Part of the ALA’s success is its conscientious effort to involve fresh, young voices in the lighting industry – and very often these young guns are the scion of the industry’s trailblazers.
From serving as a protective guardian over government legislation that could negatively impact the category and fiercely going to bat for the lighting industry as a whole (and not just its membership) to aiding its retailer, rep, and manufacturer members with specially targeted programs and tools, the ALA has become a dynamic organization that has embraced and encouraged involvement with the industry’s brightest young minds. The creation of the Young Executives Under 40 group was developed as a casual networking opportunity for these individuals who have chosen lighting as their career. During the ALA Conference, the Young Executives will enjoy a special cocktail party and networking event. We asked a sampling of members what they liked most about the group.
|Alecia Wesner||Amber Adams||Brody Foy||Carsten Doeren|
|Jon McMahan||Karen Lang||Lisa Dixon||Matt Hulett|
|Max Cohen||Michael Van Derlofske||Mitchell Sadofsky||Nathan Frampton|
|Ryan Ranzino||Teal Cracraft||Tom Lillie||Tyson Neal|
The best part of being a member of ALA“The best part of being a member of ALA’s Young Executives Under 40 is the extensive networking opportunities with my lighting peers across the country, many of whom I met through ALA for the first time. With the abundance of regulatory and legislative changes currently facing our industry, it’s been beneficial to have this networking opportunity to keep up to date. As a designer, ALA’s networking gives me an additional resource to discover what consumers and retailers are looking for when purchasing new lighting.”
― Alecia Wesner
Kovacs-Wesner Design Group New York, NY
“The Young Executives Under 40 group is a great networking opportunity for the young professionals within the lighting industry that are members of ALA. It is always encouraging to share ideas and experiences with like-minded professionals at the ALA Conference. ALA does a great job in creating an exciting yet relaxed atmosphere for the group’s gathering.”
― Amber Adams
Progress Lighting Greenville, SC
“I feel that ALA’s Young Executives group is a very important tool for our industry. Whether you are a rep or work for the manufacturers, it provides the perfect way for you to expand your network and make contacts in a way that you might not be able to do otherwise.
You get the opportunity to learn from others in your field and share new and innovative ideas that can distinguish your lines from your competitors on a showroom level. For me personally, I enjoy the socials at the ALA Conference because they provide a great atmosphere to introduce yourself to new manufacturers and better get to know those who you already work with in a more personal environment. I look forward to the upcoming conference and Young Executives dinner.”
― Brody Foy
Western Lighting Newport Beach, CA
“Being part of the Young Executives helps to keep you connected to your peers who share your same interests in business. It allows for opportunity to see how others are promoting product and seeing what is working and what is not.
We live a world that is changing fast, we need to keep up with changing ideas and new ways of doing business. The Young Executives Club is great way to stay connected. It helps me to lead the most successful firm in the Midwest.”
― Carsten Doeren
Doeren Sales & Associates South St.Paul, MN
“The Young Executives group has given me the opportunity to form enduring relationships with some of the most progressive and innovative thinkers in the industry.”
― Karen Lang
Hinsdale Lighting Hinsdale, IL
Naperville Lighting, Naperville, IL
“The primary benefit to me of being involved in a group like Young Executives is connecting with peers in my age group who are all as passionate about lighting, design, and the retail experience as I am. Our backgrounds are so varied that there is something to learn from everyone, and so many of the Young Executives have great new ideas about running a lighting showroom!
Combining the fresh perspectives with our ‘Old School’ information learned over the years is a great combination of ideas and perspectives and has led to some successes for us, especially in terms of marketing.”
― Lisa Dixon
Pace Lighting Savannah, GA
If you are an ALA member – or even if you are not and you are under the age of 40 – I would highly encourage you to join us at our next social event. We normally do two to three meetings a year at the Dallas summer and winter markets as well as the ALA Conference.”
― Matt Hulett, ALA Young Executive Chair
S.L. Hulett & Associates Columbia, SC
“The ALA’s Young Executives Under 40 Group is highly beneficial to lighting professionals in this age group. I attended my first ALA Conference when I was 19, and now I am 25 years old with four ALA Conferences under my belt. During the conferences, the Under 40 Group has offered tremendous opportunities to help break the ice, network, and meet with our peers in a special relaxed environment.
Young lighting professionals from manufacturers, showrooms, and rep agencies build relationships and share important information that helps promote all of our businesses and careers. We discuss a wide range of topics including sales, marketing, manufacturing and more, and I found the experiences and the new relationships that result from them, invaluable.”
― Max Cohen
Meyda Lighting Yorkville, NY
“As the director of online retail for Quoizel Lighting, I appreciate platform the “YE” provides. It offers an opportunity to casually meet with younger, talented counterparts.
Today’s consumers shop with no boundaries, forcing our industry to meet new consumer expectations. Most solutions will generate from the younger generation with the guidance and experience of our lighting veterans.”
― Michael Van Derlofske
Quoizel Goose Creek, SC
“For me, being in the ALA’S Young Executives group really gives me a two-fold perspective on things. Being younger than most, it allows me to have a fresh perspective on the newest designs and trends in the industry, but it also allows me to learn from those who have been around in what I’ve heard people call ‘The Old Boys Club.’
Growing up in and around the lighting industry I’ve always had a passion for it. Fashion in lighting is no different than fashion in clothing: the trends are always changing. Being young and having that passion means we in the under 40 group need to push the envelope just like up and coming fashion designers do to see what new trends and designs we can develop going forward. That is our job just like the ones before us and will be the same for those after us.”
― Mitchell Sadofsky
Alico Industries Markham, Ontario, Canada
“I am very happy to be a member of the ALA Young Executives group. It is a wonderful way to network and socialize with the future leaders of the lighting industry. Even though members may be close in age, we all bring a different background and skill set that is unique to each person. Some of the industry friends I have met through ALA Young Executives group will be my friends for life. It is a great network!”
― Ryan Ranzino
Crystorama Lighting Westbury, NY
“ALA’s Young Executives Under 40 Group has allowed me to expand my industry contacts and strengthen my existing relationships. I enjoy participating in the networking events because they provide a relaxed setting to share ideas and meet new people.”
― Teal Cracraft
Fanimation Zionsville, IN
“As a member of ALA’s Young Executives Under 40 group since its inception, it has been a very rewarding experience and the ever-growing members of this group each year is an indication that the industry is anything but getting old and tired.
There have been benefits to the group I have received from both ends of the age and experience spectrum. When I jumped into this industry from the computer software business, I didn’t have a clue as to where to go to gain more knowledge about the industry in general. I knew about the company I worked for and its products inside and out, but I soon realized that in order to be successful with my company, I had to also know what was going on in the industry as well. In networking with more seasoned and experienced individuals in this group, I gained an understanding of what works and what doesn’t in manufacturing, the distribution channels, and the sales process.
When I was younger, my level of comfort was higher, and maybe less intimidating, talking with people around the same age as myself. Now that I have been in the industry for a number of years, I find it rewarding to mentor the younger members. In addition, I’m finding myself learning a lot from the younger members with respect to the ever-changing technological improvements being made. Think about it. The younger members of the group always had internet and email. They don’t know life without it and have the mindset that maybe us older people don’t.
It’s been nice to see the group growing over the years as more fresh minds come into the industry eager to make their mark. ALA’s Young Executive group has been a great resource for the younger person with respects to networking, learning, making new friends and having fun in an industry that has constant technical changes in its product, changes in the ways we sell our product, and within an economically challenging market.”
― Tom Lillie
Holtkötter International Saint Paul, MN
“When we opened our new showroom three years ago, I didn’t know anyone in our industry and often felt like an island in a stream. The ALA’s Young Executives group has been a tremendous help to me by providing avenues to meet peers who are in similar positions or are otherwise in a similar point in their careers.
I enjoy seeing our generation actively involved in molding the future of our industry and appreciate that the Young Executives group offers the chance to build meaningful relationships with other lighting professionals who are headed in a similar direction and share common interests.”
― Tyson Neal
Legend Lighting Austin, TX