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2014 30 Under 35 Profile: Chris Bailey

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Chris Bailey
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Director, Lighting Solutions Center, Hubbell Lighting

By Joe Nowlan

As director of the Lighting Solutions Center for Hubbell Lighting in Greenville, S.C., Chris Bailey often has one foot in the lighting technology world and one in lighting education.

“It is technology, training and sales.… I’m involved in so many things but I enjoy being busy,” said Bailey. “My responsibility is to provide information on industry trends and the technology in our products, specifically for the commercial and industrial marketplace. And identify energy efficient lighting and controls solutions utilizing our portfolio of products.”

Bailey has a background in computer science, which has served him well at Hubbell – considering the trend towards smart lighting systems and building automation.

“My goal within the LSC includes providing product and technology education to several thousand internal and external customers, both in our training facility and at outside events,” he explained. “I also spend a great deal of time working with our larger customers, our national account customers.”

Bailey entered the electrical industry after meeting David Cash, who at the time was the principal owner of a lighting agency in Knoxville, Tenn.

“Coming out of school, with a computer science skillset, it (lighting and lighting control systems) kind of made sense.… [I knew how to] design a computer system and software, make them all work and do the jobs they are supposed to accomplish,” Bailey explained. “He made me an offer and I jumped on to the lighting bandwagon [in 2002].”

From there, in 2004, Bailey moved on to Beacon Products, an LED-centric architectural outdoor lighting company where he eventually became vice president of sales. In retrospect it was an exciting time in the electrical and lighting industry.

“This was when lighting controls were starting to accelerate [in popularity],” Bailey explained “Lighting controls had been in the marketplace for a long time. But I think that at this point we started to see a dramatic acceleration in the adoption of lighting controls.”

When Hubbell acquired Beacon in 2008, Bailey’s experience with LED product development and technology aided him in transitioning into his role as Hubbell Lighting’s Solid-State Lighting Technology Strategist where he focused on new core technology developments which have led to new product solutions.

While Bailey has learned from and benefitted from each of his employers in his career, he has a special gratitude and respect for David Cash.

“David Cash … is a very caring and unique man. He pours his heart and soul into his employees,” Bailey said. “If it wasn’t for him, to be honest with you, I would not be here today. I attribute a lot of the success that I have directly back to his investment of time in me.”

Bailey and his wife, Renee, have three sons: Branson, nine; Anderson, six; and Emerson, four. When his oldest son became a Cub Scout, Bailey also became involved.

“I lead a group of about 14 fourth grade boys. It is a labor of love. It can be a lot of work, especially when they are six years old or so,” he laughed. “The whole Cub Scout world is a real family experience. We go camping, hiking, fishing – all those things. In most cases involves the whole family.”

Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?

A. Get ready….  In order for the young people coming into the industry today to make an impact, they are going to have to suit up and get into the game. There are no more spectators. Everyone is a participant. And that is how you are judged—based on how well you participate, what value you add. Any individual coming into the industry, looking for a nice, smooth steady thing without challenges—you are looking in the wrong place…. So I think they need to get ready to learn. Get ready to invest themselves into our industry.

Q. What has changed the most in the industry in the last five years?

A. It is a lot more exciting, to be honest with you. With the advancements in solid-state lighting, building automation, energy codes and our growing knowledge of light and the impact on human health, there is a lot more going on and I think that the level of excitement is absolutely visible everywhere. I think to some degree there was some type of complacency before. I think a lot of people got comfortable in their respective roles and with their respective technologies. I think people are [now] shaken up in all the right ways. That is not a negative thing at all. It is exciting. It is a matter of necessity to change and have the freedom to move and to innovate.… It is something you are required to do and I think that drives all of us to work harder and to be more creative.

Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at jcnowlan@msn.com.

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