President's Letter - March 2019

Working Together for You
A note from Eric Jacobson
Everyone here at the American Lighting Association appreciates the work you do every day to compete in a rapidly changing business climate. We are here to serve you and address the many issues, product developments, and training needs you have for your business. To maximize our ability to serve you, we need your input. No one knows the challenges you face on a day-to-day basis like you do. Knowledge gained through your experience is a great resource for us and your fellow ALA members, and helps move the entire industry forward. If you would like to become involved in the business and operations of ALA, please use this form to indicate your area of interest and contact me at or 800-60LIGHT (605-4448), ext. 224.
Together we are better. Together we are stronger. Together we will prosper.
We are a truly unique organization that comprises members representing all facets of the lighting industry, from manufacturers of component parts to those who sell the final products to consumers. Although evolving, the families that built the lighting industry….the relationships that started years ago....remain an important aspect of the success of our membership.
I know you are entering a busy spring time, and I encourage you to stop for a moment to think about some questions:
  • Are you looking for opportunities to grow your business in a dynamic, changing marketplace?
  • Are you poised to take advantage of the tremendous growth in connected, smart-home products?
  • Have you educated your staff to allow them to best serve your customers, your business and themselves?
  • Are you utilizing all of the ALA content (blog, website, videos, etc.) to help make your website a destination you are proud of?
  • Are you taking advantage of the LED revolution and making a concerted effort to educate your customers?
  • Should you designate one of your staff to be the key technology specialist to help LED and connected-home product sales?
  • Are you making your store a destination and experience center?
  • Do you understand how legislative and regulatory issues are affecting your business?
ALA can help address and answer each of these questions. We are part of your lighting industry family. Together, through our shared experiences, we will find solutions to answer your questions, tackle challenges, and discover new and innovative ways to grow your business.
JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
ALA Conference Offers Peer Networking, Strategy Presentations
I hope you are making plans to attend the 2019 ALA Conference at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Ariz., Sept. 15-17. The ALA Conference is a great way to share and learn with your peers while addressing issues that are key to your business success.
A few conference highlights include special presentations:
You Can Compete: How to Win Against Your Online Competitors
Bob Phibbs, known as The Retail Doctor, is internationally recognized as a business and brick-and-mortar store strategist, customer service expert, sales coach, marketing mentor, author, and business speaker. He will discuss how the retail industry is in jeopardy of letting online shopping win by trying to fight tech with tech, rather than focusing on and fixing the in-person experiences that give brick-and-mortar stores real advantages. Attendees will leave with the tools to re-strategize and succeed in today’s challenging retail market.
Navigating the Alphabet Soup of Unilateral Pricing Policies
Herb Allen of Polsinelli PC is one of the top experts on internet minimum advertised price (IMAP) and unilateral minimum resale price (UMRP) policies. In this presentation, he will assist attendees with a better understanding of specific IMAP/UMRP challenges facing the lighting industry. Don’t miss this exceptional opportunity to hear directly from an experienced litigator and antitrust counselor who helps clients tackle this complex issue every day.
YESCALATE – Getting to “Yes” Faster
Award-winning speaker Dean Minuto of Teligent Corp. will present a summary course in brain science and behavioral psychology to help you get to “yes” faster with anyone, anyplace, anytime. He has been called the One-page Sales Coach for his unique ability to present concise summary courses for executives with single-sheet tools that bring immediate positive results.
I encourage you to register and make your hotel reservations today. Register online at or contact Beth Bentley for more information.
President Trump, USTR Announce
Progress on China Negotiations
U.S. Delays China Tariff Hike
President Donald Trump announced that due to “substantial progress” i n negotiations, the United States is delay ing, for an unspecified period, plans to increase tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on List 3 imports ($200 billion worth of Chinese imports). These statements followed six days of intensive U.S.-China bilateral trade negotiations, and were later formalized through a Federal Register notice and U.S. Customs and Border Protection announcement .
Statements from both President Trump and United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer in March 1 testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee cited movement on a range of priority structural policy issues in China, including intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, services and currency, and enforcement mechanisms. That progress could point to a potential trade deal, and aligns with planning for a possible summit with People’s Republic of China (PRC) President Xi Jinping. However, a deal is far from certain.
In his testimony, Ambassador Lighthizer repeatedly stressed that enforcement and real structural change are the required linchpins of any deal, and while the two sides have made progress, considerable work remains before and after any potential deal. The U.S. tariff increase is expected to be delayed without any deadline.
ALA is pushing for continued talks to reach an agreement that ends intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices, and removes tariffs off the Administration’s agenda as the only measure to address these issues. ALA’s continued fight against these tariffs will be a main objective of our Washington D.C. fly-in

Members Invited for Washington, D.C. Fly-in
Come join us in Washington, D.C., April 10-11, to meet with Congressional leaders and ALA PAC Legislative Champions. We will focus on issues affecting the lighting industry, such as trade, energy efficiency and small business-related matters. If interested in joining us, please email Michael Weems, ALA vice president of government engagement, at . All ALA members are welcome to attend .  

2019 Lighting cover-coming soon
Lighting Magazine Available in April
Larry Lauck, ALA executive vice president; Tim Stumm, creative director of Z-Lite Lighting, and I traveled to Meredith Publishing headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, recently for the cover shoot and layout overview of the 2019 issue of Lighting magazine, produced by the ALA BiNational Advertising and PR Program in partnership with Better Homes and Gardens. I want to thank the ALA manufacturer advertisers and the companies that submitted application shots and product images in preparation for this year’s magazine.
In addition to the beautiful lighting, ceiling fan, and smart-home products in the magazine, there is a consumer focus touting the benefits of purchasing from an ALA-member showroom and highlighting the services that they provide. We encourage you to start planning with your staffs on how you will use the magazine to inspire your customers and drive sales .
American Lighting Association |