She has one of the most famous last names in lighting—Price. When you meet Emma Price, however, what strikes you is her humility, especially when she speaks about her father, the late lighting great Edison Price (1918–97). There was never any pressure for her to join the family business, New York–based Edison Price Lighting; that came about naturally. An economics major in college, in 1989 she became company president, and has used her business acumen to run the enterprise that her father started in 1952. Fixture integrity and lighting quality have been company hallmarks no matter the latest technology. Commitment to personnel has been a signature of the company as well, as many who have worked for Edison, such as executive vice presidents Rick Shaver and Joel Siegel, have stayed while Emma charts its future growth.
What fascinates you about light?
It’s a combination of art and science, logic and emotion. You’re creating atmosphere.
Do you have a lighting philosophy?
My father always thought lighting fixtures should be unobtrusive, and we’ve continued that. It’s important to have simplicity in a fixture.
What makes a great luminaire?
Control of light. Also, there has to be room for customization. When you are designing a luminaire, you really need to think about options.
What represents “innovation” in lighting?
I’m not an innovator or inventor the way my father was. Innovation has to come from creative people; I hire people with a creative lighting bent.
What traditions are important for the company to maintain?
Integrity. It’s important that our customers know that we’re honest, that we do what we say we’ll do, that we don’t cheapen our fixtures.
Where do you see the industry heading?
Things will continue to become less expensive, while the technology will get better and better.
What would your father have thought about LEDs?
He loved music and preferred LPs to CDs because he thought they had a richer sound. He would have though the same about lighting: It’s whether the light is more satisfying to the human soul than previous lighting. He would have cared about the quality of light. •
“It’s an exciting time to be in lighting because of new technology, and because over the past hundred years there’s been a lot of human knowledge developed about how to light spaces.” -- Emma Price, president of Long Island City, N.Y.–based Edison Price Lighting