Ask an EP: Mark Ekberg

Feb 5, 2023
Ask an EP: Mark Ekberg
Through his work on senior-living facilities, the designer for Reese Hackman Engineering finds satisfaction in delivering flexible solutions that suit a variety of end users and needs

Why lighting?

Mark Ekberg
Mark Ekberg, Reese Hackman Engineering

Growing up in Colorado I’ve always been amazed by nature and I enjoyed the outdoors any chance I got. Whether it be camping, hiking, playing baseball or simply sitting on our back patio watching the sun set over the mountains. Little did I know that the reason I enjoyed doing all these things was because of the beauty that comes from natural daylight.

While attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, my love for lighting only grew, from the math nerd inside me enjoying the complex lighting calculations to my artistic side and being able to paint with light.

Favorite project?

The next one! At Reese Hackman, I’m blessed to have the opportunity to work on many unique projects. While we mainly design senior living facilities, these facilities alone have a wide variety of spaces and lighting needs for both residents and staff. One week I’ll be working on designing resident rooms and staff areas, and the next I’ll be designing a dining hall, or activity rooms with color tuning and scene control for multiple events.

Best part of your job?

Being able to listen to the client’s needs and provide a space that reflects their vision and gives them the adjustability to change things up with lighting controls to reflect a different mood depending on what event they have that day. Providing a space that is both functional and versatile allows me to offer a play of brilliance by painting with the layers of light.

Biggest obstacle you’ve encountered?

It often gets overwhelming how quickly lighting controls seem to be changing these days. However, the lighting industry/community in Colorado is simply amazing. The lighting reps we work with are always happy to help and answer any questions that I may have.

For one of my first jobs with Reese Hackman, I was responsible for all components of the lighting design for a memory-care wing in one of our senior-living projects, and if that wasn’t being thrown into the deep end already, we were told that they would like to implement circadian-tuned lighting controls for the space. While I was excited for this opportunity, it was intimidating. Both my project manager and local lighting reps were great resources for me to ask questions about our design and the best ways to meet the client’s requests.

Most important thing for the future of the lighting industry?

Not forgetting about the end users for our lighting systems. As controls and codes continue to develop, we can quickly lose track of what is best for the client. We must not forget that we are designing for people. Lighting has the ability to create a mood—an experience in the space it occupies—that provides comfort to everyone that encounters it.

Dream job?

I’m already living it. Being part of a team that is sensitive to the occupant/clients that we work with is all I’ve ever wanted. I’ve always wanted to use my skills to help people feel comfortable and benefit their daily lives, and I know that’s exactly what our office culture is about.