LightFair Listens and Ken Honeycutt Finally Gets His Wish

LightFair Listens

In 2002, your humble editor was president of IES, and Acuity had stopped attending LightFair.  I went to Conyers, GA, to meet with Ken Honeycutt, then CEO and President of Acuity Brands.  My goal was to convince Ken that Acuity needed to exhibit at LightFair. I failed. 

Ken complained that it took two years to develop new products, and it did not make sense to exhibit every year.  I politely reminded him about the huge opportunity electronic HID offered for developing new smaller fixtures. He was not impressed.  

He explained that Acuity would exhibit if LightFair was a biennial tradeshow. He added that labor and people were the biggest contributing factors to attending, but he went on to say that we could double the rates for rental, which would keep IES and IALD whole (IES and IALD own 2/3 of the show). He also suggested that LightFair should be in the off years of Light + Building.

Show Manager Dan Darby at LightFair 2022
Show Director Dan Darby at LightFair 2022 in Las Vegas

Today, Ken Honeycutt gets his wish. LightFair has announced that the show will be every-other year, and it will be in the off-years of Light + Building. 

I spoke to Dan Darby, Show Director, and Dan explained that LightFair has been listening to its audience and stakeholders, saying, “The product development cycle is longer that it was even a few years ago, and manufacturers don’t have the new products that support an annual show.”  He explained that LightFair has a signed letter of intent to exhibit every-other-year in New York through 2029.

I asked him about increasing the exhibit rates. He explained that they evaluate the rates every two years and would continue to do that, but he said he does not see any kind of doubling of rates.

There has been much discussion about a biennial LightFair, even before the pandemic. 

Although a biennial LightFair is GREAT for the industry, it will be tough financially for IALD and IES. Speaking with Shirley Coyle in the latest issue of NALMCO’s LM+M magazine, IES President Frank Agraz said that the, “…number one goal in leading the 116-year old not-for-profit organization, following two financially challenging pandemic years, is to make sure that the IES remains healthy…”

In a video interview with me last week at NALMCO, Frank discussed LightFair in detail, as well as cost savings plans and non-LightFair revenue for the Society.  You can watch that interview here.