Chief Everything Officer: Rob Rutherford '01

 Co-founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based Hive Lighting, Rob Rutherford ’01, prefers the title Chief Everything Officer. 

“Being founder and CEO means that instead of reporting to a single person, you have to report to everyone from investors and board members, to customers and the IRS,” he said. “At the end of the day, you are responsible for making the company work.” 

As providers of energy-efficient plasma lights for the entertainment industry, Rob and his partner, Brown University pal, Jonathan Miller, are paving a green path through Hollywood as the leading experts and providers of cutting-edge lighting technologies that use up to 90 percent less energy than conventional studio lights. 

Although it has been said that Hollywood has embraced green initiatives, that is not always the case when it comes to lighting. But Hive’s impact on the entertainment industry is as clear as daylight. In addition to earning industry awards, including Cinegear Expo’s “Best New Lighting Technology” in 2012, Rob and his partners have built a brand and filled a niche by providing plasma light technology for more than 1,000 productions for film, television, and live events including The MentalistThe Good WifeTrue BloodCSIParenthood, and the Sundance Film Festival.

For those not familiar with plasma lights, here is the scoop: they are energy-efficient, last 30 times longer and have better color quality than conventional production lighting. As a result, using plasma lighting eliminates the noisy trucks and generators that are the staple of production sets. Production and lighting buffs rejoice that plasma lights do not flicker and cover the full color spectrum, compared to conventional bulbs, which are limited. Bottom line, plasma lights are the closest things to natural sunlight you can get. Explained Rob, “Hive is essentially offering more light for less money and energy.”

Rob’s love of film took root in his teens, when during summers and throughout high school, he worked at Ketchum’s Magic Lantern Cinema. After graduating from Brown in 2005, he attended the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, where he found his calling.

“I had such a good time at Sundance, I just kept driving. I drove down to LA to get a job in the film industry,” he explained. “I started in the mailroom of Anonymous Content, became an agent assistant at Endeavor Talent Agency, and then chief of staff at film finance company Media Rights Capital.” 

He left MRC, where he met his wife Rachel, in 2009 to help out his parents’ Bay Area-based energy-efficient lighting company, GGI, which he also helped co-found. While there, he cut his teeth learning how to get a start-up going all the while becoming an expert in lighting technologies. It was at a 2011 trade show that he was introduced to plasma lighting and all its benefits. He reached out to Miller, who at the time was in the film production business, and Hive was born. Rob says his ability to take a risk stems from his time at Community School. 

“By giving me a supportive environment where I could take risks,” he said, “the seeds of my career as an entrepreneur were planted.” Let the light shine on.