The American Lighting Association’s (ALA) Board of Governors voted unanimously to name Eric Jacobson as its new President, following the retirement of Dick Upton in January 2015. Jacobson has served as VP/Membership Development Services & Administration since coming on board as part of the “New ALA” in January 1994.
After Upton’s retirement announcement during the 2013 ALA Conference in September, a special task force (Forward ALA) comprised of four past ALA Chairpersons and the two Chairs Elect for 2014 and 2015, was formed to conduct a formal search for a successor. The Forward ALA task force members were: Carolyn Overman (task force Chair), Co-owner of Western Montana Lighting; Ray Angelo, President and CEO of Westinghouse Lighting; Zia Eftekhar, Chairman (retired) of Philips Lighting North America; Fred Fennell, CLMR, Owner of Fennell Marketing & Sales, Ltd.; Clark Linstone, CFO of Lamps Plus and President of Pacific Coast Lighting; and Tom Underwood, IES, CLMR, President and CEO of Saguaro Marketing Group, LLC.
Upon graduating from Baylor University, Jacobson was a President George Bush appointee at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington D.C. for three and a half years as a Senior Intergovernmental Affairs Officer, serving as a liaison to trade associations and assisting with Congressional relations. He joined the “New ALA” in January 1994, when the group was reorganized with a professional staff. During his tenure with ALA, membership has grown from 460 to 1400 members – a growth of 205 percent. He has been involved in most aspects of ALA programming, including the ALA’s annual Washington D.C. Mission, which entails sitting down with members of Congress to discuss legislative issues impacting the residential lighting industry. In addition, Jacobson graduated from the Institute for Organization Management (IOM) and earned the designation of Certified Association Executive (CAE) from the American Society of Association Executives. He has been promoted to Executive Vice President of ALA for 2014.
“I am most pleased that Eric was chosen to serve as ALA’s next President, and I believe he will help take ALA forward in delivering quality programs and needed action to advance the sale of lighting products in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean, and successfully fight for industry interests,” Upton remarks.
The Board has also authorized the hiring of a new Membership Director to take over Jacobson’s current responsibilities as well as the creation of the new position of VP/Government Affairs to address the challenges of legislative and regulatory affairs, which Upton handled in addition to his duties as President and CEO.
A detailed transition plan will be implemented over the next 13 months to ensure a smooth transition in ALA’s leadership and programming. During that time, Upton will continue in his post through all of 2014. Following retirement, he will serve as a consultant to the Chairman of the Board of Governors and to the President for six months ending June 30, 2014. In addition, Upton will serve as President of the ALA Education Foundation and treasurer of the ALA-PAC (Political Action Committee). This service is targeted for two years (2015-2016) or more.