January 2018

Charles (Chuck) Cameron, MIES 
Controls Manager
Stan Deutsch Associates

Q: How did you first get started in the lighting industry?
I started out doing theatrical lighting when I was in high school.  I went to Drew University in New Jersey where I majored in theater (over chemistry) and later earned my MFA at NYU. I got my start working in theaters in New York City such as Manhattan Theater Club. I was working around town when a friend told me that Focus Lighting was looking for assistant designers. The next morning, I decided to go talk them.  They hired me and so began my career in architectural lighting. After Focus, I worked at Leni Schwendinger Light Project (LSLP). While Focus and LSLP were very different in their market segment and style, they were both places were designs were bold and not formulaic.  We used modified fixtures, added accessories and cajoled manufacturer’s and contractors until we achieved these designs. I then then moved to become a principal, first at Luce Group, then at Meeker Cameron Lighting Design Group, and finally, as the sole principal of Studio C Squared. At that time, I was also hired to develop the graduate lighting program at New York School of Interior Design (NYSID), and served as the 89th President of the IESNYC 2011/12 – 2012/13. I am currently the Controls Manager at Stan Deutsch Associates.

Q: How did you first get involved in the IESNYC?
I had helped with a few committee activities and programs here and there, but had not really been involved until Kelly Seager, then VP and Bonny Whitehouse, who was then president, took me out to lunch and convinced me to join the board and start on the path to being President of the Section.  It was at a time when I had moved into being a partner in a lighting design firm, so I had some flexibility in my work schedule and needed to take a leadership role, as well as wanting to continue the tradition of providing continuing education for our community. I was secretary and then VP before becoming president, which is a typical progression.  This is useful to learn how the Section works and begin to prioritize the activities that you would like to work on as president.  I had done work with the programs committee prior to that and I always enjoy planning and sometime presenting programs. When a president’s term is over, typically the past-president becomes chair the Nominations and Awards committee. This is an opportunity to help the section to continue to thrive be rewarding the people who have been active in section and recruiting or developing the next leaders of the section.

Q: How do you see your role as member of the IESNYC?
I am still involved in occasional programs and I think all members could find a few hours in their schedule to help with a program or activity which will benefit the community and your personal network -  and you will make some new friends as well. The IESNYC also gave me the opportunity to get involved in the Building Energy Exchange (BEEx) http://be-exchange.org/ . When I was VP I was invited to attend initial BEEx meetings on behalf of the Section and become strongly committed to their mission and was certain that the IESNYC should be involved. I continue to be on the board of BEEx representing the interests of the lighting community. I think the connection to and collaboration with the BEEx has given the Section a nice home base and connection to an organization that also reaches the architects and real estate professionals who are who our clients and customers.

Q: In your opinion, what are the best assets of the IESNYC?
The IESNYC brings together the amazing breadth and depth of the lighting community in New York City and we all work together to improve how the world is lit.  But I do think the best asset is the people you meet.  For example, in large part through my involvement in the Section, I knew Patricia DiMaggio (1964–2014) our 85th president, and she asked me to fill in for her for one semester teaching lighting in the Interior Design department at NYSID. Several years later the Dean reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in heading up a Masters of Professional Studies degree program in Interior Lighting Design they were launching. I continued to lead that program as well as managing and improving the lighting classes that are part of the Undergraduate and Graduate Interior Design Programs.  I did transition out of that role a few years back, but I still teach two classes in the lighting program.