October 2020

Elaine Cook
Lighting Engineer/ Specification Sales/3D Printing Magician
Moxie Lighting

Q: How did you first get started in the lighting industry?
You could say I started as soon as my fine motor skills developed as a kid. My parents own Barbican Architectural Products, a Canadian lighting manufacturer, and they would take me to the factory to “help out” all the time. I started by making screw packages while watching “Barney & Friends” and got paid in sour candy. Over the summer holidays from school, I worked my way up from production to design to R&D engineer, where I helped develop their lit ceiling product. After graduating from Western University and the Ivey Business School with a Bachelor of Engineering Science in Mechatronic Systems Engineering and an Honours in Business Administration in 2019, I decided to stay in lighting and joined the team at Moxie Lighting in New York City. I absolutely love working at Moxie. The benefit of working in a relatively new firm is that each day is entirely different from the next. Currently, I spend around 70% of my time working with the Spec Sales Team, and I split the rest of my time working with the Marketing Team and with some of Moxie’s manufacturers doing product development.

Q: How did you first get involved in the IESNYC?
I was a student member of the Toronto IES Section throughout my university career. I regretted that I wasn’t an active member, so when I moved to New York City, I reached out to Kacie Stigliano of SLS, who chairs the Membership Committee, to see if she needed any help. Fortunately, Kacie was looking for someone to help plan the IESNYC’s 2019 Holiday Party, gaining me a spot on the committee. Through Kacie’s leadership and a well used Minibar account, it was a successful event! I do hope that sometime soon, we will all be able to get together as a community like we did last December.

Q: How do you see your role as member of the IESNYC?
I see my role within the IESNYC to be one that is continuously evolving. A month after the Holiday Party, Kacie suggested that I, as well as Jess Kaller of Moda Light USA, contact Randy Sabedra, who chairs the Digital Communications & Archives Committee. Randy was forming a new group to help establish social media publishing practices. The committee was looking for ways to make it easier for the IESNYC to communicate with its membership. Fortunately, Jess and I both had tons of social media experience through work and other volunteering positions. Our hard work came together for the launch of the 14 Days of Lumens, which was very well received by the lighting community. During the preparation for the 14 Days of Lumens, I was also working on what was then a small project with the Francesca Bastianini (Sighte Studio) and Lana Lenar (ZeroLux), called Equity in Lighting Design, NYC (ELD NYC). Since then, ELD NYC grew into an initiative that has now been backed by the IESNYC, DLF NY, IALD NY, and WILD NYC. For those who have not heard of ELD NYC, I will use “my time in the spotlight” to highlight this project and my newest role within the lighting design community of New York. The goal of the ELD NYC is to root out systemic racism within the lighting design community through educational events, outreach, and policy. During August and September, the ELD NYC sent out a survey to the members of the New York City lighting design community to quantify the baseline of diversity. Currently, the team is analyzing this data to determine the barriers of entry that make it harder for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals to enter the lighting industry. These results allow us to focus our efforts by providing us a way to quantify our successes or failures. The analyzed results will be published on our website at eld-newyork.org, and our Instagram @equityinlightingdesignnyc at the end of October.

Q: In your opinion, what are the best assets of the IESNYC?
I believe our greatest asset is our membership. Organizations like the IESNYC do not happen overnight. They are the result of hundreds of hours of work done by hundreds of dedicated members. Currently, there are 14 committees within the IESNYC, and within that, I have noticed that there are individuals who volunteer their time not just on one subcommittee but up to six! I aspire to give back as much time as these members have and continue to do over their careers.