IESNYC Member of the Month: Enrique Garcia Carrera

Congratulations to FMS Associate Principal Enrique Garcia Carrera,
our latest designer to be featured
as the IES New York Section Member of the Month!

Q: How did you first get started in the lighting industry?
I grew up in Mexico, and the way it worked back then was you have to declare a major when you apply to college. I kept changing my mind: one day it was architecture, then it was medicine, then graphic design… When the day came to submit my application, I was feeling industrial design. I was inclined to both the arts and technical – industrial design seemed to fit those interests. However, when I graduated in the eighties, there was not a lot of opportunity in industrial design. Mexico was more of a closed economy back then. There were a lot more opportunities abroad.

During my studies, I had done some work that got me interested in lighting. I designed some luminaires and researched different light sources. I also did some exhibit and stage design studies that involved lighting. In order to graduate, I had to provide social service hours at a nonprofit. I picked a museum that had me setting up lighting for an exhibit. It all intrigued me.

Some pre-internet research led me to Parsons, and when I was visiting New York I interviewed there. I was accepted and moved to New York to start my master’s in 1990. I’ve been here ever since.

In a stroke of luck, I had a connection from a neighbor in Mexico City who was an architect. He introduced me to Charles Stone. I was still very fuzzy on what a lighting designer was, and I certainly didn’t know how prestigious Fisher Marantz was. I began working at what is now Fisher Marantz Stone part time while going to school, and went full time after 6 months. I’ve been there ever since.

Q: How did you first get involved in the IESNYC?
Very shortly after I started working, my colleagues told me, You’re a lighting designer now, so you should join IES. They all took advantage of the various conferences, courses, and events. So I went ahead and joined.

I attended and got a lot out of IESNYC events and lectures, and the monthly magazine. I’ve met good people outside my office that share my interests and passion for lighting. Now it’s a venue for me to give back to the lighting community. My job is demanding, but any time I get a call to speak at an event or talk about a project, I try to show up.

Q: How do you see your role as a member of the IESNYC?
I am glad to be able to contribute my time and experience to seminars, leading tours of lighting installations, or volunteering as a judge for the Lumen Awards and the IES Illumination Awards. When I’m attending an event, I’m learning; and when I’m a speaker, I’m imparting knowledge. Being a judge is a little bit of both.

As a Lumen Awards judge, I’m helping ensure that important work is getting the recognition it deserves. But the back and forth with the other jury members gives valuable insights. Sometimes a point of view on what’s important is different from what I and my firm are focusing on. Certain aesthetic and technical elements are more important to others, and you get to hear them clearly advocate for them. (It also helps you see how you can tailor your award entries to meet multiple priorities).

Q: In your opinion, what are the best assets of the IESNYC?
New York City is the epicenter of the lighting design profession, and IESNYC takes its responsibility to the professionals in the areas very seriously. Because it’s such a large chapter, at the center of design and innovation, IESNYC is a leader in the broader global industry. Local professionals have an important voice in codes, best practices, etc. And as we move toward more and more ambitious and complex codes, it’s important to advocate for quality lighting being correctly applied.