President's Letter - March 2018

March 2018
As we head into spring, I hope your business is primed and ready to take advantage of the building and remodeling segments that are starting to heat up. To ensure your staff members are best prepared to maximize sales opportunities, I encourage you to review your training strategies. Our showrooms that are experiencing the greatest success are those that have dedicated one individual to lead their training efforts and utilize ALA training programs to strengthen the lighting and sales skills of their personnel. With the continued growth in the connected product space, we also encourage you to determine who internally will champion those efforts and be dedicated to bringing more value and add-on sales.
Eric Jacobson, CAE
President and CEO
American Lighting Association
I encourage you to make sure your staff is well trained and utilizing ALA's lighting and sales training webinars/courses . By doing so, you have an opportunity to set the stage for an exceptional customer experience.
U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Sales Tax Fairness Case
In ALA’s continued fight to bring sales tax equality and marketplace fairness between brick-and-mortar sales and online sales, the U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for South Dakota v. Wayfair, et al for April 17. This is great news, as this is one of the earliest dates that the court could have scheduled the case. As a reminder, ALA joined several prominent industry trade groups in filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States to support the State of South Dakota in the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair – a case about the collection and remittance of sales tax from internet companies. ALA has long championed such efforts to support lighting retailers who are currently dealing with the burden placed on them by the practice known as showrooming, the ongoing trend of consumers receiving the benefit of ALA members’ training and knowledge, only to then go online to purchase products.  
Additionally, ALA and our trade group partners have filed a second Amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court. To view the amicus brief filed to the U.S. Supreme Court, click here .
Lighting Magazine available in April
Larry Lauck, ALA executive vice president; Tim Stumm, general manager of Lights Fantastic, and I were in Des Moines recently for the cover shoot and layout overview of the April issue of the ALA/Better Homes and Gardens Lighting magazine. ALA manufacturers submitted over 3,500 application shots and product images in preparation for this year’s magazine. We believe you will be quite impressed with both the quality of the photography and the content. We encourage you to start your planning on how you will use the magazine to drive sales. With ALA’s launch of our new website, ALA will catalog the application images and have them available for members’ use.
ALA and DMC Partner to Open New Seminar/Meeting Center
ALA is working with Dallas Market Center to move the ALA Seminar/Meeting Center to the fourth floor of the Dallas Trade Mart. ALA will now be in the center of Lightovation, which will provide easier access for members participating in meetings and seminars. The space will be co-branded with ALA and the DMC. ALA will be reaching out to members to help with donating lighting products for the space. ALA and DMC will work to have the space ready and available for the June Lightovation market.
Washington D.C. Fly-in
ALA is gearing up for its scheduled Washington D.C. Fly-in, April 25-26, 2018. We encourage members to join us for our legislative meetings with lawmakers and regulatory meetings with federal agencies. The meetings are not only important to our industry, but also provide you with a great look into the workings of Capitol Hill. Contact Michael Weems for additional information.
ALA Board of Governors Changes
Following a formal vote by members of the ALA Board of Governors at the end of February, ALA announced Pete de Steiger, CEO of Ray Lighting Centers, as the new chairman of the board. This action came following the news of the departure of previous chairman Bob Dillon from his role as CEO of Hubbardton Forge. Pete steps into the role from his existing position as chair-elect, and will remain chairman through 2019. This change also left a vacant manufacturer seat on the board, which will be filled by President and CEO of Quoizel Rick Seidman. Rick was already slated to take that seat in 2019, following a vote from the Governors Nominating Committee in January 2018. He will now fill the position early, then serve out the remainder of his term. While we are all saddened to lose Bob as chairman for 2018, it is with great confidence that we welcome Pete and Rick into these roles. You can read more about this change in the most recent issue of Lightrays .
Thank you for your continued support and involvement in ALA.
Eric Jacobson, CAE
President & CEO
American Lighting Association