Attendance and engagement were noticeably up at last week’s American Lighting Assn.  (ALA) Conference  at the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale, AZ. I’m so glad that so many people — official tally was an impressive 545 — were able to participate this year, enough to require an overflow property (and two more down the street).
ALA consistently puts on top-notch events, and its Conference programming has been particularly relevant in recent years. With emerging technologies and a changing economic landscape, education has been key for our industry to meet the challenges ahead of us. What was particularly refreshing at this edition, however, was that the emphasis in many of the sessions focused on seizing opportunity versus staying abreast (and afloat).
Norm Brown, CLC, of Norburn Lighting  led a seminar on “The LED Revolution,” where he called solid-state lighting technology the biggest opportunity out there for showrooms. The debates the erupted within his seminar underscored how much continues to evolve in that category, requiring ongoing vigilance on our part. If we are confused, imagine how consumers feel with their watt-centric vocabulary and raised stakes for making bulb choice mistakes. Our specialist status is more important than ever.
Another Conference session with opportunity all over it: Lighting for Senior Living. This information-dense panel discussion was especially timely as Baby Boomers have started to hit retirement age, and many intend to “age in place,” creating home environments that will accommodate their changing bodies and senses. As panelist Eunice Noell-Waggoner from the Center of Design for an Aging Society  put it: “Quality of light improves quality of life,” enhancing safety, health, independence, enjoyment and self-esteem for an aging population.
Kudos to ALA for recognizing these opportunities (and many others) for our industry. I hope all of those throngs of attendees came back as energized as I did about the potential for unprecedented success and service for lighting.