Are Industry Associations Worth It?

I am often asked by our customers if there is value in being part of the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals (AOLP). My typical response is in the form of a question; “Are you looking to position yourself and your business as being a thought leader or as a value proposition”.

ClaroLux has been a member of the AOLP for the past 5 years so our view may be a little biased, but based on our experience there is no better way to hone your design and installation talents while at the same time learning how to run a more profitable business. We just returned from the 2018 AOLP Illuminate Conference & Expo in Tampa Florida and feel fortunate to have an industry association that is comprised of professionals who in addition to running successful businesses, truly care about our industry’s future and yours.

Certainly, there are member benefits that are geared toward the operation of your business, but what truly makes the AOLP worthwhile are its members. It is only here that you can rub elbows with like-minded professionals from around the country to exchange ideas or participate in courses and testing to become a Certified Low Voltage Lighting Technician (CLVLT) or a Certified Outdoor Lighting Designer (COLD). You will learn from industry veterans like John Niggli and Heinrich Fischer and can access their years of practical experience in designing the safest, most efficient, and inspiring lighting systems today. Are these certifications easy? No, but this level of dedication can be marketed and demonstrates expertise to your customers as to the very latest technology, design, and installation methods that will provide them a lifetime of outdoor enjoyment.

The Conference also included a presentation by Mike Fusco, Co-Founder of LED Specialists, Inc. to discuss CRI, TM-30, and the new color quality standards. He reviewed the increased efficacy of the newest LEDs, thermal management, driver technologies, dimming, and compared drop-in vs integrated LEDs. Later in the day business consultant Tricia Huebner, Director of Coaching at E-myth hosted a seminar called “Seven Steps to a Business That Works” in which she discussed time management, creating a clear vision, delegating responsibility and leading high performing teams. All worthwhile discussions.

There was ample time to network and learn from fellow AOLP members. Additional sessions had members discuss the pros and cons of the “smart home” control systems they use. There were presentations on how to overcome installation challenges such as installing bistro lights, installing lights in soffits, installing fixtures on brick and in concrete driveways, and cutting mortar joints to install lighting in difficult locations. Roundtable discussions provided a platform to discuss successful business development techniques with other contractors who want to share their knowledge with the Association and their fellow members.

This willingness to share ideas and help one another perform better for their customers and improve their business is at the core of the Association. As AOLP President Mike Deo with Naturescape Lighting stated during the Awards Dinner, “A rising tide raises all ships”.

So, would membership be a value to you?  The answer is YES.