Enlightened by the industry (MAGAZINE)

June 1, 2022
Continuing education involves many opportunities — among them, getting back to connecting with industry professionals in the same physical space, writes WANDA LAU.

One of my requisites for work, if not life, is continuing education. Research, technology, standards, and business and societal values always evolve, as do employer expectations for base skillset and knowledge. Ideally, employers offer or sponsor learning and training opportunities for their workforce and recognize them accordingly for their growing contribution to a company’s success.

Events offer excellent venues to learn directly from industry leaders. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the availability of online learning, from highly produced series such as MasterClass and EdX to virtual webinars that proffer lively participant chats and continuing education units. Ready or not, we are steadily returning to in-person events, and with those educational gains comes the prospect of initiating invaluable connections with a friendly “hello” to the person next to you.

Having covered many industry events throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to absorb knowledge from renowned educators and doers in the lighting industry. Naomi Miller introduced me to energy standards at LEDucation in 2013. Michael Royer, Randy Burkett, and Kevin Houser laid the case for a new color metric with IES TM-30 at various events in the mid- to late-2010s. More recently, in April, Edward Bartholomew, Lya Osborn, and Glenn Shrum shared how light can and should elevate rather than oppress marginalized and underserved communities at IES Seattle’s virtual webinar Light + Justice as Practice. Seeing lighting designers bring their art, expertise, and activism to new audiences was inspiring.

When this issue reaches our audience, I will likely be preparing for or attending LightFair in Las Vegas, my first in-person conference since March 2020. I look forward to being swept into the flood of knowledge disseminated at keynotes and educational sessions, meeting and re-meeting manufacturer representatives and lighting professionals, and walking the tradeshow aisles of products — some of which may be honorees of the inaugural LEDs Magazine BrightStar Awards.

Come fall, I look forward to donning my learning hat again when I attend LightSPEC West and LightSPEC Midwest in Los Angeles and Chicago, respectively. Owned by LEDs publisher, Endeavor Business Media, with programming directed by Clifton Lemon (see an excerpt of his latest book), the LightSPEC shows will comprise educational and networking sessions with experts in lighting technology and product development, architecture and design, professional practice, codes and regulations, intelligent buildings and controls, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. To date, the announced keynotes include Thomas Paterson, principal of Lux Populi, with offices in Mexico City and the U.K.; and my longtime source from my architecture-journalism days, Jonathan Moody, CEO of Columbus, OH–based Moody Nolan, 2021 recipient of the Architecture Firm Award by the American Institute of Architects.

As someone who fully embraces the fact that I have much to learn about lighting and the industry, I hope to meet many of you at a future event, virtual or in-person. I’ll be the one hastily taking notes and beaming at the chance to learn from the best.

WANDA LAU is editorial director of LEDs Magazine and Smart Buildings Technology. She previously served as executive editor of Architect magazine and worked for a decade in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry.

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About the Author

Wanda Lau | Editorial director, LEDs Magazine, Architectural SSL, and Smart Buildings Technology

Wanda Lau is an award-winning editor, writer, and podcaster whose work appears in several publications, including Architectural Lighting and Architect, where she was most recently the executive editor. In 2021, she was named one of Folio: and AdMonsters' Top Women in Media, in the DEI Champions category. Along with working a decade in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry, she holds a B.S. in civil engineering from Michigan State University, an S.M. in building technology from MIT, and an M.A. in journalism from Syracuse University.