John Pederson - Apollo, 1977
Posted by Communications Department on 4/8/2016
John Pederson is an entrepreneur, inventor and graduate of Apollo High School, class of 1977.
“Most people in the world see my inventions every day,” says Pederson.
Those everyday inventions are in the form of police lights, security lights and architectural lighting.
Pederson is the current CEO and Chairman of the Board for LVX Systems, which produces a smart, innovative light-emitting diode (LED) technology. His company is currently collaborating with NASA using his light technology, which could be used for future space travel. LVX has the patent on visible light communications, in essence, secure and energy-efficient internet and communications through light.
Pederson’s vision is taking light to the next level.
“Lights will do so many things, [in the future] you won’t be able to remember that at one time light was just light,” he says.
“I’ve always been self-driven,” states Pederson. “My advice: follow what you like doing. You’ll always do better. I loved school. I love to learn.”
Looking back at his years in St. Cloud schools, he can name every teacher he’s ever had in District 742, starting from kindergarten. He feels they were all great teachers. He has no bad memories and is quick to point out that fact is one of the highest compliments he can give.
However, one pivotal memory in high school does stand out.
“I was walking out of the library [of Apollo] and I heard some guys laughing,” explains Pederson. “It sounded like men laughing to me, not boys. That’s when it hit me. We weren’t boys anymore.”
Pederson loves staying connected to Apollo and St. Cloud. His kids are Apollo graduates as well. Two years ago, Pederson used his NASA connections to bring several astronauts to Apollo. An open public forum was held for students and community members to hear about the astronauts’ experiences, to sign autographs and to answer questions. Pederson was also able to demonstrate his LED technology by giving tours of the Superintendent’s office where the technology is installed.
Pederson currently lives in Florida where he has an office at NASA.
He says, “It’s a blast working with people there.”
He imagines he’ll be doing the same thing in five to ten years from now. He explains that a project could take ten years to develop. And that’s what he loves most, seeing the project from beginning to end.
In his downtime, he enjoys swimming with dolphins and beluga whales.
However, he misses St. Cloud, stating he is a self-proclaimed “cold weather guy.” He truly loves Minnesota.
Pederson advises, “To me, the day is successful if you like the day. I love education and that’s what it’s about . . . Enjoy the time you have. There is an old saying, ‘If it works, do more. If it doesn’t work, don’t do it.’”
He often reminds his team, “The only thing worse than being copied, is not being copied.”