Jun 10, 2021

The technical operations manager for the DLC’s Solid-State Lighting Program plans to invest in the future by paying it forward

Bernadette Boudreaux, DLC
Why lighting?
Lighting is one of fastest growing fields that encompasses technology as well as the creative side of design. This is rare in such an engineering and science-heavy field. The speed of change and the depth of innovation keeps this industry exciting. In lighting, there are a lot of opportunities for EPs to claim their stake in the future.
Favorite project?
My favorite projects are those where I get to see the results of my work. As an automotive design engineer, projects became real when I saw a vehicle on the road. As a lighting design engineer, it was great to tell my family/friends to look at the lighting at big-box stores and say that that I took part in the design. At the DLC, it is amazing to see how my work affects the environment. DLC’s focus on energy efficiency has made me a proud environmental enthusiast. I am conscious of how my work and my personal life affect the world and impact Mother Earth. I am committed to being conscious of my ability to make change in my work life, industry commitments and personal life.
Best part of your job?
I am always learning. Working with the DLC affords me the opportunity to see how much lighting affects our environment and be more aware of all aspects of the industry. As a former lighting engineer at Acuity, I was focused on engineering and manufacturing. The DLC has broadened this scope; I am able to see impacts of lighting in respect to health, energy rebates, energy programs/codes, and the impact lighting has on a vast number of stakeholders. Having this broader perspective has afforded me more integrity in decision making.
Biggest obstacle you’ve encountered?
Getting into such as large industry and finding where I fit and what was available to me. I struggled to find out how to get involved and how to find the people, resources and organizations that I needed to align with. I am thankful for mentors, programs like the IES EP program, and great companies that I worked for that helped me eventually find my way.
Most important thing for the future of the lighting industry?
The engagement of EPs and new graduates is critical to the industry. EPs need to be on a path to leadership, as some of the current leadership will soon retire. EPs need to be introduced to available opportunities, and mentored/supported in activities that prepare them to lead the industry into the future and capitalize on all the great work our industry leaders have accomplished. All youth need to recognize lighting as a top emerging industry to explore for career/learning opportunities. To ensure the lighting industry stays on par with the aggressive growth, innovation and opportunities, we must invest in our future.
What’s next?
In the future, I will be graduating from the EP program and intend to establish myself as an industry recognized resource in relation to the DLC and other energy- and diversity-related activities. Since I have been fortunate to have great mentors/support, I intend to offer the same to the new generation of EPs by sharing experiences, knowledge and resources. As a black woman, I also recognize the need for more diversity and inclusion, and I intend to be a change agent and very active in this arena for our industry. I want to be an example to EPs and to young brown girls that there is opportunity in lighting, and you can be successful. I hope to assist and work with various organizations to ensure there are processes/tools in place that ensure more groups will be included and supported.