Tim Stumm, Michael Estrin, and Chris Primous received this year’s Pillars of Industry Award in their respective categories.
Pillars of Industry! Tim Stumm
From the moment Tim Stumm entered the lighting industry, he knew it was very different from his previous career in property management — and that’s a good thing. Upon receiving his award, he thanked fellow retailers Denise Duncan of Lighting Etc. and Lisa Dixon of Pace Lighting for their support as well as Eric Jacobson and Larry Lauck of the ALA for their leadership.
An eight-year veteran of the ALA’s P.R. Committee, Stumm commented, “I am part of a great organization dedicated to the future of lighting. I am the future of lighting, and it’s my voice – and every single person here has a voice – in the industry. And when we come together, that collective voice cannot be unheard.”
Stumm whipped out his cell phone and took a selfie from the stage, captioning it #Iamthefutureoflighting. “Now go back to your showrooms and have your staff post their own selfies [with that hashtag],” he quipped.
“I am a third-generation lighting veteran,” said Michael Estrin of Estrin Zirkman Sales as he stepped up to the podium. “I began working as a lighting rep back in 1988, but my father and his brother started a new concept [a lighting showroom] when I was seven years old,” he shared. “My first job was cleaning out ashtrays and by the time I reached college, I was working there on nights and weekends.”
In 1988, Estrin called an old family friend – the late Ira Phillips – and asked for a job as a factory rep for Quoizel. After a few days of deliberation, Phillips hired Estrin. “I was there for five years and learned many valuable lessons,” he recounted.
Estrin went on to rep Kichler for several decades and credited its recently retired CEO Tony Davidson for “always being there with advice and encouragement,” he commented. “I’ve met so many tremendous people from around the country and around the world. I would not have been able to achieve my success without my wife, Mandy, who would always remind me that there was more to life than lighting.
“Behind every person is a village of people,” Estrin remarked, referring to those who have helped him along the way — from past and present business partners Frank Calabrese and Jim Zirkman to his retail customers, his fellow reps, and “all the people I’ve worked with for over 30 years. I wouldn’t have had so much success without you. As technology has been evolving over the past 10 years, it has reminded me to adapt. My father always told me, ‘Figure it out.’ Don’t be afraid of change. I implore you that the old formulas for success will not work today. Join the ALA and become active in it. Don’t allow others to control your fate. Reward those who earn it and respect those around you. I’m grateful to have you all in my life.”
Chris Primous of MaxLite has spent 15 years sharing his knowledge of lighting and energy from an engineering perspective by serving on various ALA Committees. His career spans work as an Applications Engineer for Acuity Brands through project management duties at Hubbell Lighting as well as ICF consulting group, Permlight Products, and Intematix.
“I was told during my first week at Lithonia [part of Acuity] that once you get into the lighting business, you never get out,” Primous joked. He told the audience how much he enjoyed working with the ENERGY STAR program in Washington, D.C. and is “grateful for the industry.” In closing, he remarked, “I am completely humbled and appreciative to be able to work with all of y