Based on the accelerated speed of his selection and “confirmation hearings,” I know I’m not the only one who is absolutely thrilled with the appointment of Eric Jacobson as the new President of the American Lighting Assn. (ALA) come 2015 when Dick Upton retires. The Forward ALA Task Force (chaired by Western Montana Lighting’s Carolyn Overman and other volunteers who should be thanked around our turkeys) thoughtfully considered what would be best for the organization and the industry, but the process of finding an appropriate successor took less than two months from Upton’s official announcement at the 2013 ALA Conference in Austin, TX. And when it was brought for vote to the ALA Board of Governors, their support was unanimous.
It’s easy to see why. I’ll bet ALA’s Vice President of Membership and Administration is one of the most liked and respected figures in the industry. Along with Upton and Vice President of Communications Larry Lauck, Jacobson formed the core of The New ALA that brought dedicated management to the organization for the first time in 1994. Since then, ALA membership has grown a staggering 205 percent. In fact, ALA had the distinction of being the fastest growing association in the United States for some of those early years. That growth was critical to achieving all of the other things ALA has accomplished, from reaching consumers to reining in government regulations.
Jacobson’s humility about his work ethic and achievements — no doubt he is blushing right now — only makes him more endearing and underscores his genuine commitment to lighting. He’s not “in it” to become President of ALA. That’s been a well-deserved by-product of efforts he’s made tirelessly to ensure the success of all of his friends. Well, Eric, it’s our turn to celebrate your success and we’re confident in your leadership as you get ready to fill a substantial pair of shoes.