It was great to see ALA members and the lighting industry back together sharing, learning, and networking at the ALA Austin Conference a few weeks ago. I truly believe the entire industry should have been there to hear the unique insights and specific economic forecasts pertaining to the lighting, housing, and remodeling industries. At conference, members also heard from Gerry O’Brion on his keynote presentation, “They Buy Your Because.” His message was very powerful and supported the need for our members to separate themselves from their competition. I ask you, what is your because? What is the reason your customers buy from you? I believe ALA members who are training their team members, keeping up with current technologies, and implementing these business strategies will set themselves apart and help create their “because.” I encourage you to mark your calendars now and reserve September 10 – 12, 2023, for the ALA Lake Tahoe Conference. It is more critical than ever for members to come together to mutually lift our industry.
ALA and our membership have been my family for nearly 30 years. This industry is the cornerstone of who I am as an individual, leader, husband, and father. But, as it is for all of you and your loved ones, my wife and son are most important and dear to me. The past few years have been difficult as our family has had to support my father-in-law through his Alzheimer’s disease and, ultimately, his passing. Concurrently, my wife, Kyla, and my sister-in-law have had to run their family commercial real estate and energy investment businesses in Oklahoma. During the pandemic, Kyla moved her mother, who was diagnosed with dementia, from Dallas back to their family home in Oklahoma City to quarantine and act as her primary caregiver. Due of these obligations, we have spent more than six months apart over the past three years.
Along with the challenges, the past few years have created business opportunities for my family. We have the responsibility to carry on and help drive our family business to the next level. But my wife needs support and assistance to make that happen, so I have made the decision to retire from ALA. The good news is that I am not on any time constraint and will continue to serve as CEO through this year into the next until a replacement is hired. As difficult as this has been, I hope ALA members and the ALA staff will understand this decision. This will allow me to now put into practice what I have spent my life doing…supporting and growing small businesses…and I am excited by the opportunity. Going forward after the transition, I will always be willing to help this industry and ALA in any way possible, as well as be available for consultation.
ALA has one of the best, most talented staffs that works every day on behalf of this industry. We also have a dedicated Board of Governors and Executive Committee. After I briefed the Executive Committee of my decision, they have worked to develop an ALA search committee that will assist in the hiring of the new executive of the ALA. The ALA search committee consists of:
- Laurie Gross, 2023 ALA Board Chair; President, Gross Electric
- Rick Seidman, 2023 ALA Board Chair-elect; President & CEO, Quoizel
- Richard Alan, 2022 ALA Board Chair; Owner and President, Richard Alan & Associates
- Cathy Choi, 2023 ALA Board Member; President, Bulbrite Industries
- Clark Linstone, Former ALA Chair of the Board and 2023 Government Engagement Chair; President and COO, Lamps Plus