Tom Boyle, of GE Current, a Daintree Company joins Michael and Greg for this week’s episode.
After clarifying what a Chief Technical Officer is responsible for, he shares his perspective on twenty years of change in the lighting industry, and Daintree’s renewed focus on LED and controls he gets into his company’s entry into UV-C Disinfection.
We discussed the various options that are emerging for UV-C and how it should be deployed as a layer in a range of cleaning solutions. Tom brought up the idea of building up people’s comfort levels as we spend more time indoors and how he goes about clearing up confusion for end-consumers. Michael offers the idea of a certification or a rating for UV products, while Greg considers the value of hygiene theatre and signaling cleanliness. Adding disinfection feels like an economic necessity but the market is expanding faster than testing can keep up with it and having a GE logo on a spec sheet makes selling this a whole lot easier in a number of ways.
Human-centric light is a selfish idea. Jane Slade is an expert in how anthropogenic light at night is harming all wildlife to some degree. In this rebroadcast of our live stream from last year’s IES Annual Conference she shares her work with Michael and Greg.
We keep learning new things about the damage ALAN does, whether that’s sending dung beetles walking in circles or slowing down the motion of free radicals in the air, but the solution is always the same: turn off the lights, then tell other people to do the same, pretending otherwise will just make it all worse.
She also explains why some of the security value of light is an illusion, the role controls and smart systems can play, pushing conservation past the photogenic animals, and the trouble with scientific conclusions are getting less obvious to the average person.
Bryan Colligan founded Atlas Lighting in his basement in 1977, it didn’t leave that basement until 1999 when host Michael joined the company.
Greg takes the lead asking questions about forty years worth of changes to the lighting industry, founding his own company, working by hand, being a frequent flyer on Air Chicken, and training salespeople.
Beyond his career Bryan shares his insights into business relationships, succession in a family business, and the power of working the order desk.
This week we have a crossover episode with Sam Koerbel of Lytei.
Before he was an architectural engineer he was a mascot for his college football team, and that sense of building character and expressing enthusiasm is what drives his podcasts and video series. Embodying excitement to encourage others is fun in it’s own right, but it can also be very valuable.
Michael and Greg spoke with him about spreading lighting design to the masses - everyone knows a poorly lit room when they see it, but know the why and how to fix it. Between talking about podcasting procedures and the power of video, they argued about whether we need educational credits in lighting and what tattoos really mean.
Find more of Sam at https://www.lytei.com/
Tom Ciurczak, industry veteran and president of BLC America has dropped an album. He’s been a singer and songwriter his whole life, and his daughter nudged him to actually releasing an album. Call me Ishmael is a mix of work from his whole life showcasing a number of styles and moods.
Michael and Greg have heard the album, liked it, and asked him on the show to discuss songwriting, the pros and cons of different creative approaches.
Beyond the stalkers, smugglers and outlaws to liars, losers and thieves that inhabit his music there are the characters that work in the lighting industry. Tom shares his past leaving computer sales, finding himself working for Osram in their first year in America, and his experiences in the speciality lighting market.
He also gets into his thoughts on working in the distribution and sales business; the power of relationships, how you can break ties and beat online prices on them and how those relationships have led to being able to use OEM contracts to keep his income stable.
Tom’s music can be found here: https://tomciurczak.com/
Ellis Yan is back to finish telling the story of his career, starting back in 1979 as the Chinese government begins to emphasize quality of life for its citizens Ellis was in school to become an accountant and working in a computer lab (this was in the punch-card era of computing, just in case you thought Ellis was ever behind the cutting edge). He tells the story of how he met his wife, made friends with a man called Big Buddha and how he and his brother started a company in 1986, making MR16s when they were still 4 dollars per unit. He explains how he managed to make the right moves in the right places and the right times - selling unpatented, manually-blown spiral CFLs from a factory that took up every piece of land he could buy in Shanghai to Home Depot in the months after California suffered historic blackouts.
Once we caught up to the present we talked about the future of lighting - purpose-built luminaires, becoming more than just a source of light, and more.
He also shares his thoughts about working with family, offers anecdotes about his father’s odd way of offering advice, and some insight into Chinese politics.
Last week Michael tested positive for COVID-19, Spencer Miles has had employees come up positive, and Greg’s been lucky so far. We’ve spoken about doing business during the lockdown, but now we can speak to more immediate damage control experiences.
Spencer and Michael share how they resumed business, worked around downed employees, and their experiences running the order desk again.
Procedures and policy are extremely varied region-to-region, hopefully you don’t have to deal with anything like this, or are at least lucky to have a public health authority as professional as Michael has dealt with.
Please, listen to the episode, then find some time to reflect on everything afterward.
This week, we reversed roles and let our guest ask us questions.
New lighting and energy consultant, Ryan Krueger, has a list of questions for us. Listen in to find out:
● What makes distribution unique
● How we learned all this before starting the podcast
● What catalogues and courses looked like in the pre-LED era
● Approaches to fieldwork when we started out
● Greg’s easy choice to get his LC certification
● How to deal with bad audits
● What those plastic seals do
● How tapped is the market, really?
● Strangest requests, odyssey emails, and how Michael became an accessory to marijuana distribution
● Our largest orders
● Longest contact-to-close times
● And a round of ‘how to retrofit this hypothetical’ building.
We also discuss the four phases of a career in the industry, and a few our personal favourite aspects and events in our careers.
“The current pandemic has created a tipping point for networked controls in lighting.”
That’s what Peter Brown sent us in an email earlier this month, rather than reply we got him on the line to talk this out for the show. Our assumptions about lighting have been inverted; the cost rule of 3 dollars for utilities, 30 for rent, and 300 for personnel is out the window and we need to spend more on new utilities just to get that 300 back into the building. Beyond that we get into recovery planning, UV disinfection, and hygiene theater.
There is a question none of us can answer that emerges from the end of our chat: will there be code requirements for any IoT for public health applications? We’ll see where things go from here.
Ellis Yan returns to continue his life story for us. Picking back up on the farm in the mountains, he shares how the experience built up his resilience and made him more open to new experiences, but the plot takes a small turn when his family living in the US try to arrange for a visa for him - something that wouldn’t pay off until he was attending University in Shanghai and his application got reviewed under new rules for students. After a few misadventures with the local bureaucracy he had to cut his story short for another appointment as he landed in the strange world of Cleveland.
Stay subscribed for part 3.