In Praise of ALA
July 13, 2010 - 2:24pm

 A good number of the leaders in the industry at the showroom, rep and vendor level have been regular supporters and active members of the American Lighting Assn. (ALA) for years, I would still encounter those who were staunchly, stubbornly not. Almost unanimously, the reason they would give me for not joining the group was that there was nothing tangible in it for their business.

Let’s just say I’m not really hearing that anymore.

Without ALA as an organized and cohesive voice in Washington, D.C., recent and pending energy legislation could have had a disastrous effect on our industry. And anyone who thought ALA was just for “those fixture guys” got a wake-up call when the group came to the rescue once again on California’s Title 20 affecting portable lamps. Aside from averting some immediate dangers, these actions also affirmed ALA’s credibility and expertise, rendering it a trusted adviser to key legislators on the subject of lighting should future issues arise. Alliances with related organizations have enhanced this position, even resulting in a practical brochure to encourage regulators to consider quality of lighting in energy efficiency policies.

ALA has been busy north of the border as well, working with NRCan and CSA to streamline requirements for ceiling fans and light kits to be compliant with new regulations that took effect this year, limiting the total electrical power consumption of products sold.

Sure, you didn’t technically have to be a member of ALA to benefit from these industry-wide advancements. But it’s kind of like public broadcasting: Without member support, it doesn’t happen. Or at least it can’t happen with the same vigilance minus the talent and monetary resources that a strong membership enables.

I can remember when the Dallas-based dedicated management team for ALA first came on board. Before there was an ALA PAC or a BiNational Advertising and PR effort, job one was to increase the membership rolls. They rightfully recognized that none of their other big ideas would be realized without that firm foundation. Now that ALA’s “proof of concept” is pretty much above reproach, and since the call for sustainability only stands to become louder in the years ahead, I hope the remaining holdouts will join for the greater good.

With such spectacular performance in recent years, what will ALA do for its Encore? Well, the group is heading to that Wynn property in Las Vegas this September for its annual Conference. You’ll see from our preview in our July issue that it promises to be another exceptional agenda. Even if you’re still somehow on the fence about ALA, I encourage you to attend for that last incentive you may need to make the leap.

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