Member of the Month

We are pleased to introduce to our readers the IESNYC Member of the Month, chosen as part of a dedicated team of professionals that represent a cross-section of the lighting industry in New York City. We value their expertise, and thank them for volunteering their time and energy for the betterment of the section.

September 2017

Anne D. Cheney, LC, LEED AP, MIES 
Lighting Design Consultant

Q: How did you first get started in the lighting industry?
I studied theatrical lighting in college while I was pursuing an undergraduate education in choreography at UMass Amherst, graduating in 1987, and later at the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music graduate theater design program. The ability of lighting to affect the perception of movement, as well as alter the emotional context, was fascinating to me. Because dance and lighting are both four dimensional (the fourth being time), I found the concepts of design applied similarly to both.

After my undergraduate studies, I started working as a lighting designer for various dance and performance art groups in NYC, and later expanded to designing for plays, musicals and operas. During that period, I was the lighting director for Ohad Naharin and Dancers. After grad school, I worked as the lighting director for the Circle Repertory Company, until Broadway LD Ken Billington hired me away. While working as an associate for Ken, he assigned me to assist on architectural projects with senior associate John McKernon. John had taught architectural lighting at several design colleges, and shared some of his coursework to get me oriented to the differences between theatrical and architectural paperwork. During this time, I assisted on a large theme park ride at Sea World in Florida, where the drawing set of the seven-acre rollercoaster ride was a crash course in reading and interpreting a building’s design. When I left KBA, I decided to shift my career focus to architectural lighting design.

During my transition from theater to architecture, I took the IES ED100, ED150, and LC prep classes, and I was fortunate to learn a lot from my boss and coworkers at Domingo Gonzalez Associates (DGA). Domingo refers to his office as gladiator school, and over my seven-year tenure at DGA, I experienced learning from coworkers, then teaching new ones. AC Hickox, who also comes from a theater design background, helped me to better understand how my theatrical lighting skill set of coordinating, documenting, and controlling a 500 luminaire dimmer-per-circuit theatrical production gave me some advantages over coworkers when working on very large architectural projects like the Second Ave Subway system, Newark Airport Terminal B, and other large infrastructure projects.

Q: How did you first get involved in the IESNYC?
Initially, my involvement was showing up to all of the IESNYC presentations, asking a lot of questions, and getting to know the members. Patricia DiMaggio (IESNYC president from 2003/04-2004/05) encouraged me to join the board of managers when I started working at DGA, but my work schedule did not allow for that kind of time commitment. Years later, when I left DGA, Brooke Silber suggested I do some work for the New York City Lighting Council, also known as Lighting 311. The council provides web-based resources ( for the public, and serves as a forum and reference for lighting professionals. I created spreadsheets showing lighting-related codes and criteria for city, state, and federal facilities in NYC and worked with Randy Sabedra, chair of the committee, and Wendy Kaplan to help define what the committee should do moving forward.

Q: How do you see your role as member of the IESNYC?
My role on the Lighting 311 committee allows me to help facilitate the dissemination of timely information about rapidly changing codes, standards and technology in our industry. As I have researched topics for presentations and liaised with designers, manufacturers, engineers, and architects, I have encouraged them to actively participate in our community by attending and speaking at our presentations.

Q: In your opinion, what are the best assets of the IESNYC?
The community of lighting professionals in the IESNYC is our best asset. New York has the most concentrated lighting design community in the world, and the lighting designers, engineers, manufacturers and related support professionals here are amazing resources. The information we share with each other makes each of us better at our professions, and together we have affected positive changes in our industry. Over the past decade, I have watched competing professionals collaborate to shape standards, change codes, understand new technologies, and improve manufacturers’ products. Working together with our membership is a compelling aspect to being involved with the IESNYC.