Owner Profile: Lisa Passamonte Green

Name: Lisa Passamonte Green

Job Title: Founder, Principal in Charge & CEO

Years Worked at VT: 25 years!

Favorite Project & Why: The 2010 White House Halloween event we did with Bezark was one of my favorites. It was amazing to be in the White House, surrounded by so many years of history.

Your Most Memorable Memory at Visual Terrain: The White House event was pretty memorable, but I’ll never forget the week Mike and I spent in Oklahoma, programming the lighting for the Choctaw Casino. The first night there, when we turned the lights on, we could hear cars braking on the highway behind us! Some nights, people parked behind us, watching us program! Then, the third night, it snowed and we had to program the lighting from inside a rental car. We would turn the car on, use the windshield wipers to clean the snow off, turn the car off, and look at the cue while the snow piled back up. It was a long week of programming!

Favorite Aspect of Lighting Design: The ability to evoke an emotional or visceral response. The effect our lighting can have on anyone who views it, and knowing that our lighting can move people is what is exciting to me.

What/Who Inspires You: Mother Nature and the VTI team inspire me. I’m also a huge fan of Joaquín Sorolla the Spanish artist. When I was first starting out in lighting, I went to the only U.S. tour of his work. His paintings really are filled with beautiful moments of light and people within light, and his work is amazing. 

Fun Fact About Yourself that No One Knows: I was the tallest person in my 7th grade class! I never grew another inch taller. I also won a presidential physical fitness award in 5th grade!

What Do You Think the Next 25 Years of Visual Terrain Will Look Like? 25 years from now, I will be 80. So, I think it’s going to change. It’s about creating a succession plan to ensure the company will exist without me. It gives us time to work on our plan. I would like us to continue to revolutionize the way lighting is done and how it is seen and experienced by our clients. I would like Visual Terrain to have a life after me!

What Do You Think Makes VTI Designers Unique? We are unafraid. We all embrace the idea that if it has never been done before, we’re excited about doing it. We are all interested in using light to tell the story of each project. The idea that we work as a team makes us unique. We really do work together as an overall team. 

Where Did You Develop the “Lighting Design as a Team Sport” Mentality? I think for me, it really was born out of the desire to revolutionize what your life at a lighting design firm could be. For me, my journey has been to find people who realize they can express themselves as individual designers within a team effort. Collaboration is key and it really makes us stronger personally and professionally. I wanted to create an environment where you can have a life, create the art, and support other people. Sometimes you have to really trust your coworkers: Everyone is working for the common good and the best design possible.

What is the Secret Sauce of a Passionate Lighting Designer? I tend to gravitate towards people who are intuitive designers: I don’t have to explain to them that a person shouldn’t feel unsafe at the ATM. There are other designers who are more technically skilled, but don’t always have the intuitiveness to be able to create the right lighting design. Everyone comes at lighting design from different perspectives, but we have to understand the whole scope of the project – cost, maintenance, training for maintenance teams, and so much more – to create a successful lighting design!

What is Your Favorite Part About Being a Lighting Designer? It’s seeing people on opening day, when they experience the lighting for the first time.