Up Close with Barbara Horton
Barbara Horton, Principal of HLB Lighting Design went on the record regarding the relationship between Reps and Lighting Designers in the age of COVID.
Barbara expressed that she was very happy with her relationships with her manufacturers and their reps and is pleased with how the industry has adapted, explaining, “We need each other.” She said that the manufacturers and reps have become more inventive and creative as they conduct live demonstrations during their webinars. While nothing can fully replace in-person meetings, she and her team are very pleased with the training and updates they have received.
“Because we are not having training around a lunch meal, we are more productive,” she said, “We have learned that we can have the ‘lunch and learn’ without the ‘lunch’. Reps don’t have to wine and dine the design teams to get good information to them.” She also stated that the reps were doing a great job in shipping samples to their homes.
Barbara believes that the lighting design industry seems to ride on the tails of technology and that worldwide there is a new consciousness that wellness is critical and needs to be a part of work and life. She explained, “Hotels, restaurants, and offices now want to bring a lot more daylight to the workers. Daylight, wellness, and controls will be the focus for the next coming years.” She also noted that IoT is sparking is a lot of interest, especially in exterior. HLB is working on smart city guidelines with a few reps across the country and is working with universities and IT departments as well as large-city managers. HLB has also had company-wide webinars with three of the largest U.S. lighting companies to discuss their individual technologies.
Most importantly, Barbara explained that one of the most impactful actions lighting designers can take is to support universities and continue to offer internships whenever possible—even in tough times, saying “We need the lifeline of young people that inspire our industry.”