Immediately recognizable by his signature bowties and fanciful footwear, renowned trend expert and product development specialist Jeff Dross has spent the last 46 years as a very public face for Kichler Lighting, often interviewed in consumer and trade magazines for his trend forecasting and keen knowledge of lighting trends. He has also lent his expertise to the Lighting for Tomorrow, the industry-wide competition designed to advance product design and technological innovation in the industry.
Yesterday, May 20, Dross sent shockwaves through the residential lighting industry by announcing his retirement from his role at Kichler, effective September 1.
MASCO – a conglomerate that owns and operates more than 25 major brands in the home building sector such as Delta and Hansgrohe faucets, Behr/Kilz paint, Newport Brass and Ginger, Liberty Hardware, and others – purchased the independently owned Kichler Lighting in early 2018. Long-time Kichler President Tony Davidson retired later that same year.
Dross has spent the majority of his career at Kichler, starting out in the drafting department after graduating from the Cleveland Engineering Institute. Over the decades, his role evolved to include the engineering department and product development. “During that time, I worked with a team of dedicated professionals to help build Kichler Lighting from a small, regional player with modest sales to the major international lighting supplier it has become,” he recounts.
Dross was honored in 2015 at the annual American Lighting Association (ALA) Conference with the prestigious Pillar of the Industry Award for his contributions to the lighting industry as a whole. “I was proud to be a part of teams that developed multiple products selected as ‘Lighting for Tomorrow’ winners,” he adds. During the industry transition from incandescent to solid-state lighting, Dross was instrumental in introducing and educating Kichler’s sales force, customers, and the industry to the new technology.
“Looking back, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with lighting professionals that has resulted in a great career. That said, it is with great personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment that I announce my retirement from Kichler, effective September 1, 2020,” he states. “Kichler – the company, its products, and most significantly, its people – has been one of the great joys of my life. The people with whom I have had the pleasure to work with for nearly five decades were, and are, the best in the business.”