February 2019

Richard (Rick) J. Shaver, LC, MIES
Executive Vice President Research and Development
Edison Price Lighting

Q: How did you first get started in the lighting industry?
It was almost a straight line. In the spring of 1970, on the day after I graduated from high school, I began classes at Penn State University in their Architectural Engineering program. Although I was working toward an engineering degree, it had long been my hope to be an architect in New York City after graduation. I was in the AE program because I had (somehow) decided that I would be a better architect if I also had an engineering background. Those plans changed in my fourth year when I began taking lighting classes with Professor John Flynn. While presenting a project to the class, John commented that I had the potential to be a really good lighting designer. A lighting designer!?! So that became my new plan. It was at this time that I met Craig Bernecker (the IESNYC’s January 2019 Member of the Month), who was John Flynn’s graduate assistant. Small world. On the day after my Penn State graduation, I started working in the lighting department of Joseph Loring Associates, an engineering firm in NYC, and was seated next to a designer named Jerry Kugler. I quickly realized that the opening in the department was due to the fact that Jerry was leaving the company at the end of the summer for graduate school. Thanks, Jerry! And just to complete my story, I had the pleasure of working on a few projects at Loring with Mr. Edison Price. It was Edison who convinced me that the knowledge I would gain from joining him at Edison Price Lighting would make me a better lighting designer. That was nearly forty years ago — and I’m still there and I’m still learning.

Q: How did you first get involved in the IESNYC?
When I was a new arrival in NYC, the IES monthly educational program served double duty as my social calendar. Plus, I loved listening to and meeting lighting designers I had read about in college such as Howard Brandston, Lesley Wheel, Jules Horton, Paul Marantz, Carroll Cline, Jim Nuckolls, David Mintz, Abe Feder, and Richard Kelly. It was an easy leap to serve on the IESNYC Board of Managers for three terms in the 1980’s where I made many friends. It has also been my honor to be a judge for several Lumen Awards programs — something I look forward to doing again in the future.

Q: How do you see your role as member of the IESNYC?
I am thrilled that my everyday job is to create lighting products that my friends and colleagues in the design community can use to fulfill their vision. Lighting fixtures, of course, are not designed in a vacuum, and my IESNYC friends have never been reluctant to tell me what they really, really want. Because we feel so strongly in the work the Section does for the lighting community, Emma Price, Joel Siegel, and I are proud that Edison Price Lighting is a longtime sponsor of the IESNYC. This year, we became an Advocate of the Nuckolls Fund for Lighting Education.

Q: In your opinion, what are the best assets of the IESNYC?
It is the people. Our Section members probably have the broadest experience and knowledge base of any lighting community in the country. And when those members give their time, we all benefit from taking part in the Section’s educational programs. That was how I first became involved with IESNYC, and it is why I keep coming back. I also love attending the Lumen Awards each year. Seeing old friends at the cocktail party is an annual highlight, and meeting younger designers is inspiring. Finally, being treated to a review of each year’s award-winning projects is like another lighting design class of the highest caliber.