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Lighting Expert Promoted to Senior Lighting Studio Manager
Lighting Expert Promoted to Senior Lighting Studio Manager

Primera Engineers is proud to announce that Deborah Steimel-Clair, PE, LC has been promoted to Senior Lighting Studio Manager. Deborah will continue to serve as Primera’s in-house ­­­lighting expert, providing technical and aesthetic design expertise while simultaneously leading and managing the growing lighting team serving both our Buildings and Transportation divisions. Clients can count on Deborah to ensure innovation, collaboration, and quality throughout the design process on diverse projects in the Chicagoland area and across the Country.

Primera’s Lighting Studio was initiated in 2014 to provide clients with intentional lighting design expertise while expanding our stake in the lighting market. Deborah and her team offer lighting controls design and custom lighting that thoughtfully considers various approaches and technologies. Deborah sees lighting design as an avenue to positively impact people’s daily lives, “Whether it’s improving schools, providing direction with wayfinding, reducing energy usage, or creating healthy lighting environments, I love working on projects that treat lighting as part of the whole aesthetic and not just an afterthought,” she explains. Under Deborah’s direction, the Studio has earned three Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) awards as well as an American Architecture Award, and they’re just getting started.

Engineering to make the built environment a more beautiful one while preserving the natural environment has long been a driving force in Deborah’s work. She earned both a Bachelor’s and Master of Science in architectural engineering from Kansas State University and is Lighting Certified by the National Council on Qualifications for Lighting Professionals. She brings nearly 20 years of experience—in everything from design and engineering to project management, system studies, and construction administration—to the table. Her robust skillset harnesses lighting and power knowledge to inform real-world applications.

“At Primera, I’ve been able to continuously grow, and have been afforded opportunities to work on so many different projects.  You don’t get to do that everywhere,” said Deborah. “I’ve been able to work on code reviews for local municipalities, GUV lighting, and solar pathway design. We’ve worked on designs for schools, colleges, and libraries, hospitals and police stations, and are now expanding to the airport sector…it’s a diverse and wide variety of work. It keeps me on my toes and moving forward.”

Through the seeking and sharing of knowledge, Deborah is consistently propelling her career forward and inspiring others to do the same. In the past 16 years, she has been invited to speak at more than 30 national and international summits and conferences as well as guest lecture spots at top universities. She was also named one of the “40 under 40” by Building Design+Construction and Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazines.

“Deborah works tirelessly to literally, uniquely illuminate our projects,” said Ken Panucci, Senior Vice President and Buildings Division Manager. “A great example is our Crerar Science Quadrangle project at the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus. Deborah offered up such an elegant, integrated solution.”

Lighting isn’t just her business but her pleasure as well. She’s been able to turn her interests into an opportunity to give back, donating her time and knowledge as a theatrical lighting designer for local theater groups.

“I’m excited about the growth of the Studio. Not only have we doubled our team, but we’ve expanded the type and sizes of projects we work on too. I’m looking forward to tackling more complex and intricate projects,” said Deborah. “As a lighting enthusiast, and dare I say, expert, I really do try to shed light on the world and save some energy while I’m at it.”

Founded in 1987, Primera is a full-service, certified woman-owned (WBE) engineering design and consulting firm offering a wide range of professional services with a focus in three major areas of expertise: Buildings, Transportation, and Utilities. Primera’s core service offerings include a wide range of professional services in the disciplines of mechanical, electrical, plumbing (M/E/P), structural, civil, and telecommunications engineering, as well as commissioning, energy, architecture, sustainability, life safety, lighting, transportation, natural gas, power delivery, project and construction management, and business consulting services.

Lighting Expert Promoted to Senior Lighting Studio Manager

In the past 16 years, Deborah (pictured above) has been invited to speak at more than 30 national and international summits and conferences as well as guest lecture spots at top universities.