October 2019

Rinkinson Gohel, MIES, LEED Green Associate
Lighting Designer, Bliss Fasman


Q: How did you first get started in the lighting industry?
I attended the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) in 2013 to study architectural engineering. Since I wasn’t interested in the electrical/power quality specialty and wanted to learn the poetics of design intent, I transferred to South Dakota State University in 2016 to learn the creative side of design. Lighting has always brought back childhood memories of lights at festivals back home in India. I wanted to learn more about lighting and a career in lighting and so I took the initiative to learn on my own. During my sophomore I took the Lighting Education Fundamentals (ED-100) course at the IES Section in Milwaukee. It was then that I started to notice and appreciate and criticize light more. I also started asking professionals at IES meetings questions and joined MSOE’s IES/NECA professional society. During this time, I become an active student member of the IES Milwaukee Section and served on board as a president for the MSOE professional organization Illuminating Engineering/ National Electrical Contractor Association. Along with four full-time lighting designers, I became an intern at Ring & DuChateau Consulting Engineers, an engineering design and services firm outside of Milwaukee. My internship got extended, but during that time, I started to feel that MSOE was not a good fit for me. So, in order learn the poetics of architecture, I transferred to South Dakota State University and took architecture classes. I graduated with a degree in General Studies with focus of Engineering, Math and Architecture. For my second internship I went to Cambridge, MA to work as lighting research apprentice at Philips Lighting Research Center. I worked directly with senior project manager lighting applications research, Meg Smith, LC, LEED AP, WELL AP, MIES (a former Member of the IESNYC Board of Managers). I learned a lot from her and to date, she was my most important mentor. During my internship, I attended the IES Annual Conference held in Boston and met the people such as David Di Laura, Howard Brandston, and Kit Cuttle who influenced me. My summer internship got extended till the end of the December 2018. In January, I started my career as a full-time lighting designer at Bliss Fasman in New York City. Currently I am working on Eataly Dallas and Discovery World Headquarters in Manhattan.

Q: How did you first get involved in the IESNYC?
I was familiar with IESNYC when I moved to New York City. The first event I attended was Lighting Jeopardy back in January. I felt welcome and this being my second week in New York, it was very much appreciated. I was invited to attend Board of Managers meetings, which was good for me because I found committees to join. I joined the Student Lighting Competition Committee and worked with committee members who really cared about the event. I also serve on the Lumen Awards Committee. If you attended the last gala, you might have noticed the slide show of the past year’s events that I produced. Most recently, I became a member of the Programs Committee and I am working on a lighting tour/talk at the TWA Hotel, in collaboration with DLFNY.

Q: How do you see your role as member of the IESNYC?
I really enjoy being surrounded by lighting enthusiasts and positive-minded individuals. The best thing is the networking opportunity. I also believe that my role as an IESNYC is spread awareness about IESNYC and their great programs throughout the year. The IES has given me a lot while I was in school and I feel like now this my time to giving back as much as I can. When IESNYC President Mike Barr recommended me to co-host the Emerging Professional (EP) Workshop at the past IES Annual Conference in Louisville and said I would gladly participate and share my thoughts. It was an honor to represent the Section and talk about my experiences as a new lighting designer in New York City.

Q: In your opinion, what are the best assets of the IESNYC?
Definitely our volunteers who invest their time in making IESNYC events great. Now being a member of several committees, I can see how much back-end work is needed to create a successful event. Another asset is the diverse composition of lighting professionals who are attend all of these events. Our sponsors of all levels are also one of our best assets since without their kind support we can’t do what we do. I also feel that IESNYC’s vision keeps us together and moving in one direction and I like the way the IESNYC is open to collaborate with other organizations like IALD NY, DLFNY and others.