Judy Anderson’s career in the lighting industry has been marked with firsts—the first female President of the show-room division for the American Lighting Assn.’s predecessor, the American Home Lighting Institute; first female to be named ALA Person of the Year (an award she received twice). And now, Anderson is the first female to be inducted into the ALA Hall of Fame.
“I’ve always believed in the ALA and taken advantage of all the opportunities that the association has offered,” Anderson says. “The recognition of my peers is a nice way to end a career.”
After 25 years in various industry roles, in 1994 Anderson started J.A. Connections, which manufactures Optiwatt, a line of controls for lighting displays. While continuing to run her company, Anderson later moved to Colorado and became a representative for Illumination Systems Inc. Though now technically retired, Anderson continues to own and operate Optiwatt.
As a member of ALA, Anderson was instrumental in the upstart of the organization’s certification program and helped write the first ALA sales training manual.
Despite his obvious clout in the lighting industry, 2006 Hall of Fame inductee Dennis Swanson plays it cool.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by the industry and that my peers think I’ve done something worthy enough to deserve this,” he says.
Swanson, owner and CEO of Lamps Plus, founded the successful lighting retail network in 1976 and has been active in the industry for more than 30 years. During that time, he served as chair of the ALA Board of Governors and of the Public Relations Committee, overseeing the BiNational Advertising program.
Swanson looks at success as a journey, not a destination.
“It’s about creating a bigger, better business every day,” he says. “And we measure success by the number of talented, dedicated people who have joined our team and have grown with us.”