With some exceptions, September is traditionally the time when students go back to school and expand their education with a step up to another (grade) level of learning. The same is true for lighting professionals who attend the annual American Lighting Association (ALA) Conference each September.

We all gather in one location for several days to share what works (and what hasn’t)
in our businesses, keep up-to-date on the latest developments in legislation as well as technology, take notes from speakers who provide us with the tools to tackle our latest challenges, and applaud the organization as a whole for meeting or exceeding goals set at the last convention.

There is a time during Conference when members are congratulated for going above and beyond in their efforts for the greater good of ALA; they are honored as Pillars of Industry for their service. And while attention is publicly given at Conference for other members who serve on the various committees, how many of us express our personal appreciation to them? I am going to make a point of thanking those ALA members for their efforts. We live in a world where everyone has very little time to spare, and yet these people sacrificed time and energy to come together regularly and brainstorm solutions or provide expertise that essentially helps everyone else in the industry – whether they are an ALA member or not – get ahead.

Next year brings a change to the ALA itself, as Dick Upton retires from the position of President and CEO and Eric Jacobson steps up to fill that role. Whether your company is better off in 2014 than it was last year or not, attendees will come away from the ALA Conference with greater knowledge of where the residential lighting industry stands today, where it is going in 2015, and how to navigate the speed bumps that we inevitably face along the way.

During the networking sessions and social events at Conference, tell your fellow members how much you appreciate their efforts and support. There’s strength in numbers and without our peers taking the time to come to the Conference and share their ideas and challenges, our struggle as individual businesses would
be so much harder.