Rev Up Entrepreneurship by Powering Down

“I’ve always enjoyed pushing the state of how things get done.” That, in his own words, sums up the career of Vic Zaderej, lead technologist, solid-state lighting, Molex. Vic has been part of the Molex family since 2000 and is a great example of how the people at Molex are encouraged to combine their personal and professional passions at a company that values entrepreneurship and out-of-the-box thinking. For most of his life, Vic has been searching for answers to big issues. The good news is that he’s found some of those answers. 

One of Vic’s main passions is developing affordable ways to reduce energy consumption, and thanks to his creative mind and ability to get things done, he’s created new energy efficient lighting sources at Molex, devised ways to grow food using no external power, and built homes that dramatically reduce energy consumption—including his own. 

Vic channeled his passion for reducing energy consumption into building a high-efficiency home for his family in Oregon, Ill. Recalling an assignment he had at MIT that involved calculating the cost of building a house that uses 80% less energy than a typical home, Vic successfully built his home for just 10% more cost than a comparable custom-built home.

“I look at money as a natural resource,” said Vic. “There are lots of ways to reduce energy that are costly; my position is, how do you make it cost effective and maximize the value per dollar so that people can afford the real long-term cost of the building?”

Vic’s “passive” home relies on solar heating, high-efficiency insulation, airtight construction and a ventilation system that exchanges indoor and outdoor air. He and an architect friend design two or three high-efficiency homes each year in the Chicago area, and Vic frequently hosts guests and open houses at his home to spread the word that cost-effective, high-efficiency homes can be a reality. Just recently, a group of Molex summer interns toured Vic’s home.

But that’s not all. Vic is a leading designer of reduced energy lighting solutions, such as Transcend® solid-state lighting solutions offered by Molex. He helped develop the Transcend Versatile Lighting Module, which allows luminaire manufacturers to build a singular, low-voltage LED fixture. (To view a TEDx talk by Vic on the topic of “Empowerment through Light,” click here.)

Vic contributes his lighting expertise to Watts of Love, a Lombard, Ill.-based non-profit that donates solar-powered lighting systems to third-world countries. The group’s goal is to bring sustainable, portable lighting to regions where lighting is limited or nonexistent. Vic redesigned one of group’s lighting devices to make it smaller, lighter and more convenient to wear. The new, square “puck” has a solar panel on the back, a lithium-ion battery in the middle, and an LED on the front that produces 300 lumens, the equivalent of a 30-watt light bulb.  When tapped, the unit can produce three levels of light as well as a strobe function.  Manufacturing for the device is underway and should be in the hands of needed users by early 2017.

Molex is proud to have talented, creative people. Vic is a great example of the talent Molex looks for when it is hiring and the opportunities Molex employees have to make a difference. We provide talented people with an entrepreneurial environment, the opportunity to engage in developing sustainable solutions, and a truly innovative environment – it’s the foundation of Molex.