During the official ceremony at this month’s ALA Conference, the recipients will talk about their backgrounds in the industry, but we took a fun approach to revealing what you don’t know about this year’s honorees.

The Pillar of the Industry awards recognize three ALA members – one for each category served by the ALA (manufacturers’ representatives, retail showrooms, and manufacturers) for their unique and meaningful service to advance the lighting industry plus the ALA’s program and mission during the previous 18 months. The award recipients are nominated by ALA members and the ALA staff and are selected by the ALA Awards Committee.

Q. If I weren’t in lighting, my career would be

A. In elementary education. For the first 6 years after I graduated college, I taught 4th, 5th, and 7th grades.

Q. The best business advice someone in the lighting industry gave me

A. It was the late 1970s, and I was told “If you know lamps (i.e. bulbs), you’ll know lighting.” I have followed that advice all the way through. Basically, if you stay in tune with the technology, you’ll know lighting.

Q. The toughest challenge I faced working in this industry

A. Learning how to take a punch, because not everything goes smoothly in life.

Q. The best personal advice a family member gave me

A. Actually the best advice was NOT listening to my grandmother when she’d tell me, “Don’t work so hard to make them rich!” My dad worked long hours, 6 days a week, and instilled a good work ethic in me.

Q. My favorite part of being in the lighting industry is

A. The relationships I’ve made over the years. Some of my best friends – and the best stories – come from the lighting industry, and I don’t think I’d have had the