People Behind Our Solutions: Ron Schimmelpfenning

March 16, 2022 Jade Axman

Ron Schimmelpfenning, Vice President, Design Engineering, has been in the custom lighting business for 35 years as a mechanical and electrical engineer. From a very young age, Ron was interested in building and creating. With his dad, he would go into their shop and construct all manner of things, and with his mom, he would do art projects. It helped him build both sides of his brain, allowing him better to understand the lighting industry's functional and aesthetic aspects. 


While Ron's degree is in mechanical engineering, he is also deeply knowledgeable in art, which allows him to work with specifiers, architects, and engineers to execute structurally sound, design-forward products and understand how they will best install in spaces. Over the years, Ron has found that the industry is full of specialists, and it is challenging to help them understand projects holistically. He helps associates and his mentees overcome this difficulty by cross-training them in industrial and mechanical engineering concepts and aesthetics. For the most part, engineers are very black and white in their thinking, and playing in the gray area is uncomfortable, so he helps them understand the process in its entirety. 


Ron has worked on many significant projects during his tenure at Acuity Brands, including lighting that he and his team developed for the 9/11 Memorial pools and UV lighting incorporating the brand new Care222® technology deployed during the pandemic. 


The Care222® UV lighting project was already underway before the global pandemic. Ron and his team were working to create solutions for healthcare applications that would be broadly beneficial. So, they started talking to Columbia University and the Japan-based company Ushio, Inc. about using its 222nm far UVC technology to create an ambient lighting product that could inactivate viruses and bacteria on surfaces and in the air. Care222® technology doesn't penetrate the eye beyond the tear layer. In addition, it does not penetrate the living tissue in the skin, so the technology can be used in an occupied space when installed and used following safety guidelines. 


The team worked for almost a year to create a solution with nearly endless applications. Because it's appropriate in spaces where people work and live, the Care222® technology can be used in medical buildings, university campuses, train stations, airports, hotels, office buildings, and other shared spaces 


Care222® is a flagship product for Acuity and is undergoing constant research for the next development phase. Ron is quick to point out that his contributions are only a part of the overall project and that it truly takes "a village" to make the magic happen. 


Ron's unique vision and creativity are recognized by his dynamic team and all the talented contractors, designers, architects, agents, and companies he collaborates with globally. Care222® is just one of Ron's many innovations. And with no plans to slow down, we are excited to see how he contributes to Acuity's mission to use technology to solve problems in spaces, light, and more things to come. 

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