Jan 27, 2020
By Blake Marchand
Sean Bernard is the Intelligent Controls Manager, Canada for Ideal Industries. Sean resides in Whitby with his wife, Melissa and their daughter, Everleigh.
Sean joined Ideal Industries mid-2019 after 13-years in lighting, working for companies like Phillips, Franklin Empire, and Standard Products. Throughout that time, he made his way from inside sales, to outside sales and up into management.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of this industry for 13-years, having worked on both the manufacturing and distribution ends of the business,” he said, adding, “The biggest reason that I’ve enjoyed my time in the industry so far is the fact that no two days are the same. The rate of change in the industry is exciting and certainly keeps you engaged from day to day.”
Recently, the Electro Federation Canada (EFC) announced a new leadership group for its Young Professionals Network (YPN), electing a new national chair and regional chairs for the Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic regions.
After two years (2017-2019) as the Ontario Region Chair, Sean will take over the National Chair position from Kim Quelch of Eglo Canada. Joanna Kwant of Gerrie Electric was named as the Ontario Region Chair, Jean-Francois Gravel from Leviton Canada was named Quebec Region Chair, and Nick Foster also from Leviton Canada was named Atlantic Region Chair.
“As the YPN took shape,” said Sean of his decision to run for National Chair, “I could see the impact that we were having. I learned so much from past chairs that I wanted to do my part to ensure that we continued their vision.”
Sean is passionate about his industry, which is evident in his commitment to the YPN as well as his enthusiasm for the industry in general. In the interview below Sean discusses his current role, his involvement with the YPN and his thoughts on relevant technologies and trends in lighting.
Can you tell me a bit about your current role – what interests you, what challenges you?
Currently, I am proudly serving as Intelligent Controls Manager – Canada for Ideal Industries (Canada) Corp. This is a role that was created recently to bring together the lighting controls offering of Ideal Industries (Audacy Wireless Controls and the offerings of Cree Lighting Canada, acquired in March of 2019) under a cohesive market approach.
The lighting controls market is undergoing a huge shift due to technology advancements and the wants/needs of the end user. The challenge of meeting these requirements has been rewarding as we continue achieve new solutions.
When did you first get involved with the YPN? Why did you get involved and what has your experience been like so far?
I was asked to join the Ontario Region committee at the YPN’s inception 5 years ago. It was an easy decision to participate as I firmly believe in being an active member of the industry as a whole. I am very proud of our accomplishments and the level of engagement that we’ve seen from the YPN’s. The group as a whole has really bought in to the value of networking and sharing ideas as we embark in the early stages of our careers.
What is the benefit of these types of programs, to individuals and the industry in general?
Anyone coming into a new industry or just starting their career is looking for like minded people that they can share ideas with and learn from each other. The YPN has provided that platform for a great number of people from all segments of the industry. We are now closing in on 600 members across the country and will hopefully be adding a new provincial chapter early on in 2020.
What’s interesting to you right now in the industry/what are you focusing on with respect to trends and new products etc?
My background has been predominantly in lighting and I don’t believe any segment of the industry has seen a bigger shift in the last 10 years. The commoditization of LED felt like it happened overnight and the continued advancements in the technology changes things from one day to the next.
Along with the LED revolution came the requirement for lighting controls to advance technology approaches. Some of the requests from end users that we are being approached with today from a controls perspective seemed far fetched just a few years ago, but with all of the R&D that has gone into these systems we are now able to turn these requests into reality.
Where are intelligent lighting controls at right now and where do you see it going?
Lighting controls are certainly in the mainstream conversation for any retrofit or new construction project today. The strides in technology that have been achieved and what is currently being developed are making the capabilities of these systems far more important to end users.
The biggest trend and impact on the market will be systems focused on human centric lighting controls (dimming and white light tuning). There is also a big push on continuing advancements in the home automation segment.
Blake Marchand is an Associate Editor with Kerrwil Electrical Group