Manny Feris

July 2016

Manny Feris, LEED AP
Lutron OEM Team 

Q: How did you first get started in the lighting industry?
With a BS in physics, I was looking for a starter job before I got married and moved to California. A friend’s dad was a headhunter, and he connected me to an engineering-oriented lighting manufacturer — Holophane. They hired me (despite my beard!), spent 12 weeks training me, and put me on their NYC sales team — reporting to Joel Siegel (now VP at Edison-Price). I called on architects and lighting designers, but I quickly learned that product design engineers and electrical engineers spoke a different language. Engineers saw lighting and lighting products through the alembic of numbers, while architects/lighting designers saw it as a design process. I became a “translator” and a teacher more than a salesman. It was fun, and so I stayed in NYC and in the lighting industry.

Q: How did you first get involved in the IESNYC?
All Holophaners supported the IES — we hosted the IESNYC Fundamentals of Lighting classes — and in 1970, I took the course with Frank Conti (CEO and founder of ELS), who had also just joined both the industry and IESNYC. We started attending meetings, participating at meetings, and then we joined committees (the Christmas Party Committee was my favorite). Eventually, we both became section presidents! I was the Section’s 74th president, and served from 1982/83 – 1983/84, helping to launch “Lighting World,” which was the precursor to “LightFair.” Also, being on the Lumens Committee has been a very satisfying experience for me. I was successive co-chair with Don Isenberg, and then Patricia Pinckney — when we only had ten tables and held the gala at the Yale Club. Even though I’m based out of Lutron headquarters in Coopersburg, PA, I enjoyed being on the Lumen Committee this year, when Megan Carroll and Adrienne Shulman hosted an event for almost 1,000 people — that was a lot different, and so much better!

Q: How do you see your role as member of the IESNYC?
The lighting industry has given me a career and friendships — the IESNYC is a lynchpin that allows industry newcomers to grow and prosper. It is an easy and professional way for any member to pay back to the industry by participating in the educational efforts of monthly meetings, classes and other events. Sharing the benefits of the IES, at the NYC Section level and at the regional and national levels, with others, is a pleasure and a benefit to all of us in the industry.

As a past member of the IESNYC and IESNA Membership Committees, I enjoyed calling senior people at engineering and lighting design firms to remind them that helping defray the membership costs for their staffers was a synergistic expense benefitting their firm, the industry, and the society. Working on the History Committee with Addison Kelly gave me the chance to arm-twist senior folks in the industry to sit down with Dan Blitzer and a camera so we could record their thoughts, wisdom and humor for anyone to see, enjoy and learn from. The work on Viggo Rambusch’s committee in updating the IES Recommended Practices for Houses of Worship was interestingly completed just before the LED transformation of our industry … need to get that updated again!

Q: In your opinion, what are the best assets of the IESNYC?
The lighting industry has become more complicated! As the world grows smaller and LED lighting becomes an integral part of the technology of every lighting application in the built environment, objective data, testing and guidelines are critical to effective use of new lighting technologies — and that comes from the 100-year-old experience within this organization.

People are the holy grail of how the IES works — smart folks who give their time — which is as important as money to promote the effective use of lighting to make architecture better, and people happier and healthier. And that’s not a bad deal!