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Susan Hakkarainen is cochair and co-CEO of Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., the premier manufacturer of lighting, shade, and temperature controls for residential and commercial applications. Hakkarainen is also the founder and chief creative officer of Ivalo Lighting, Inc., a subsidiary of Lutron Electronics, which designs, manufactures and sells innovative lighting fixtures conceived as architectural elements.
Hakkarainen began her career as a researcher, working on the Hubble Space Telescope and then on fusion energy projects at the Naval Research Laboratory, and in Japan at Toshiba’s energy science and technology laboratory. Upon repatriating to the United States in 1990, she joined Lutron Electronics and started its Japan division.
At Lutron, Hakkarainen became the vice president of international marketing and general manager of the commercial systems and ballast division. In 2011, she was appointed to vice president of marketing and communications, guiding the development and implementation of all print, web, social, and digital materials, and developing her team to ensure clear, effective communications to all Lutron customers. In 2015, Hakkarainen was named company cochair alongside her mother and company cofounder, Ruth Rodale Spira. Hakkarainen shares the CEO role with Michael Pessina.
Hakkarainen is on the boards of the Wolfsonian–Florida International University Museum and Asia Society and is a trustee of the Eisenhower Fellowships. Hakkarainen has a Ph.D. in applied plasma physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from Cornell University.