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Cooper’s IES Presentation Highlights Constants Through Transition

Senior Lighting Designer Marge Cooper shared her take on the theme of “Transitions” in a PechaKucha-style presentation at the monthly section meeting of the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) Milwaukee on February 15.

During her 20-slide, 20-second-per-slide presentation, Cooper recounted her career transitions and many of the technological advances in lighting and its design during her tenure.

Since Cooper entered the field in 1992, industry and design advances have moved from fluorescent to LED, from wall box manual controls to digital controls and from paper and pencil to digital. She noted that while advancing technology in design tools offers many advantages for moving design forward quickly, she values traditional design processes that ultimately result in the best results for clients.

“Email doesn’t replace the collaborative design that occurs during in-person meetings,” she said. “Design tools don’t replace design ideas.”

These values have meant steady transition in Cooper’s career, which began after being a stay-home mother in her 20s and 30s. She then earned her degree in architecture and began working  in a project support role. Seven years later she joined Ring & DuChateau, where she  has spent the past 19 years advancing to leading lighting design teams.

“Twenty six years later, I’m transitioning once again, this time to a project support and advisory role,” Cooper explained about her gradual move toward retirement. Until then though, Cooper will continue to value the tools of design that she’s carried with her through technology and career transitions, particularly her revere for what she calls her friend, the pencil.

“I still draw faster with a pencil and paper and do my best thinking with a pencil in my hand,” Cooper said in her presentation. “I hope the skills of writing and drawing by hand will remain a valued part of design.”

Senior Lighting Designer Marge Cooper presents at IES Milwaukee, and celebrates after with fellow Ring & DuChateau staff in attendance (inset).