Meg Smith

October 2014

Meg Smith, LC, IES, LEED AP
PRNA Lighting Solutions and Services
Senior Project Manager, Applications Solutions, Philips Lighting

Q: How did you first get started in the lighting industry?
Like so many who entered the industry prior to the introduction of lighting education programs, I got started by chance.  I had just moved to a small town in New Jersey and was looking for my first “real” job after college. While on my way to a job interview, I walked into a decorative lighting store to ask directions of the owner. It was one of those odd meetings when an instant connection was made. She offered me a job on the spot and eventually I took over the day-to-day management of the business. I hoped to expand the business into a contractor showroom and so I enrolled Parsons’ Certificate of Lighting course so I could learn about lighting. Jim Nuckolls ran the program at that time and one day he called me into his office to recruit me for the lighting design MFA program he was working to establish at Parsons, but the tuition was beyond my reach. One of my regrets in life is that I didn’t enter the program at that tie. I sought career advice from a Parsons instructor and he introduced me to Fred Katz was planning to open LightWorks (later became known as LightForms), which was his first lighting store. Here was a chance to learn about lighting and earn a living! Fred became my employer and mentor and he shared his knowledge of running a contract lighting business in New York.  And from the steady stream of designers and contractors with whom I interacted, I learned about the art, science and business of lighting. Later on, I worked for Tech Lighting, Lightolier, and now at Philips where I am a senior project manager, applications solutions, and I use my knowledge to inform the predevelopment process for lighting systems and business solutions.

Q: How did you first get involved in the IESNYC?
I had attended IESNYC programs for a few years when Randy Sabedra and Bonny Whitehouse recruited me to join the board. I first became involved in fund raising  and was "in training" with Connor Samson, then program chair, for two weeks before he left New York to raise his new born twins in Montreal and to join (and eventually led) the Montreal section. Thus started my meteoric rise to became the then combined programs and education chair! Since 2002 I have been either chair or co-chair of one of these committees. During that time, I had the pleasure to work collaboratively with Randy Sabedra, Kelly Seeger, Dan Rogers, Shaun Fillion, and Jeff Hoenig and many great speakers and volunteer instructors. IESNYC has served as a leader in lighting education, many of the courses and programs being replicated by IES and LightFair for a national audience. In 2010, combining my interest in lighting education and fund raising, I founded Control This! — an event that consisted of seminars and exhibits dedicated to the exploration of the state of lighting controls — and managed it for three years, with co-chair Dan Rogers.

Q: In your opinion, what are the best assets of the IESNYC?
Our biggest asset is the people, both the IESNYC members and the incredible extended community of lighting and design professionals found in NYC!

Q: How do you see your role as a member of the BOM?
Remembering the time when I passed up the chance to go for the newly created Parsons Lighting Design MFA, I am especially proud of our support of lighting education. This support includes the NYC student chapter, our two Thesis Prizes, grants provided through the IESNYC Student Competition, the Richard Kelly Grant, contributing annually to the Nuckolls Fund, the IESNYC Annual Scholarship, and the new the Patricia DiMaggio Memorial Fund.

As the current "co-chair emeritus" of the education committee, I am enjoying the flexibly to work ad hoc to assist our amazing emerging IESNYC leaders to expand our reach as a service society and to further our mission to provide lighting education to both the design community and the general public. As an example of this "ad-hoc activity", I had great fun, working in partnership with Open House New York (OHNY) to showcase ten projects by Lumen award winning lighting designers during OHNY Weekend on the night of October 11, 2014.