This story was originally published by Architectural Lighting.

On April 17, Lutron Electronics, known for its smart lighting controls and automated shading solutions, announced that is has acquired Austin, Texas, based smart lighting and controls company Ketra. (Architectural Lighting featured a company profile of Ketra and company co-founder Nav Sooch in “The Nature of Control.”) The move allows Lutron to continue to deliver and expand on one of its core company tenents: the beautiful control of light.

In an exclusive interview, Architectural Lighting spoke with Ed Blair, Lutron senior vice president, about the acquisition.

Is this the first acquisition of this kind, meaning another controls company, for Lutron?
Of this kind, yes. We have made two other acquisitions in our company history. In 2000, Lutron acquired Vimco, a regional shading manufacturer that was the catalyst to enter into the automated shade business. In 2009, Lutron acquired Ivalo, which allowed us to enter into the high performance, high aesthetics fixture arena.

Going forward, how will the two companies be known in the marketplace?
Ketra will become a brand of Lutron. However, the Ketra team has done a great job with their brand identity and Ketra’s products will continue to enter the marketplace as Ketra products.

How will the two companies integrate in terms of locations and personnel?
The motivation for this acquisition was about growing the category and servicing our customers. It is not a financially driven acquisition to see how things could be done more efficiently. Our intention is to have the Ketra team join the Lutron team. The two groups will work together and independently when appropriate. Ketra will continue to operate business in Austin, Texas. Nav Sooch, the current CEO of Ketra, will stay on in a consulting capacity with Lutron, and Horace Ho, chief operating officer, along with other members of the executive team will be continuing.

Does this acquisition signal that Lutron wants to be viewed as more than a controls company?
There is no change to our philosophy; it is about the beautiful control of light. What we saw with Ketra was the ability to continue this with the integration of fixtures and sources so we can control lighting end-to-end and continue to elevate lighting performance.

Does this acquisition strategically send a message to your competitors that Lutron remains, as ever, an active force in the industry?
Our first priority has always been to take care of the customer. It is the first of our five core principles established by Lutron’s founder Joel Spira. Most of our product advances have been homegrown, such as the recent launch of Vive. However, we have had our eyes open for opportunities to fulfill that first principle. Our commitment remains to creating beautiful light and creating the most beautiful environments in corporate and residential applications.

What will this acquisition allow Lutron to do going forward?
In our assessment of the marketplace, we felt that Ketra had built the best and most flexible platform for the creation of controllable natural light. The platform gives us tremendous jumping off points that we are excited about. Through all of this, Lutron remains committed to the category and to the professionals working to create beautiful light. While the definition of those changes with the technology, we remain the company that stands behind the products and meets the needs of its customers. This is the next chapter of that, a chapter that we are very excited about.

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