Tom's Bio

Tom Warton

Glad to meet you.

Born to a family of artists − his mother a painter, his father a photographer − Tom has always had an appreciation of light. What started as a childhood interest in the magic of electricity and a childish habit of taking things apart – eventually led to a 25-year career reinventing lighting.

Tom began his career in the mid 80’s as an importer of mineral specimens from Brazil. (Don’t ask.) To better display his wares, he experimented with the earliest halogen lights, MR16s. Recognizing a business opportunity, Tom continued to tinker with halogen fixtures, selling them to friends and competitors alike.

By 1993, Tom was hooked on the industry, having been named Head of Sales for SF12V, a San Francisco based manufacturer. While there, he cut his teeth at every end of the commercial lighting supply chain and soon made a place for himself within the lighting community.

After a stint at Translite Systems, Tom founded Sonoma Lighting, which later merged with Translite to become Translite Sonoma. There he served as Director of Design for five years. The company was eventually acquired by Lightolier/Philips in 1999.

With the creation of Vode in 2005, Tom’s belief in the convergence of Design, Technology and Energy had come to fruition in the form of architecturally minded products that use the least amount of energy while achieving the highest quality performance.

Tom is the father of two young adult children, is a frequent backpacker and a passionate fan of live music. Tom has excellent hair.


“Vode was founded on a pledge to put architectural projects over selling products. That and a promise to treat people fairly. Once we figured out how to do those things, we worked on making a profit.”
– Tom Warton