by Geoff Lewthwaite
Project Manager, Auckland, New Zealand
My career began in lighting sales, when I was in my 20s. As I got more experience, I realized I wanted the science that goes with creativity, and studied for my diploma in Illumination Engineering. I find that the best use of my skills is in providing overall direction, seeing the big picture and bringing together design, technical specifications, and product choice.
We usually work on urban projects we have identified; mainly commercial and industrial schemes where we see opportunities. I work with architects, consulting engineers, and lighting designers to generate specifications for our products, so building relationships of trust with these partners is key. Internally, we have project teams of four or five people, each of us working to our own strengths. I’m particularly motivated by finding solutions. Every project has its puzzles that need to be solved, and I find it satisfying when we come up with a good solution.
We have a high share of the market in New Zealand, which gives us access to interesting projects, e.g. in the dairy and food products industry - an important area in New Zealand. One case was the LSG SKY Chefs project. It was the first major industrial project in New Zealand that was 100% LED lighting. The key advantage of the LED solution was its very low maintenance compared with conventional lighting that requires production downtime for the customer to replace florescent tubes, etc.
We were able to supply reliable luminaires that were suitable for the -25oC temperatures needed for the customer’s frozen foods areas. We also provided lighting for the emergency fixtures, roadways, and car parks. A huge variety and number of products had to be delivered: at least 25-30 different types of light fittings and over 2,000 LED lights.
Perhaps the accomplishment I’m most proud of is the illumination of our world-class velodrome, where UCI World Cup cycling events have been held. It was challenging to illuminate the cyclists for the cameras, while making sure they had the right lighting on the track. We needed expert advice, and with our connection to Philips in France, we were able to get support from French sports specialists. It was fantastic; a real global team effort! And in fact, Philips New Zealand and our partners, LDP Consultants, won an IES Excellence award for this project.
At the moment I’m engaged in a complex project that involves a wide range of different, high-end public lighting requirements. It involves indoor and outdoor lighting for buildings and streets, and specialist lighting for a sports track. It’s a very prestigious project, with a large enough budget for us to be able to put forward really beautiful light fittings, in terms of performance and aesthetics. I’m really enjoying it, and look forward to when it is commissioned.
We genuinely make an impact on people’s lives with energy efficient lighting that is kinder and gentler on the planet. When we look at a new project, one of our challenges is to design systems and controls in a way that makes them simpler and easier for people to use. New technology has changed lighting fundamentally – and Philips showed a lot of foresight in being more ready than anyone else to embrace it.