-Spartanburg, S.C. – Nordeon USA celebrated the careers of two of its most influential employees in Terry and Becky O’Toole on Thursday February 27, 2020. Terry O’Toole, the founder of HessAmerica, recently announced his retirement earlier this year. A retirement party was held for both Terry and Becky to honor their contributions and commitment to HessAmerica over the last 22 years. John Geagan, National Sales Manager (HessAmerica), was the MC of the event and kicked off the evening with some respectful and extremely funny memories of Terry. The guest list had over 60 people featuring Ralf Knorrenschild (CEO Nordeon Group), Andrea Hartranft (Hartranft Lighting Design), Lee Brandt (HLB Lighting Design), Ronald Kurtz (Randy Burkett Lighting Design), as well as many of our agents and employees. As a surprise, Becky arranged to have an old friend of Terry’s from Germany in attendance, Karlheinz Hils (Former Operations Manager- Hess).
The night included a number of speakers toasting (and a little roasting) to the memories, achievements, and accomplishments of both Terry and Becky. Speakers included Lee Brandt (HLB Lighting Design in New York), John McLoughlin (One Source Lighting), Jim Panichella (International Lights), Ed Slavin (Northen Illumination), Finn O’Brien (Griven USA), Wes Lane (HessAmerica), as well as many former and current Hess employees.
The evening concluded with my address and gift to Terry. Many throughout the evening and the time since Terry announced his retirement referred to him as a legend in the Lighting Business. It was important we do something to immortalize Terry. For those who know Hess, they are familiar with “The Gallery” in Gaffney. This is the premier lighting showcase in the industry. Fifteen years ago, thanks to the vision of George Hess and Terry O’Toole, this feature was created in Gaffney, SC. Terry has hosted and educated 1000’s of Lighting Designers, Engineers, Architects, and Agents. Moving forward, this venue will no longer be called The Gallery, it will be forever known as the O’Toole Outdoor Gallery Experience. A bronze plaque with a picture of Terry will be placed at the entrance for the next generation of clients to see and remember the man responsible for such an amazing commitment to quality and design.
The plaque will have the following transcribed on it:
Terry O’Toole – Founder and guiding star of the iconic brand HessAmerica. From its inception in North America Terry grew Hess into a trendsetter and industry Benchmark in design, technology, and performance. The gallery experience, and the relationships built here, represent the essence of HessAmerica and Terry’s vision.
The plaque will be welded to a special Hess bollard designed by Carlos Romero, Senior Engineer (HessAmerica) and the engineering team at Nordeon USA.