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‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season

With lighting trade show season upon us, distributors discuss their favorite shows and the developments they’re most excited to see this year.


It’s that time again – lighting trade show season. From Strategies in Light (which took place in San Diego earlier this month) to LEDucation (March 16-18 in New York City), Lightfair (May 3-7 in Las Vegas), the Street & Area Lighting Conference (October 17-21 in Dallas), and other regional shows taking place nationwide, lighting professionals will have ample opportunity to see the latest in new products, learn about the most recent trends, meet suppliers and/or vendors, and reunite with industry colleagues. But how can distributors evaluate between all of the different shows and determine what specific product developments to focus on?

Following, two lighting specialists from the distributor community – Robert Ragozine, managing director, Energy Services at Facility Solutions Group in Perth Amboy, NJ, and Brieanne Sulzer, lighting designer at The Lighting Design Center of Warshauer Electric in Tinton Falls, NJ – share their favorite lighting trade shows and the products and trends they’ll be on the lookout for this season.


lightED: In your opinion, which of the key annual lighting trade shows/conferences would distributors benefit most from attending and why?

Ragozine: To me, Lightfair is still the biggest and best show to attend for lighting. This show is recognized internationally, so most manufacturers exhibit at the show and it gives attendees the chance to see everything in one large location. The other benefit of having so many manufacturers in one location is the ability to see trends that will be impacting the lighting business, such as PoE and controls, and compare and contrast different approaches to the products.

Sulzer: In my opinion, LEDucation has become the best show in recent years. From our location in New Jersey, you can pop into New York City and walk the show at your own pace without feeling the need to rush around because you’re worried that you won’t have enough time to see all of the booths. The Designers Lighting Forum of New York (DLFNY) has done a great job of ensuring that booth displays aren’t so overwhelming that you can’t focus on what you’re looking at but intimate enough that you can still network successfully while visiting a booth. Which brings me to the main reason that I love LEDucation – the networking. It’s a great time to meet and see key factory representatives, product designers and their designs, and owners of manufacturing companies and catch up with fellow industry colleagues.

lightED: What should the savvy distributor be looking for at any of these shows?

Ragozine: Distributors always need to be aware of the latest technology changes and the newest products on the market. Part of the value we provide is the ability to wade through the market’s many product options and help identify what’s truly the best value so that we can help our clients.

Sulzer: Again, I would say that networking is key. Business is much easier to conduct if you actually know who you’re working with and even better when you’re able to put faces to names. As a lighting designer with Warshauer Electric, I’ll be on the lookout for more fixtures made with organic and natural materials that will carry sound dampening properties for our high-ceiling hospitality projects. I’m also looking forward to seeing more solutions with color-changing LEDs and the types of fixtures they’re being used in as well as to attending my very first seminar at LEDucation.

lightED: What products, designs, features, etc. in the field of lighting would you be excited to see in 2020 and why?

Ragozine: With LED technology changing so rapidly, I’m hoping to see continued improvement in fixture efficacy and quality. I’m also looking for continued improvement in lighting controls, both in terms of the simplicity of their installation and use as well as their continued integration into lighting fixtures. These are important items for our clients, so they’re important to us.

Sulzer: I’m curious to hear feedback from factories on sales of tunable white product, as we seem to have interest, but it often gets value-engineered off the project due to cost. I’d love to see how far the industry has come with automation and the addition of features like voice integration. I’d also like to ask a few of my favorite factories how they plan to increase overall market demand for home and commercial automation integrations, as I’d like to see automation systems become more second nature for lighting designers like us to specify on our projects.


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Susan Bloomis a 25-year veteran of the lighting and electrical products industry. Reach her at susan.bloom.chester@gmail.com.

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