Product director LED & emergency drivers,
By Joe Nowlan
As many children do, Alvaro Garcia liked to take things apart when he was a kid.
“I was always curious about how things worked. In taking something apart you get a general understanding,” Alvaro explained. “But once you get into more detail about what’s really going on, it makes things a lot more exciting.”
That curiosity has helped him in his career in the electrical industry, which finds him at Fulham where he is the product director, LED and emergency drivers. Fulham was his first employer after completing electronic engineering studies at ITT Technical Institute.
“I got it through school, from its job placement [program],” Garcia explained. “So as soon as I graduated, it was pretty much my first job out of college.”
His started as a test technician. He found himself taking to the work and the daily challenges. He was soon promoted and was assigned to do more lighting design.
“When I went from test technician to designing, going from a lower level engineering position to one where I was actually designing and creating stuff – That was when I felt that this could be something for me,” Garcia explained.
As product director, LED and emergency drivers, he works with emergency lighting technology.
“Really, our goal is to keep the lights on when the power goes out so you get out of the building,” Garcia said. “[In an emergency] you want to be able to get out and we provide the illumination for that.”
Occasionally Garcia will have to make an emergency call himself, depending on the nature of the situation.
“A lot of our engineering is done in Asia. So I have to be on a lot of conference calls at night,” Garcia said. “On the customer side, if during installation something is not working the way it is supposed to, I’m then responsible. If it is something customer service cannot handle…I would jump in and figure out the root cause of the problem.”
Garcia has also traveled to China several times on related business. As a result he took the time to learn Mandarin.
“It was a lot harder than I thought,” he laughed. “I’ve been two years studying it and I’m able to comprehend what’s going on and communicate simply. But it is something that if you don’t use it, you forget it. Now when I go I can understand in general the topics of conversations and I can also say a few key phrases. But it was really difficult. I admire the people who are able to pick it up as a second language.”
Garcia plans to marry his fiancée, Nastassia, in April 2016. Among his hobbies are running marathons and even the occasional ironman triathlon.
Sometimes when he’s training and running, lighting and work-related ideas come to him.
“[Running] is a good way to kind of relieve stress and challenge your mind and body in a different way than how you challenge yourself at work,” he said. “It is almost like meditating. You have a much purer mind when you’re done running.”
Q. What advice would you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. I think the most important thing is to follow your passion. If you come into the electrical industry, you should have some kind of passion for it. And just follow it. Focus on what makes you happy. Ultimately, that will drive a successful career. I’ve been able to grow and follow my passion here in creating stuff. We’re designing and manufacturing, bringing stuff to light. And if somebody is starting in the electrical industry, then they already have some interest in it and some passion there. Just keep feeling that and it will drive their success.
Q. What do you think is the biggest opportunity within the electrical industry?
A. I think it’s going to be interoperability. You have the Internet of Things. I think as technology progresses you’re going to see the electrical industry go from having HVAC systems communicate with lighting systems and then go to the security alarm system. Everything will be interoperating at one time as a control system. I think as the years progress, that is the way that the industry is going to be heading. So somebody who goes from installing just lighting will be able to not just install lights but also install a feature-rich system that gives the user the ability to dim the lights on their cell phone [for example].
Joe Nowlan is a Boston-based freelance writer/editor and author. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Tagged with tED