Pratt Institute’s Board of Trustees has named Dr. Susan Hakkarainen as its newest member. Hakkarainen’s appointment was effective in October 2009.
Hakkarainen is a lighting industry expert whose career includes creating and leading international lighting manufacturers as well as developing products both in the U.S. and abroad. A scientist by training, Hakkarainen earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Cornell University, where she serves on the advisory council of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She also received a doctorate in nuclear engineering in 1989 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Hakkarainen is currently vice president, architectural marketing and sales, of Lutron Electronics, where she has also served as vice president of international marketing and general manager of the commercial systems group. Earlier in her career at Lutron, a company founded by her family to produce electronic dimmers, she established the firm’s Japan division and, as general manager for the Asian region, was instrumental in expanding Lutron’s business in the Pacific. During that time, she also laid the groundwork for Lutron’s international operations. In addition to building and overseeing Lutron’s growth, from 2000 to 2007 she served as president of Ivalo Lighting, a company she founded to produce luxury decorative lighting fixtures for both residential and commercial clients.
Hakkarainen is known as a patron and promoter of design and encourages designers and architects to consider the problem to be solved, in addition to the form and aesthetics, by creating an architectural element that is also a luminaire. Reflecting her prominence in the field, she served as a juror for the 2007 GOOD DESIGN Awards. Organized by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and established in 1950, the GOOD DESIGN Awards recognize international designers and manufacturers for advancing new and innovative product concepts and for pushing the boundaries beyond what is considered standard product and consumer design. Hakkarainen lives in Doylestown, Penn.