David Beron is a professional engineer, holder of a MBA, and Vice President of RAB Design Lighting Inc., a Canadian manufacturer of lighting products with about 50 employees — men and women from six continents. David likes to explore opportunities in the context of a smaller company. “It allows us to go in the direction you want to without significant administrative or technical obstacles. In a small company, you have an idea and jump on it before the competition even hears about it.”
An excellent approach, since the company won the 2015 MCEE Award in the “Exterior Lighting” category for its DVAKS LED 14W energy efficient vapourproof fixture. It has an ingenious design that enables retrofitting an existing incandescent vapourproof utility fixture with its LED version in under 10 minutes.*
When I ask him how he came to be in the lighting industry, he replies, “I feel I was born into it. ” My father has been a part of the lighting industry for most of his career. In 2001, he bought RAB Design Lighting, a lighting manufacturer in the Canadian market for over 40 years. Then I joined the family business in 2008 to help develop the LED product portfolio. It was a big change from electronics.” However, his expertise proved an important asset for the company. David’s intimate knowledge of electronics allowed the company to develop and market lighting products just as LED technology arrived on the scene. “Product development is my area of expertise. It’s a discipline that is always the same: you observe, you develop a product, you test it and manufacture it.”
When RAB Design Lighting won the new product competition at MCEE 2005, did it change the way you look at success?
“You usually expected big companies to receive an award, so it was a real surprise. But we know the lighting business and market very well. As my father said it’s an honour to be recognized at such a prestigious show in our industry. In a fiercely competitive market that is saturated with hundreds of lighting companies, breaking through the clutter is a significant challenge. By listening to our customers and designing product features that truly matter to them, we believe the DVAKS LED Series has resonated with the market. Products have to be developed in harmony with customers and the needs of the marketplace. This prize gave us a boost in confidence. It’s always nice to be recognized.”
What has been the greatest achievement in your life so far?
“My family, this is the really important thing in my life. I don’t measure my success by the number of awards we win. Of course, you want to be successful in your professional life. My parents left South Africa in 1987. For them it was not possible to raise a family under Apartheid . They left everything, including their own families, because they wanted their children to have a better future.
“I was then 19 and the oldest of three boys, and I’m still the only one in the family business. My father worked for different companies when he arrived in Canada and bought RAB Design in 2001. He has always been in the electrical industry. But when I look at my two daughters, 8 and 10, I know they have a future in Canada, and I also know that a happy and healthy family is the greatest achievement in your life. I am very busy, I exercise a lot. It’s an important part of my life — Crossfit, sailing, cycling. But when I arrive home at night I leave my phone at the door. I want to be present and available to my family. I just disconnect from the connected world,” he said, recalling a recent canoe trip with his two daughters.”
What decisions do you find the most difficult to make?
“Decisions about the future. Trying to predict the future. It impacts product development, the channel we use to sell the products, the market. Even though I have more than 20 years of experience, I sometimes make a decision based on gut feel. ‘Let’s try it, run in that direction and then adjust it if we have to.’”
If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be?
“I think it is a tough one,” says David laughing. “I would like the whole industry to be more open to change. There is very little innovation in our industry. We are in the midst of an LED world. There are many products out there, but still knowledge is quite low about LED, which is derived from electronics. Some stability in the LED technology will be welcome, and stability should have happened sooner. Right now I feel that some decisions are being made without the knowledge to make them, and this has a large impact in the market. Given the state of our current knowledge, the industry is asking people to believe unrealistic things.”
Line Goyette is Managing Editor of LDS. @linegoyette
* The versatile DVAKS LED series fixture can be installed using a wide range of glass and guard accessories. It is the only fixture in the market where a low profile polycarbonate lens can be replaced with a globe and guard. Rated IP65, these fixtures have a precision die cast aluminum housing and can operate in temperatures ranging between -40̊C to +40̊C. This robust construction and wide range of options creates commercial opportunities in industrial and architectural applications such as entrances, stairwells, man-doors, outdoor walkways, tunnels and service areas among several other applications.