in the process, I met quite a few professionals from other sections. My district also held a meeting during the conference.

Ana: My goal was to attend as many presentations and meet as many people as I could. I went to the seminars to learn about topics that I’m interested and/or involve my work, and I went to EP programs to meet enthusiastic people that I share common interests with so we can keep in touch with our professional development, and even better, to begin friendships. I attended the Leadership Forum looking for the people from my section, but also to meet people from other sections to share experiences and learn how to put into practice what might work in my own section. Finally, I attended the Progress Report and the Tabletop Exhibits because it was a chance to learn and see the real products.
B.J.: The entire conference was just a great experience for me. When I saw so many attendees pile into the same seminar, I knew I was making the right choices of where to go. I got a chance to meet Kacie Stigliano (the IESNYC’s secretary) and we exchanged some information on what each of our sections was doing. It was good to see that some of the larger sections in the Society are laying the blueprint, if you will, on how other sections could be operating.

What did you learn at the conference and what part/s were most meaningful to you?

Laura: This year’s theme was “connectivity” and the seminars and keynote speakers focused on the “Internet of Things” and its impact on lighting. It was intriguing to learn about historical trends, where we are today, and what lighting will become in the future. I will definitely report back to members in my section about my experience and encourage them to attend in coming years. I’d say to those who’ve never attended the conference to take a chance and do it! And if a funding opportunity like this comes your way, I say take it so you can be among the greatest in the lighting community.

Sam: The portion which was the most meaningful to me was the Leadership Forum. It gave me the opportunity to interface with officers from other sections, including New York, Boston, Cleveland, and Portland, just to name a few. There were also a few program events that provided insights and updates on the IES, and they were especially meaningful to me because I learned about the direction the IES in moving in over the next few years, and I also found out who to contact within the organization. I have a list of items to report back to my section.

Michelle: The exchange of ideas and resources between sections and districts is always a key component of the conference for me, and it is those experiences that I take home with me. Also, the quality of the speakers and the topics of the seminars offered were things that stood out the most for me. I will certainly encourage other members to attend next year. It’s worth the time and the effort.
Ana: The seminars entitled “Complimentary Benefits of Light, Art, and Biophilia,” “Connected Lighting Systems for Museums,” and “The Reflection Conundrum.” In addition, the Progress Report was important to me, but most of all, talking to people and having a good time! I have been talking about everything that I learned at the conference and am going to present a summary to my coworkers.

B.J.: The Leadership Forum was definitely important to me. Getting to meet other IES members, learning how to conduct meetings, organize better, and fundraise was very helpful. It was a great opportunity to meet and share ideas with my fellow IES members. I think it’s important to reach out to neighboring sections as well as other organizations in the A/E/C community to promote growth.

How do you feel about the IESNYC giving you the opportunity to attend?
Laura: I am so thankful to have been chosen as one of the recipients for the IESNYC funding opportunity. The IESNYC should continue to do this, because it is a chance for an EP like myself to attend the conference and help with expenses. I heard through the grapevine that many people wish there were more sponsorships made available, especially for those who must travel from afar. It shows that even though the IES is made up of different sections, we support and help each other in our professional development.
Sam: I am very grateful to the IESNYC providing the opportunity. It was extremely helpful in offsetting the cost to attend the conference. I am humbled to have received funding to attend, and I believe the funding opportunity distinguishes the IESNYC from the other sections. By providing this to members outside of their section, it is just one way in which they are putting into practice the values of the Society.

Michelle: I think it was an amazingly generous gesture and I hope it inspires other sections, mine included, to help in any way they can to encourage lighting professionals to attend future conventions.
Ana: I appreciate your financial support so I could attend the conference. I have learned so much and I will always be grateful to the IESNYC, and you can be sure that I will continue my learning process so I can give back to the IES community what I have received. I believe that as IES members, we should think of the entire organization. Every section should try to be in touch with others sections. By sponsoring us, the IESNYC had the opportunity to have a direct impact further on members outside of their section and area of influence.  
B.J.: I think it was a great opportunity and it has motivated me to talk to my section about kick-starting our scholarship program. What the IESNYC did for the five of us was a great example of leadership and service to the greater lighting community. I hope our section will continue to send more people to the conference and I would recommend that other sections do the same.

How valuable was attending the conference for you?
Laura: Like last year, I once again found great value in attending the conference. It contributes to my professional development. Being able to network and seeing how the lighting community grows is quite inspiring. More importantly, I appreciate the continued support from all those I have met along the way.
Sam: I could not have learned as much as I did about the IES in a three-day period any other way. I have a new perspective about the Society, what it means for my career, and how the IES can bring together individuals within the Oklahoma lighting community and improve the illuminate environment. By attending the conference, you are investing in your career within the lighting industry.
Michelle: The value of learning from others was very beneficial and much appreciated.
Ana: Attending the conference is one of my main objectives of the year because for me, it represents the best opportunity to learn so much in less than a week.
B.J.: One word comes to mind … priceless!