Sweetened by the promise of big payoffs, Elvis impersonators and 24-hour buffets, the 2006 American Lighting Assn. Conference invitation enticed industry folks to gather for a few days of accolades and agendas, education and entertainment in Sin City.
This year’s meeting was held Sept. 10-12 at Las Vegas’ most luxurious new property, the Wynn Las Vegas, and played host to such keynote speakers as inspirational orator Robert Stevenson and return player Richard Hadden. Both guests discussed how to survive in the competitive marketplace. For Stevenson, that meant paying attention to details and doing it better than the day before in order to stay ahead, while Hadden focused on the importance of staffing and supporting “extra-milers.” Educational seminars were equally practical, covering topics from outsourcing sales to taking better advantage of landscape lighting’s profit potential.
At Monday’s breakfast gathering, 2006 Chairman of the ALA Board of Governors John McKiernan outlined the initiative that has most defined his tenure: strategic alliances that ALA has forged with sister trade associations—the National Kitchen and Bath Assn., in particular. During that day’s business luncheon, ALA President Dick Upton updated the crowd on government news and lobbying priorities. ALA also elected three new faces to its Board of Governors and announced 2007 officers, including new Chair Elect Fred Fennell of Fennell Marketing in Ontario, Canada.
Citing the conference theme “Winning Together,” Fennell stressed ALA’s successes in looking after the industry’s best interests in Washington and providing meaningful programs and services to members. He also expressed his excitement about the role of new ideas and concepts in the coming year. “Let’s build on the proud tradition and exciting future that we have ahead for ALA,” Fennell said.
In addition to the announcement of the 2006 Lighting for Tomorrow design contest winners, other conference agenda highlights included the launch of ALA’s consumer publication, Simply Perfect Lighting, in partnership with Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications. With much fanfare, bejeweled Vegas showgirls unveiled a larger-than-life-sized copy of the premier issue to a healthy round of applause.
The Industry Open Forum, a new element at this year’s conference, was a qualified success, offering members the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns to a panel of industry representatives. Topics ranged from business outlooks for 2007 to the controversial issue of product manufacturing in China. At its conclusion, moderator Richard Hadden lauded those gathered for maintaining a constructive and respectful dialogue about such important issues.
Get ready for another trip out West next year. The 2007 conference will be held Sept. 9-11 at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country resort in San Antonio, TX.
Pillars of the Industry
The American Lighting Assn. once again honored a select group of lighting professionals with Pillar of the Industry awards during the annual banquet and reception on the last night of conference. The award, which recognizes superior service in support of ALA interests, is given to one manufacturer honoree, one manufacturers’ representative and one showroom honoree. This year’s recipients were (from left) Tom Garber of Quoizel, Beverlee Griffin of Deitch-Griffin & Assoc. and Dean Gottesman of Royalite Lighting.