Long-time lighting rep Paul Schulman, principal of JPS Associates in Los Angeles, passed away on November 30 at age 73. Paul was an accomplished and well-respected independent sales representative who was renowned for taking great care of his customers. As a sports enthusiast who lived close to the UCLA campus, he would often treat his accounts and factories to great seats at various sporting events there — complete with an occasional shout out to them on the arena’s Jumbotron.
He represented House of Troy for several decades (and later the additional companies under American Lighting Brands) as well as venerable manufacturers over the years such as Wilshire, Dinico, Sturdy Lantern, and Sparkle Plenty.
Paul had been heroically dealing with Parkinson’s disease for years and retired from the industry several years ago.
“I have known Paul and Jill Schulman for close to 50 years, ever since they relocated to Southern California from Great Neck, New York,” recalls industry veteran Pam Pacht, who worked at the Brown & Gold Lighting (showroom) in Los Angeles at the time, adding, “We were also neighbors.”
“Paul was a very knowledgeable and attentive rep, and Jill provided fantastic office support. He gave back to the industry through his participation in the American Lighting Association, and to his family by being an attentive and supportive Dad to their two children at their athletic games and helping with schoolwork,” Pam says. “On Jill’s 30th birthday, I remember Paul got her a new car with a California license plate that read ‘Jill Is 30’ and then he took her to Vegas to see Barry Manilow, her favorite singer at the time,” Pam recalls. “He was a great guy. We were fortunate to have lighting reps who were passionate and product smart, and Paul was a big part of this fabric. May he rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing.”
Bill Brown, a multi-decade veteran of Vermont-based House of Troy and now principal of the new company Montclair Light Works, remembers when he met Paul Schulman in 1987. Bill had just started with House of Troy when he and company president, Kent Mitchell, visited the Southern California territory. “We were basically two hicks from Vermont out in Los Angeles. It was my first road trip with the boss, and I didn’t know what to expect.”
It was January 1987 — a time before cell phones. “Paul picked us up in his bright yellow Mercedes convertible and inside it we noticed a phone! Amazed, Kent asked, ‘Hey Paul, can I make a call from this thing?’ Paul hesitated a moment before saying, ‘Sure.’ Kent immediately called his wife, Natalie, with the sole purpose of announcing, ‘Hey Natalie, I’m calling you from a car in L.A.!’ He then proceeded to talk about the weather back in Vermont and other chitchat, completely unaware of the high cost of that technology at the time. After a while, Paul had to interrupt him: ‘Ah, excuse me, Kent, but that’s kind of an expensive call.’ Kent said, ‘Oh, OK. See you later, Natalie!’”
Paul had a significant presence at the industry trade shows, such as the Dallas Lighting Market, and was beloved by his customers, factories, family, and friends and will be greatly missed. He is survived by his wife, Jill, their daughter and son, and their grandchildren.