On September 14, during the ALA Virtual Symposium, Sy Gerber, co-founder of California-based manufacturer GM Lighting, will be inducted into the American Lighting Association (ALA) Lighting Hall of Fame through a special video tribute that will be played during the Welcome Party in The Echo virtual world. Sy is an iconic figure in the industry who embodies the characteristics of the Lighting Hall of Fame members.
In a recent reflection on what personal characteristics are most important to him, Sy Gerber says, “I wouldn’t trade my honesty and integrity for anything in the world.” Those characteristics are key ingredients behind Sy’s success. Following the death of his mother, Sy was raised by his aunts and uncles, who became his role models and provided him with a formidable work ethic.
As an adult, he recognized that the role of a boss was more that of a team leader. “I worked with my people,” Sy recalls. “Nobody felt like I was the boss. Nobody was guarded. Everyone had their way of speaking and everyone contributed. Everybody felt like part of the company, and people loved coming to work.”
Sy first joined his brother at Efengee Electric Supply, where he worked in sales. From there, Sy took his family to California and worked with Air King Fans. Air King bought a recessed lighting company that piqued Sy’s interest and started his love affair with the lighting industry.
Alongside his brother and Burt Fenmark, Sy created Capri Lighting, which became a driving force in the recessed halogen lighting industry. He remained at the helm as Capri grew.
Fifteen years ago, Sy co-founded GM Lighting and brought in his son, Rob, to run it. Rob Gerber remembers, “They (GM) decided to improve the current state of under-cabinet lighting. They came up with this great fixture and asked me to join the company. So, I joined my dad and made the jump from ConTech Lighting to GM Lighting.”
“When you stop learning, you stop living,” Sy recently remarked to a lighting industry insider.
Sy’s kindness and dedication to the industry are worthy of emulation. As the 2020 Lighting Hall of Fame inductee, his legacy and industry impact will be recognized and remembered for years to come.
To register for the ALA Virtual Symposium and the Welcome Party to view Sy’s Hall of Fame induction, visit ALAConference.com. All registered symposium members will receive the first access to the induction video to celebrate Sy’s career.