The 40-year lighting industry veteran joined Lutron in 1973 as assistant to the President; he was promoted to Vice President in 1974 and to his current position in 1990. He now also serves as a director of Lutron’s overseas companies.
McKiernan has served as Chairman and executive committee member of the Electrification Council; executive committee member of the Board of the National Lighting Bureau; member of the Governor of Pennsylvania’s International Task Force Committee; and Chairman, executive committee member and Board of Governors member of the ALA. He is a lifelong member of the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers.
McKiernan has received the Manufacturer of the Year Award from the National Electrical Manufacturers Representative Assn. as well as the Pillar of the Industry Award from the ALA.
Here, he speaks to Residential Lighting about his career and the changing marketplace.
Residential Lighting: What are the most important issues in the industry today?
John McKiernan: You’ve got a couple of things happening right now that I find interesting. One is LED; two is the emphasis on energy management; and three is putting all of the reps, manufacturers and distributors under one flag rather than having them operate as three separate entities. I thought in unity there was strength.
RL: Are there topics that need to be better discussed in the industry?
JM: I think in its own way, the industry seems to be moving in the direction of discussing the topics that need to be discussed. You’ve got a bunch of people there that have different interests — promoting the industry is first, of course, but also introducing products to consumers — and it seems to be moving along nicely. I have a thought about not screwing with working machinery and I think it’s been working very nicely.
RL: How have things changed since you started and are there any changes that should take place in the future?
JM: Number one, there are needs that develop over time and I’ve been geared toward taking care of those needs rather than promoting needs that might be good for, say, our business. You’ve got 50 states and a U.S. government and trying to keep everyone on the same page is a very important thing.
RL: Do you have any advice for showrooms in this technologically advancing time?
JM: I think they’re heading along in the right direction. They’re accepting the training, which is very important. They’re promoting the new products, offering them for sale and servicing them. So, from my point of view, everything seems to be working and I think a lot of that can be attributed to Dick Upton.