Meet The Team: Cliff Cobelli

This month’s Meet the Team Q&A is with our Lead Controls Specialist, Cliff Cobelli. Also known as the nicest guy in the office, Cliff designs Wiring diagram and details for Title 24 compliant lighting control systems. When he’s not busy in the office, he’s working on getting his motorcycle license. But there is currently a debate in the office… can he be the nicest guy in the office wearing leather and burning rubber on his hog? Only time will tell. In the meantime, let’s get to know this rebel and valuable member of our team.

Q:  What is your background? How did you get started in the industry?

CC: I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and right after college I started working in Acuity Brand’s factory in my home state of Connecticut. At the time, I just wanted a job to get me out of my parent’s house…but it became much more than that. I learned a lot and fell in love with the industry. I ended up staying there for three years before I started looking for a change. I was familiar with SDLA because of the close relationship with Acuity, so I reached out to Danny about a job. After a couple of failed outreach attempts, he responded and we met at LFI. He saw I was serious about moving across the country, and here I am two years later.

 Q: What do you like best about working at SDLA?

 CC: I love that culturally it’s like a big family.  As someone who has no family in the area it’s refreshing to work somewhere everyone genuinely cares about each other. Everyone gets together and we have a ton of fun…just last week we had a potluck. From a work standpoint, I love solving problems and seeing projects come full-circle. At my last job, I wasn’t able to go onsite very often because the projects I worked on were all over the country. Here, many of our customers and the buildings we work on are in the area, so I get to see our work come to life in person. I also love customer relations…it’s all very rewarding.

 Q:  What has been your most rewarding project?

 CC: I would have to say the UCSD building where we have been working on the Outpatient Pavilion new hospital research center. We started this project in 2015, shortly after I started. In a way, it has grown with me. I like that it’s a complex design, a lot of collaboration with the EC to great a best fit solution and was a unique experience since it did not have to comply with California T24.

Q: As 2018 approaches, is there anything work related you are looking forward too?

CC: I am really excited to see how the market changes with Acuity Brand’s new wireless system on the market. Being an engineer I’m a bit of a techie, so I just really want to see it in action and test it out to see all of its capabilities. Wireless is the hot new trend of the industry and it will create a lot more opportunities down the road.

Factory Tour Fun: A-Light

Last month the specification sales team had a ball on a tour to one of our awesome manufacturers’ factory. Not only does A-Light put on a great tour – they have affordable and customizable options with a lot of different components. The experience was memorable because it allowed us to spend a half-day ingraining ourselves into A-Light’s products and processes and really get a better sense of their story.

To start our journey, we took a bus up to beautiful Oceanside. Once at the factory we enjoyed a delicious breakfast in their training room. Sitting under multiple samples of their lights we learned more about the company and product line. We even got to check out awesome mock-ups of new products and their components. The hands-on experience really enhanced our understanding of what A-Light has to offer.

We especially enjoyed seeing the Absent product line in-person…pictures just don’t do it justice. It’s truly incredible how well it creates a beautiful throw of light without any glare. Next up, the factory tour! The factory is neat and we had the opportunity to see every stage of the manufacturing process…from welding the products to seeing how they get their quality packaging. We ended the visit with an excellent lunch…the perfect ending to a great morning.

Thank you to our friends at A-Light for having us!  Interested in checking out A-Light’s factory southern California factory? Be sure to contact them for a tour and check out their unique customization guidelines.

Illuminating The Ocean

In June 2016, we dove into the ocean head first. Not really, but we did dive into the renovation of the UCSD  2nd floor of the Eckart Building, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography on UCSD’s Campus. This project was released in November 2016 and was completed in April 2017. What a ride it was!

With high-quality lighting, aesthetic design and advanced LED technology in mind, we installed VTL fixtures with individual fixture controls in the office areas. In order to save energy, we integrated Acuity Brand’s nIO into the fixtures… allowing users to individually control fixtures and dim lights in them. To make things even better the utility can send a signal for auto demand response to shed power, which is awesome because the school will receive a rebate for the energy savings. 

Within the wood ceiling, we used recessed and pendant linears. For the finishing touch, we added a graphical wall pod with a touchscreen complete with the building’s logo where users can control the lights in the lobbies and halls.

Special thanks to all of those who worked to make this project a success including: the general contractor CW Driver, The Engineering Partners Inc., the Architect OBI, photographer Kevin Walsh, Dianna Rubalcava for Neal Electric and Brendan Kelliher from our controls team.