John McKiernan, Vice Chairman of Lutron Electronics since 1990, died on Oct. 21. A 40-year Lutron veteran, McKiernan was 79 years old and played a critical role in the company as well as the community.
“John put Lutron on the map and made the lighting control industry,” said Joel Spira, Lutron founder, Chairman and Director of Research. “The entire Lutron family is saddened by the loss of someone who was so vital to the history of the company.”
McKiernan, whom many knew as ‘Mac,’ joined the company as Assistant to the President not long after its founding in 1961. He helped Lutron expand to North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Australia. He was promoted to Vice President in 1974.
“John McKiernan in many ways was the public face of Lutron in our community,” said The Honorable Charlie Dent, U.S. House of Representatives, (R-PA 15th District). “Mac was a kind and compassionate leader who used his wonderful attributes to support so many people and organizations across the Lehigh Valley and beyond. Rest in peace, dear friend.”
John is an Air Force veteran and served during the Korean War. While in the Air Force, he was recognized as a champion swimmer and taught electronics.
Throughout his years at Lutron, McKiernan held numerous, high-profile leadership positions, including Chairman and Executive Committee member of the Electrification Council; an Executive Committee member of the Board of the National Lighting Bureau; a member of the Pennsylvania Governor’s International Task Force Committee; and Chairman, Executive Committee member, and Board of Governors member of the American Lighting Assn. (ALA).
McKiernan’s influential career included being named a life member of the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and receiving the “Manufacturer of the Year” Award from the National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Assn. (NEMRA). He was also given the “Pillar of the Year” Award by ALA.
In September 2013, McKiernan was inducted into the ALA Lighting Hall of Fame. In his acceptance speech he said, “I will accept this award not only for myself, but for everyone else who helped me along the way. The opportunity to work at Lutron was immense — the chance to build a new product category and work with such wonderful, talented people is a privilege.”
“John McKiernan was a very special and unique man," said Dick Upton, ALA President. "He was seen as a highly respected leader in the lighting industry and was everyone’s good friend. In addition to his significant contribution to Lutron Electronics’ remarkable growth and reputation for quality, he was seen as an industry visionary.”
“John was a special man. He was the only person I knew who not only didn’t judge people, but also went out of his way to make people feel a part of what they had helped to build even after they retired,” said Richard Cooper, former President of Cooper Electric and dear friend for 50 years.
McKiernan was dedicated to his wonderful, close-knit family and also found time to be an avid golfer. He is survived by his three children, Debbie Stevens of Downingtown, PA, Marcia Kennet and John E. McKiernan, both of Macungie, PA; his dear friend and companion, Patricia Panzarella; two brothers, Brian and Brad; two sisters, Judy Wilkens and Ruth Schroeder; nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.