Cheryl English, 2017-2018 IES President
Courtesy Illuminating Engineering Society Cheryl English, 2017-2018 IES President

The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) has announced the election of Cheryl English as the next President of the Society for the 2017 – 2018 term. As of July 1, 2017, English takes the reigns from Shirley Coyle, who served as President for the 2016 – 2017 term.

English, who has been an IES member for 35 years, has carved out her professional lighting career at Acuity Brands, located in Conyers, Ga. There, she has had a number of roles, starting as an application engineer (for Lithonia Lighting), then working in product development and marketing, and most recently in government relations where she is currently Vice President, Government and Industry Relations.

In her various IES roles and activities she has worked to “…develop the Joint IDA-IES Model Lighting Ordinance, the IES classification system for Outdoor Luminaires (TM-15), and the first series of IES ED education programs.” She has also served on a number of IES committees such as the Board of Fellows, Medal Award, Marks Award, Lighting Economics, Sustainable Lighting, Educational Materials, Education Seminars, Legislative & Regulatory, and Computer. For her work and service on behalf of the Society, she has been the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, the Fellow Award, and an IES Presidential Award.

In mid-June, Architectural Lighting’s Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Donoff spoke with English about her upcoming role as IES President.

ED: As you assume the IES Presidency, what items are on your agenda, and how does that tie into the Society’s mission?
CE: The IES is going through an exciting transformation and, quite honestly, that is a lot of the reason why I decided to run for president now, rather than before or [in the future]. I saw the changes that were taking place and really wanted to be engaged in helping to drive those changes. Even though [the presidency] is a one-year term, it is really three years because you are involved in this whole strategic management as vice president, president, and past president.

One of my top priorities coming into this was really around the standards development for IES, because it is a technical society, and the standards are the lifeblood of the Society. I think we are well on our way to a more robust standards development process. We have new tools for committees to use. For example, we are just rolling out a new technical review process that is going to be much more robust in terms of tapping into areas of expertise [that will set up a] peer review, third-party type of evaluation of the committee work. That ultimately has enhanced what we are doing from our ANSI accreditation standpoint, so that we are going to have a more reliable process that follows those accreditation processes.

We are also focusing on a prior set of education materials, and that is going to target and allow lighting professionals to engage in many different formats. The Lighting Fundamentals [curriculum] has been around for a long time. Sections teach it locally in courses. They might be bi-weekly or weekly for several weeks of face-to-face meetings, but we understand that the robust learning process, especially as quickly as everything is changing, is that we need many different modes of getting educational information [to a broad audience]. Therefore, there are going to be more programs on very specific topics, and there are going to be educational materials that will accompany new standards when they come out.

ED: How do you see your role as IES President?
CE: My challenge coming into this president role is making sure that I understand the diversity of our membership and what each member values. That has been the exciting thing, traveling around to districts [and meeting] different people [who] value different things from the IES. Some people are there for the education, some are there for the networking, some are there because their friends are there, and others are there for the standards development. The IES has a very broad set of members that we want to appeal to and make sure that we are providing the best value to them.

ED: What are your thoughts on the challenges that associations and professional organizations face today?
CE: The main thing is staying relevant to your membership. For many years at the IES, we did things the same way and never really stepped back to [evaluate] if this was still relevant in the way that we [for example] conduct our conferences or the types of speakers that we bring to the conferences. Now, at many of the conferences, whether that is the International Association of Lighting Designers, or IES, or even Lightfair, we are bringing in more inspirational speakers or business-focused speakers. I think that is going to be the most critical thing for not-for-profits, to stay focused on that member value.

ED: How would you characterize the IES membership?
CE: We are very fortunate to have so many passionate members who are so dedicated to their profession. I think that is one of the things that a lot of people outside of our industry [notice]. They come in and are like, wow, you really love lighting and love working with the people that you work with. I have been in lighting my entire career; I am thankful when I hear that because I know with many other industries it is not the same.

English will work with the 2017-2018 Board of Directors, whose makeup for the coming term is as follows: Lance Bennett, (Vice-President / President-Elect), Eaton’s Lighting Business; Shirley Coyle, LC, (Past President), Cree, Inc.; and James Radi, (Treasurer), Shat-R-Shield.

The At Large Directors are: Susanne Seitinger, PhD, Philips Lighting; Antonio Garza, Iluminacion Total, SA de CV; Naomi Miller, Pacific Northwest Laboratory; Wilson Dau, LC, Dau Design and Consulting, Inc.; Frank Agraz, Frank Agraz; and Francois-Xavier Morin, LC, LightFX.

The Regional Directors are: Jennifer Jaques, LC, (South Region), Lighting Application Sciences, LLC; Michelle (Shelly) Prew, (Midwest Region), Eaton Lighting; Antonio Giacobbe, (West Region), Acuity Brands; and Rick Paradis, (Northeast Region), Synergy Investment.