LEGEND - Rep: Bob Stolzberg, Stolzberg Associates in Lighting, Maryland Heights, Mo.
How did you get started in the industry?
I have been in the lighting industry since I graduated from college in the early 1970s. I was so fortunate to have worked at Westinghouse Corp., Lightolier, and with industry leaders such as Maurie Rosen, Sam and Barry Minoff, Tony Davidson, Alan Karen, Bill Solomon, and Howard Bernstein.
What are the biggest changes you’ve seen?
Over the years I did alter some of my lines – which changed some of the personalities and relationships – to help my organization grow. By taking risks, I found opportunities, discovered new ideas, and continue to grow.
What is the greatest challenge?
Over the years we have all made changes, but now our attention must be examined in another way. Repeating industry veteran Jon Sayah’s thought, we must “rethink” the way we conduct business and how we treat our staff and customers. In the last 12 months, our company has made more changes than it has over the last 28 years, thus we are adapting and implementing new, creative ideas.
What is the key to your success?
My Dad taught me to be a hard worker and to surround myself with honest and sincere people. Being consistent, reliable, ethical, and telling a story in my own words has given me much success. I am blessed to have a great family, good health, a God I believe in, happiness, and an inner circle of staff, customers, and friends.
Being positive and working outside the box and working outside the numbers has made my journey reap many benefits over time. I have learned to be a “giver” and enjoy helping others as a mentor or just as a sounding board.
I have diversified our rep business and now manage – along with my team – a residential and commercial division, plus manage a large logistical warehouse operation. I am initiating a strategic coaching company that I call Perceptions to initiate immediate creative ideas. The two key words to my success are Passion and Relationships.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
With the many years I have invested traveling and working very hard every day and evening, I should have been a mailman.
What do you think the future hold?
Moving forward, there will be fewer distributors, more consolidation, and buying groups to consider like Lighting One. We must all navigate the continued growth of the home Centers, e-commerce folks like Amazon and the changing ways we build homes and live. Challenges are ahead of us, but there are so many opportunities available for those that implement new ideas through technology and social media. We must remember though, that at the end of the day, people buy from people.