Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, has been quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life,” and we are seeing much change in our industry—especially with the non-profits that support our work.
Women in Lighting + Design is a group that is growing and helping to improve our industry and our personal lives. The Lighting Agora just hosted a series of educational programs that were informative and efficient. Over the past month, I have been learning about a new group, the American Association of Independent Lighting Agents that is going to make a large and positive influence on reps and manufacturers.
AAiLA is the brainchild of Billy Hodges of Digital Filaments and Jay Andrews of Next Generation Lighting. I spoke to both of them and learned that the project has been in development for the past 18 months. AAiLA was created to equally support the manufacturer and the manufacturer’s representative. My first concern was do we really need another organization as I thought NEMRA did a great job. Billy explained, “NEMRA is great for the overall electrical industry, for “supply reps”, and for big commodity manufacturers – but they don’t really focus on the uniqueness of the commercial and architectural lighting channel with all of its independent manufacturers and lighting focused agencies.” Jay added, “We wanted to create an organization for lighting manufacturers and reps that focused on sales. There is much education for our industry geared to technical benefits of this lighting tool or that technique, but those don’t really help with the sales process.”
AAiLA is partnering with The Lighting Agora and The Lighting Exchange to create their first two series of sales modules.
As of this writing, AAiLA has signed up 13 rep members and 6 manufacturers. For 2022, a rep with 10 employees will pay $750 annually; a 40 employee rep firm will pay $1750 in annual dues. A manufacturer will pay $1,500 per brand.
Billy emphasized, “The costs are very low as we want to be a big-tent organization. We are building programs that will assist the large conglomerate, the multi-state rep, as well as the independent rep that focuses on one city.”
Presently, AAiLA has two in-person events planned. The first is in New York on 14 March, the Monday before LEDucation, and the second is planned for 20 June, in Las Vegas, the Monday before LightFair.
EdisonReport is honored to become the first ever Founding Sponsor at the Silver level.
For more information visit the AAiLA website at https://lightingagents.org