The lighting industry lost a bright star in November when Doug Miller of Colonial Electric/Bright Light Design Center (with stores in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey) unexpectedly passed away.
A native of Pennsylvania, Doug Miller entered the lighting industry in 1987 when he was hired as a buyer for All-Phase Electric Inc. in Bethlehem, and later was promoted to Eastern Regional Showroom Coordinator. He served as Showroom Manager and Buyer for Fromm Electric in Cherry Hill, N.J., before accepting a similar position with Colonial Electric in 2002. There, he became the go-to person for redesigning newly acquired or existing showrooms under the Bright Light Design Center name for Colonial Electric.
Doug had an incredible talent for merchandising and a terrific knack for purchasing just the right products for his stores. I worked closely with him at several Bright Light showrooms as we brainstormed merchandising and display ideas. I like to think that we learned from each other over the years. He was incredibly dedicated to his work and a joy to work with. I consider him to be a dear friend and his passing is a great loss to the industry as well as to everyone who knew him. I’d like to share some remembrances of Doug from our colleagues in the lighting world.
“When I first met [Doug], he was wearing black Z Cavaricci pants. [He] loved the ’80s — the music, the style. I had the privilege of getting to know [him] these past 20 years. I miss him and his friendship.”
- Vincent Ingato, Vincent Ingato Sales
“We had some great negotiations and I respected the skills [he] brought to the lighting/decor business tremendously. He will be missed.”
- James Ashley, ELK Group
“[He was] easily one of the most talented merchandisers & buyers I have ever worked with. I’ll never forget having lunch with [him] and his mom. That day I saw a side of [him] I never saw too often, and it was great. May the peace of God be with all of those who miss him.”
- Al Bermudez, Pollart Electrical Sales
“[I’d like to thank Doug] for his early and continued support to get Sillites off of the ground. [He] was always sincere and fair; it was nice to always have my call answered as though I was the most important person [he] knew. I know that heaven is a little brighter with [him] up there looking down on us.”
- D.J. Ziobro, Sillites
“How many times we laughed together, how many times we planned, giggled, and plotted our path. [He] became a good friend. My heart and prayers go to his family and all of those whose lives [he] touched. [His] spirit, detail, passion, and creativity will be so greatly missed.”
- Ronna Cohen, Annapolis Lighting
“I enjoyed every time we worked together over the last 20 years. [His] talent of design and style developed Bright Light to what it is today. We had many laughs and good times from trade shows to displaying products. I will miss all of that.”
- Michael Urkowitz, Michael Urkowitz Associates
“A beautiful soul and one of the most passionate people I have had the pleasure of knowing. Not a single fixture in the showrooms will ever be able to light a room as brightly as [his] presence.”
- April Luber, Annapolis Lighting
“On behalf of Maxim Lighting, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to Doug’s family during this difficult time. It was a pleasure to have met and interacted with such a caring and vivacious person.”
- Stephanie Berry
“[Doug] was a truly unique individual and will not be forgotten. [His] dedication and loyalty were inspirational. [He] tested all of us to the max and we responded by trying to live up to his expectations.”
- Alan Tepper, The Wolf Group
“Doug was an intense and passionate man whose greatest pleasure was helping others. Working closely with Doug for 10 years was more than just a privilege, it was an experience. To know Doug is to love him. He was a savant. There are a few things that we will miss:
His loud and robust laugh. There was nothing small or fake about his laugh; when you heard it, you couldn’t help but to join in.
His doghouse. God help you if you got in it, because you would be in it for a while. He eventually forgave you, but it was not immediate.
His knowledge. He was savant when it came to this industry. He would look at the weekly sales and know – by the part number – if the item was a good seller or if he was glad it finally sold. He was able to multi-task like no other individual I have ever met.
He knew style and trends. Our favorite expression was “Hot, Hot, Hot!”
Everything he touched had flair. Even his own appearance had a certain perfection which we’ll miss.
He was keenly aware of the great responsibilities he had, and never took them lightly.
He was a professional at all times. He held himself to the highest standards of ethics, morality, and honor. On any given Sunday during the summer, Doug could be found outside the front of our store pulling weeds and planting new flowers. He cared for our company as if it were his own.
We will miss his 6 a.m. emails, on weekends, holidays, and even the snow days.
We’ll miss his passion for powdered jelly doughnuts, chocolate, and pizza every Friday night with a slice of chocolate cake, plus his collection of ’80s music, his frustration with technology, his constant coffee and cigarettes.
He loved a great pen and kept several Wite-Out® bottles in his desk. Perfection was not an option; it was his way.
We’ll miss his attention to every detail, no matter how small or insignificant
We’ll miss him as a mentor and friend.
I’ll miss you, buddy.”
- David Bellwoar, Colonial Electric/Bright Light Design Center