Nick Burchell

Since 1982, Ruud Lighting has been recognized for its integrity and quality products, so it's no surprise that in the early 2000s, Alan Ruud identified solid-state lighting (SSL) as an emerging technology to be reckoned with. The migration of the company's business to LED luminaires for the outdoor lighting market was the perfect way to groom his son Christopher to take the mantle. The junior Ruud has been instrumental in building the company's LED business—BetaLED—and in 2009 took the helm as president of Ruud Lighting. Now with its fourth generation of market-ready LED luminaires, Ruud is ahead of the pack, poised to continue to innovate.

What fascinates you about lighting?
Traveling, and meeting so many people with a passion for lighting.

What do you consider innovative in lighting?
LEDs, particularly the white LED, is the greatest innovation in lighting in close to 100 years, and factoring in controls will make LED technology that next best lighting source.

What makes a great piece of lighting equipment?
What the fixture looks like is only part of the story, it's really about the equipment that creates or completes the design intent.

Why has outdoor lighting transitioned to LEDs so easily?
LEDs run more effectively when they're cool. The average U.S. outdoor nighttime temperature is 55 F. It's the perfect environment.

What are a manufacturer's responsibilities with SSL products?
The fixture manufacturer is now responsible for the efficaciousness of the light source by monitoring how cool he or she is able to run the LEDs. This is a control that fixture manufacturers never had before.

Is SSL helping to cushion what's happening in the economy?
It's a larger question: How does the industry, as a whole, transition from traditional light sources to LED? Some companies say LEDs are not ready yet. Other companies, like us, are both feet in. We want to be a big part of the industry's future—out in front and helping to lead it.