The year 2014 has been positive for manufacturers, retailers, and reps in the residential lighting industry if attendance numbers and feedback during the recent American Lighting Association (ALA) gathering in Nashville are any indication. The organization added 110 new members this year and continues to make great strides in working with the government on legislative issues impacting the industry.

Lighting-for-Tomorrow Award Winners

As of press time, the California Energy Commission (CEC) is scheduled to hold its final rule-making on Appliance Energy Enforcement Standards Regulations on October 20, and ALA President Elect Eric Jacobson is slated to personally deliver the ALA’s final testimony at the CEC hearing in Sacramento.  The ALA has been working on the issue since February and gathering input from its impacted members.

In recapping the achievements of the year, Clark Linstone of Pacific Coast Lighting, and ALA’s 2014 Chair of the Board of Governors, noted that there was an emphasis on education among other areas.

For example, the ALA Education Foundation was proud to unveil its Charitable Endowment Fund at the Conference. Previously, contributions to the Education Foundation were only deductible as a business expense. However, with the establishment of the Charitable Endowment Fund (501c3), deductions can legally be written off as a charitable gift. Now individuals, other charitable entities, and businesses within the industry will be able to make business or charitable donations.

The new Charitable Endowment Fund will also provide scholarships to: members and their staff who may need financial support to access and benefit from training; interior designers and architects to encourage their knowledge of the proper applications of lighting; and students who have an interest in pursuing a career in the lighting field. The Fund will also provide funding for the development of educational programs on new technologies, make continuous improvements to ALA’s Web site for the benefit of consumers, and to improve access to training materials.

“The greatest strength of the ALA has been its readiness in adapting to meet new challenges this year,” Linstone said. There were 560 people attending this year’s Conference and plenty of incentives

provided for attendees to book in advance for the 2015 ALA Conference to be held September 30 to October 2, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach, California.

Dick Upton, retiring CEO and President, added, “What I’m most proud of is the amount of involvement. We have 300 members actively engaged in the association and that’s a testament to our program. We have [always] tackled the issues (i.e. anti-trust in trucking, import tax in the banana wars, light bulb regulation). Our mission has always remained the same: to sell more lighting products. That’s what manufacturers want, what the reps want, and what the retailers want. That hasn’t changed.”

Eric Jacobson, the newly appointed President as of January 2015, said, “Change creates opportunity.  The lighting industry has become a game changer. We have to make sure that we don’t fear change. The ALA’s most valuable asset is our members; it is a community.” He thanked the membership for the honor of leading the organization, thanked Upton for his leadership, and thanked Larry Lauck and Beth Bentley for their teamwork. “We look forward to your participation in keeping ALA strong and vibrant in the years to come.”

Ray Angelo of Westinghouse, the 2015 Chair of the Board of Governors, added, “Growth is in the air. Five years ago, that wasn’t true, but lighting has never been more important than it is today. Think about your friends and family members and how often you’ve been asked lately about [lighting] technology. We are in a good position. Regardless of your politics, the government is going to get more involved with lighting. We have to get in there [and be heard].”