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Lighting the way
to better crops

Horticultural applications from Philips Lighting

 

by Rachelle Winningham, Biloxi, Miss., USA 

 

My job as Application Engineer in the horticultural group at Philips Lighting involves everything from working out installation details to helping to set lighting standards for the industry. LED lighting is still a relatively new innovation in the horticultural industry, so technical specifications are different from conventional lighting installations like fluorescents or high-intensity discharge (HPS). This means we’re deeply involved in all aspects of our customers’ projects, from end to end.

 

Satisfying growth

 

I got my degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Later, I received my MBA at the Keller School of Management, after I had acquired several years of work experience as a design engineer in the ballasts division of Philips Lighting. I was working part-time with the application solutions team when a project became available in the horticultural venture – that was when I first learned of the Horticulture group. I’ve been working full-time there ever since.

 

Never bored!

I love the holistic view I get from the projects I work on – it’s certainly never boring! We’re a small team, so we all get to take on many different roles. I’m involved in the technical side, but I also do product management, work on logistics, order management, and quality. That’s the main reason why I did my MBA, really. I enjoy design engineering, but I wanted to be engaged in the entire process, looking at everything from the market need to the initial design, from product conception to development, right down to working out the details of installation for each application.

 

Exciting developments

Horticulture is a very exciting area to work in. LED lighting is still very new in this industry. Technical requirements, specifications and installations for LED are different from conventional lighting. The biggest challenge is that the industry needs different standards in evaluating lighting for horticultural applications. I’m involved in developing those standards together with colleagues in Europe. I’m also working with utility companies to assess customer utility rebate requirements. I find it very satisfying work.

 

Far-reaching projects

The most challenging and fun project I’ve been involved in so far was an installation for the horticultural research and training facility at Colorado State University (CSU). It’s the biggest installation in North America at the moment using our newest products. We’re collaborating with CSU on research projects and also using this site for customer visits.

I got my degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Later, I received my MBA at the Keller School of Management, after I had acquired several years of work experience as a design engineer in the ballasts division of Philips Lighting. I was working part-time with the application solutions team when a project became available in the horticultural venture – that was when I first learned of the Horticulture group. I’ve been working full-time there ever since.

 

I got my degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Later, I received my MBA at the Keller School of Management, after I had acquired several years of work experience as a design engineer in the ballasts division of Philips Lighting. I was working part-time with the application solutions team when a project became available in the horticultural venture – that was when I first learned of the Horticulture group. I’ve been working full-time there ever since.

 
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I love it that the work I’m doing can have a real impact on people. Together with our partners and customers, we’re developing better ways to grow fresh vegetables.  With our technology, we’re able to make a real difference to the way food is provided to people.”

 

Rachelle Winningham

Biloxi, Miss., USA