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LightYourNight
01-13-2009, 04:09 PM
Anybody going on the Kichler incentive trip this year?

Chris J
01-13-2009, 09:04 PM
I am. It will be nice to meet you!

Chris J
01-13-2009, 10:53 PM
You are going, right?

Chris J
01-13-2009, 10:57 PM
Just playin around. I'm really looking forward to meeting you!

Chris J
01-13-2009, 10:58 PM
Bring friends.

Chris J
01-13-2009, 11:38 PM
Just kidding, damn it!

LightYourNight
01-13-2009, 11:51 PM
ya ill be there! i just got my tickets and intenerary from fedex today. im hyped the resort looks great!

Chris J
01-14-2009, 01:17 AM
See you there my friend. All of your drinks are on me!

LightYourNight
01-14-2009, 01:20 AM
no no i insist... drinks are on me. haha. i look forward to meeting you as well. see ya

Eden Lights
01-15-2009, 09:22 AM
I went for the Dyson vacuum cleaner and a couple of Ipod touches myself. Have a nice trip.

NightScenes
02-12-2009, 03:11 PM
Cabo was wonderful. I caught my first Marlin. Chris and Sean also caught a Marlin!!

worx
02-12-2009, 03:57 PM
Where's the pics......

S&MLL
02-12-2009, 08:54 PM
If you guys dont mind me asking, whats the level for the trip?

My points never got sent in this year

Chris J
02-12-2009, 09:56 PM
240,000 points for two people, but you can always pay the difference if you don't have enough points. I hear it's really reasonable what they charge if you pay yourself.
Pics are coming, but I'm relying on the others to share with me cause I don't have a camera of my own and we didn't get to take many pics with the wife's camera (too busy having fun).
John, where were you? I was looking for you, but couldn't find you anywhere. I was waiting on that drink! (as if I didn't already have enough).

LightYourNight
02-13-2009, 02:12 AM
Hey Chris, We arrived late on friday. I was in san lucas almost the whole time. Met some ladies and partied way to hard. Kinda was on a bender. Shattered a bone in my foot falling off the stage at cabo wabos. Im an idiot(but you already thought that) :).

Really wish I would have ran into you. So much for networking. I feel really shitty I didnt take advantage of all the kichler events.

JoeyD
02-13-2009, 10:10 AM
LMAO........Congrats on the Marlin Guys!!!

Chris J
02-14-2009, 07:49 PM
I've been meaning to ask, but what does LMAO mean? I'm not too sophisticated when it comes to internet/texting terms.

MAGLIGHTING
02-14-2009, 08:26 PM
I've been meaning to ask, but what does LMAO mean? I'm not too sophisticated when it comes to internet/texting terms.

Laughing my A$$ off.

Chris J
02-14-2009, 10:52 PM
Ha. Couldn't figure that out on my own, so thanks. By the way, glad to see your back.

MAGLIGHTING
02-15-2009, 09:40 AM
Welcome back to you too, I was wondering where you've been.

NightScenes
02-16-2009, 03:42 PM
Here's Chris and his Dorado and me with my Marlin. Chris also caught a Marlin but I didn't get a shot of it before it was put back. I think that Gerry and Sean may have gotten it though. Very nice Dorado though!!

LightYourNight
02-16-2009, 03:55 PM
Beautiful fish!!!! Thats amazing. Congratulations!

NightScenes
02-16-2009, 04:02 PM
Chris and Gerry's dorados tasted quite nice that night as well. We took them to the hotel and they cooked up quite a bit of it for us. They kept the other 20 lbs or so.

MAGLIGHTING
02-16-2009, 06:55 PM
OK now I get it, The past president of the AOLP, three curent high ranking officials with the association, Treasurer (who is an employee of Kichler) Vice president of AOLP and at least 1 bd director who also happens to be a top distributor for Kichler on an all expense paid trip by Kichler to Cabo San Lucas . Did I miss anyone? Now I know why Joey D is LMAO.:laugh: I think I just may join him in LMAO :laugh:

Think about it.
I'm just sayin'.....................

MAGLIGHTING
02-17-2009, 08:11 AM
OK now I get it, The past president of the AOLP, three curent high ranking officials with the association, Treasurer (who is an employee of Kichler) Vice president of AOLP and at least 1 bd director who also happens to be a top distributor for Kichler on an all expense paid trip by Kichler to Cabo San Lucas . Did I miss anyone? Now I know why Joey D is LMAO.:laugh: I think I just may join him in LMAO :laugh:

Think about it.
I'm just sayin'.....................

Correction. former president not present. 3 Current bd members correct as previously reported.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-17-2009, 09:02 AM
OK now I get it, The past president of the AOLP, three curent high ranking officials with the association, Treasurer (who is an employee of Kichler) Vice president of AOLP and at least 1 bd director who also happens to be a top distributor for Kichler on an all expense paid trip by Kichler to Cabo San Lucas . Did I miss anyone? Now I know why Joey D is LMAO.:laugh: I think I just may join him in LMAO :laugh:

Think about it.
I'm just sayin'.....................

Mike, you are not the only one looking at this and questioning it. The optics of this situation are somewhat interesting. I am not suggesting that it is a planned coup of the AOLP, or anything of the sort, but those who are not in the "kichler kamp" so to speak are looking, wondering, and shaking their heads just a bit.

MAGLIGHTING
02-17-2009, 10:07 AM
Mike, you are not the only one looking at this and questioning it. The optics of this situation are somewhat interesting. I am not suggesting that it is a planned coup of the AOLP, or anything of the sort, but those who are not in the "kichler kamp" so to speak are looking, wondering, and shaking their heads just a bit.

James, you do have to be concerned where the power lies with this organization and question how this might influence bd. voting, policies and general direction when you see something like this. At the very least it's a public relations fiasco and it doesn't look kosher. I was one of the original 30 or so original founding members of the shell of what this organization has become. The by laws were written by the late Bill Locklin and it was called LVLIA. The mission statement clearly read that the intent was for this to be a CONTRACTORS association for the primary benefit of contractors. I highly doubt current motives when manufacturer members are consulted and not the contractor membership everytime a major decision is made.


To clarify- The past president of the AOLP was not in attendence which is irrelevant anyway as he is not a current sitting bd member.

LightYourNight
02-17-2009, 03:34 PM
Kichler shot JFK

S&MLL
02-17-2009, 04:07 PM
Do you guys know what the non kichler employees spent a year to get on that trip? Mike G I know you sell your own product, but for anyone else log onto your Kichler account........ I know chris is on top 5 list.

Everyone is always so quick to make judgements.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-17-2009, 06:29 PM
We are not making any judgements S&MLL... we full well understand how the Kichler points system works for contractors. What MG and I are commenting on is how the AOLP Board of Directors & Executive appears to be "stacked" with Kichler representatives.

MAGLIGHTING
02-17-2009, 06:41 PM
We are not making any judgements S&MLL... we full well understand how the Kichler points system works for contractors. What MG and I are commenting on is how the AOLP Board of Directors & Executive appears to be "stacked" with Kichler representatives.


I don't see how this could have been misunderstood but Yes, that is correct JS has done a very good job capsulizing my sentiments bringing light to the fact that 3 bd members are Kichler loyal and out of a bd of 6 members that is not a good thing. That's what some would call a stacked deck. I'm not questioning anything regarding them being deserving or not. That has not even entered into this.

niteliters
02-18-2009, 02:11 PM
7 board members in total Mike,

niteliters
02-18-2009, 02:57 PM
as a board member in my second year of service, a nightscaping man, i can only humbly say that you are wrong.

rlpsystems
02-18-2009, 04:00 PM
What are the advantages of joining the aolp?

msouthard
02-18-2009, 04:31 PM
I think you may find that some of the members use Kichler including a couple of the board members but that is because Kichler has aggressively promoted the AOLP to contractors and our distributors. In reality this does not benefit Kichler directly but ulitmately we believe it does benefit the industry. All the board members that do use Kichler and who were on our incentive trip were buying Kichler before they even joined the AOLP, so there is no coup being contemplated. Even those on the board who do not use Kichler including Chris and Mathew will tell you that I do not promote Kichler in any of our board meetings, rather quite the opposite I go out of my way to not do so. We need more members across the board and have everyone work toward the benefit of the entire industry which will ultimately help us all.

NightScenes
02-18-2009, 05:12 PM
Good points Mike but I would like to add that I support manufacturers and distributors who are members of the AOLP. I try very hard to use their products before I even look at non members but I do occasionally buy from non AOLP members. I STRONGLY believe that contractor members should support those manufacturers and distributors who are looking out for the betterment of the industry by supporting the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals.

I might point out that Coppermoon has taken some of us contractors out fishing at no expense and they are also members of the AOLP.

I'm also taking a free trip with California Landscape Lighting supply at the end of the month and they are also members from whom I purchase products manufactured by Kichler, NightScaping, ABT and others.

The main thing here is that I make the required purchases to qualify for these incentive trips just like anyone else.

I just wish all of the AOLP members would take the time and make the effort to support our manufacture and distributor members!!!!!!!!!!!!

NightScenes
02-18-2009, 05:15 PM
Ripsystems, I would love to talk to you about the AOLP so please send me an email and I will give you a call. There are a lot of AOLP threads on this forum so there isn't much sense in going over all of it on this thread which is about another topic.

rlpsystems
02-18-2009, 05:25 PM
Ripsystems, I would love to talk to you about the AOLP so please send me an email and I will give you a call. There are a lot of AOLP threads on this forum so there isn't much sense in going over all of it on this thread which is about another topic.

Dang Paul! It's R L P. I will get in touch with you about aoip

JoeyD
02-18-2009, 05:58 PM
For the record I believe the AOLP has good intentions. But I will also say that there are plenty of other manufacturers, Distributors, and Contractors outside of the AOLP who are for betterment of the industry and who strive to do all they can to grow the industry.

We agree that the AOLP should not have manufacturers on the board because it does send the wrong signal. But That is the AOLP's decision and not being members we have no say no mas! We do wish the association and everyone involved the best of luck!

msouthard
02-18-2009, 06:43 PM
Joey

That is obviously true, and no one said just because a manufacturer, distributor or contractor was not a member of AOLP they did not strive to benefit the industry and we know Unique does that as well as others. The AOLP is just one organization dedicated to furthering the lighting industry, others include IALD, ALA, IESNA, etc. This one just happens to concentrate on outdoor lighting. As for manufacturers being on the board, that decision was made by contractors only a few years ago. Manufactures and distributors had no input into this by-law change. Look at some of the most respected and well organized contractor organizations in the country and most if not all allow manufacturers, distributors and contractors to serve on their boards. The Irrigation Association, PLANET, and almost all the local contractor organizations do. All groups have a lot to add to any organziaton especially when your talking about volunteers, its not always easy to even get people to serve.

JoeyD
02-18-2009, 07:08 PM
Point Taken.....I think if multiple Manufacturers were on the board then this argument wouldnt be so valid but it is what it is. Whether its because other manus dont volunteer their time to be on board orthey dont get nominated is potentially part of the issue here but like Mike said we were getting a feeling of the board being "stacked" and it was hard for us to feel like we were getting a fair shake. The other manus that are their obviously dont mind so maybe its just us?

But at any rate....its a dead horse to beat now....not important on our end any longer. Like I said, we wish the best for the AOLP!

niteliters
02-18-2009, 07:50 PM
Joey, I don't believe another manufacturer has stepped up. I believe the by laws are set a a maximun of 2 manus. sooooo, reup, get nominated, canvas for votes, and maybe next year u can laugh with us at these types of emails since you'd know whats really going on...a group of diverse men and women seeking to improve our industry. Thier diversity (manus, distributors,students,asoociates,contractors), I believe is what make this association so unique and worth being a part of. Best to you my brother from another mother

S&MLL
02-18-2009, 09:30 PM
Sorry Mike G I did take your post the wrong way. Thanks for clearing that up.


On a side note why is the aolp so expensive?
I would like to join but seems expensive to read some forums.
Also I was gonna go out to Arizona but why was the convention so expensive?


Where is this money all going. The aolp still hasn't stepped in with our problems in jersey yet.

Sorry for the rant. Unless someone wants to inform me of the positives of aolp I dont think I will be joining anytime soon

MAGLIGHTING
02-19-2009, 01:14 AM
I think it's a great thing that Kichler and or anyone else would treat their customers to a vacation like this. I think its not a good thing when so many like minded and bonded individuals are on an asssociation bd. together making decisions.

This organization makes every important decision based on how it will affect their manufacturer members first. At $2,400 membership fee ( And several thousands more if they sponsor and participate at conference) for a manufacturer compared to $175 for a contractor is it any wonder? Contractors are dispensable, manufacturers are not. I don't blame the manufacturers , it's just the way the whole association is now structured and how it's evolved. If this is to be a contractors association like it was intended to be then it has to be different.

Talk is cheap for those who are defending the AOLP in this thread and are claiming that there is no major influence from certain manufacturers. I've been a member on two different ocassions and I experienced the politics both times.

A real and insincere game is talked by some members to your face as how the goal of the association is to advance the industry. That's fine as long as they have a piece of your action and are profitting from your installations. As soon as you become a "perceived " competitor or support a competitiors product than the gloves are off and it's no longer how we are all about "advancing the industry". Instead it's more about how we can launch a smear campaign to disable any possibility of you infringing on their market share.

So much for the celebration and embracement of new, better and innovative products. It's much easier and more effective to seed the industry with rumors of how your product uses too much electricity or even causes fires.
Haven't we gotten past all this? It seems not. And then you're supposed to come together for the so called betterment of the industry? I don't think so.

The truth is the association suffers from a revolving door with a very high attrition rate. Even at a measly $175 , many contractors do not see the value of remaining a member and they simply do not renew. Several manufacturers have come and gone too.

If the powers that be believe that the economy was the only reason for the very poor turnout this year than you are sorely mistaken and should take a deep long look at your practices and policies and especially your cavalier atitude regarding contractor membership.

Sorry if this upsets you but I have to speak my peace. If you are smart you won't get mad but you will realize you've got alot of changes to make if you are going to survive. Trust me when I tell you this sentiment is shared by many but won't bother to tell you. They just won't renew their membership.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
02-19-2009, 09:01 AM
He speaks the truth.

Now, there are some positive developments on the horizon too. I really think the recent momentum towards forming regional/local chapters of the AOLP is a good thing. Doing so will bring more control and responsibility for programs & support directly to the contractors and in turn should help increase interest in membership. At present the AOLP, as an international association, is just too unresponsive to the needs and interests of so few members spread over such a vast territory. (The situation in NJ, and here in Ontario are prime examples.)

I was not a member of the AOLP when it was decided to allow manufacturers and distributors to participate on the Executive & Board of Directors. Had I been, I would have opposed the change.

Bottom line, the optics of having a large proportion of the AOLP Executive directly involved in, or loyal to, the interests of one manufacturer is not a good thing. It will continue to incite controversy and probably result in fewer new contractor members joining and some deciding to not renew their membership. The situation has, to some degree, already cost the Association the membership of one Manufacturer.

JoeyD
02-19-2009, 10:06 AM
I must say Mike G.. Your post is right on in so many ways. As is yours James!

Word spreads fast and some of the same members who were singing our praises a year ago are now speaking out against us due to us pulling out. But that is to be expected I guess. We cant win them all!

Our explanation of all the reasons we pulled out is in our Unique Forum here on Lawnsite. There it is laid out as to why we left and the fact that it wasn't just that Kichler was on the board but that Kichler was on the board as were a couple of very loyal Kichler users and then Kichler put out a piece directly going at Uniques 24v system as being smoke and mirrors pitting our 24v system against their LED systems as if any halogen system can compete with the low draw an LED can produce. That was the straw that broke the camels back. We just did not want to continue to dump marketing dollars into an association that has our most outspoken competitor in control of those dollars.

Regardless if Mike is pushing Kichler at Board meetings or not is irrelevant. He sits on the board with that K on his shirt pocket and is helping influence decisions. Whether they are self serving or not does not matter. Had this piece by Kichler not come out then I am confident we would have most likely attended conference this year and still been supporting manufacturers. So them being on the board effected our membership which in turn is effecting others from considering. I promoted the AOLP to everyone of our customers through newsletters and through conversation. I enjoyed conference and working with the AOLP membership. But tough decisions have to be made at times. It's just the way the ball bounces!

I wish it was different. I appreciate your kind words niteliters, your one of the great guys in the AOLP for sure!!

Lite4
02-19-2009, 11:53 AM
Mike, James and Joey,
I have to agree with all of you. Local chapters are essential for gaining momentum and effecting change for the industry on a regional level. I think the AOLP has to get back to it's roots and be based on "the contractor" and not focusing on which manus products are the best and who is playing favorites.
It should be about teaching contractors:
1. Standardising installation practices for Certification on systems 12v-30v.
2. Business management, service and customer retention.
3. Image promotion of the general lighting industry.
4. Start local or regional AOLP chapters (contractors only) to positevely reinforce these principles in market areas that are a direct influence and impact on our personal customer bases. Recruiting of new members should include but not be limited to: Any contractors installing low energy lighting, Line voltage lighting, lighting designers interior/exterior, anyone dealing with LED or fiberoptic lighting installations. (Manus are welcomed and encouraged to attend, but can not be a voting member of the association.
5. Basic design principles should be taught, but new ideas and personal creative expression should be encouraged and tolerated in luminary design.
6. Regional chapters should have their members voted in by their peers in the industry.
7. The regional chapters should encourage their members to unite and work together on public related projects that are soley for the image enhancement and general local awareness of our industry. Projects should be neutral in nature, all labor comped, if manus want some credit and an opportunity to "reveal" their product to contractors, they would be encouraged to donate materials for such a project and would receive credit and worthy notation accordingly. All projects would be highly visible to the community and would be maintained on a rotational basis between contributing contractors. Appropriate media attention would be made along with numerous press releases to notify the general populus of the project and invite them to come and experience it. Temporary public lighting exhibitions could also be done with the same cooperation and media attention. The whole goal of this is to raise "lighting" awareness in our respective communities on a local level.
8. Local dues could be used to organize "non company specific" direct mail pieces or other marketing sufficient to again raise awareness about the lighting community with the goal of getting people to think of living their life indoors and out with thoughtful and creative use of "Lighting for everyday life".

There are many more I could go on about, but it needs to be in the hands of the contractors IMHO.

Firefly Lighting
02-19-2009, 04:04 PM
Being the current president of the AOLP and as Mike points out a non-kichler contractor I wanted to make a comment on what is being said on this thread. First of all I have been on the board for a while now and was one of the board members who (along with the rest of the board) decided that it was nessacary for the AOLP to allow manufacturer and distributor involvement. Manufacturers and distributors are a vital part of the industry and have the ability to support organizations in ways that contractors can not. The AOLP is totally a volunteer organization and being a contractor I can tell you that they as a group are not jumping over fences to volunteer, it always seems to be what can the organization do for me, not how can I help the organization grow or carry out its mission. So, having put so much time and effort into this organization I don't take it lightly when members and non members who are not involved in the association sit back and make false and misleading statements about things that they have little knowledge of. There is no one on the board that has a motive other than for this organization to grow and we do have 2 manufacturers represented on the board as well as 1 distributor and 4 contractors so I think that it is well balanced. Joey and Unique's issues with what Kichler sent out to are just that, their issues, and they should take it up with each other and leave the AOLP out of it. There is no conspiricy, the AOLP is still a contractor centered organization which is evidenced by our annual conference program and our certification programs which are all focused on the contractor. I could go on but I think you all get the point, its just a shame to see so much energy being focused on the negatives when there are so many positives.

MAGLIGHTING
02-19-2009, 09:01 PM
Being the current president of the AOLP and as Mike points out a non-kichler contractor I wanted to make a comment on what is being said on this thread. First of all I have been on the board for a while now and was one of the board members who (along with the rest of the board) decided that it was nessacary for the AOLP to allow manufacturer and distributor involvement. Manufacturers and distributors are a vital part of the industry and have the ability to support organizations in ways that contractors can not. The AOLP is totally a volunteer organization and being a contractor I can tell you that they as a group are not jumping over fences to volunteer, it always seems to be what can the organization do for me, not how can I help the organization grow or carry out its mission. So, having put so much time and effort into this organization I don't take it lightly when members and non members who are not involved in the association sit back and make false and misleading statements about things that they have little knowledge of. There is no one on the board that has a motive other than for this organization to grow and we do have 2 manufacturers represented on the board as well as 1 distributor and 4 contractors so I think that it is well balanced. Joey and Unique's issues with what Kichler sent out to are just that, their issues, and they should take it up with each other and leave the AOLP out of it. There is no conspiricy, the AOLP is still a contractor centered organization which is evidenced by our annual conference program and our certification programs which are all focused on the contractor. I could go on but I think you all get the point, its just a shame to see so much energy being focused on the negatives when there are so many positives.


"The AOLP is totally a volunteer organization and being a contractor I can tell you that they as a group are not jumping over fences to volunteer, it always seems to be what can the organization do for me, not how can I help the organization grow or carry out its mission. So, having put so much time and effort into this organization I don't take it lightly when members and non members who are not involved in the association sit back and make false and misleading statements about things that they have little knowledge of. "

It's very unfortunate that you choose to dismiss the facts as false and misleading statements instead of acknowledging that there are problems and you are working hard to improve them. That would be your first step in the right direction. How about these for false and misleading.

Tell me when anything I say here is false. You guys reading this please tell me how this is for treatment of a contractor member. I'm only going to get into two specific slights here there were more but I will cover only two here.

I was the first winner ever of your awards of distinction program. The first year the association was in existence. In fact I won all three categories there was no one else who shared any of the honors that year.

Tell me on your website or anywhere in your public promotional or archival material where that is mentioned or even acknowledged?

All other years are documented yet nothing exists from year one as if it never happened. You know it's true. The association got plenty of mileage by using my winning photos all over your website (until last spring), on your promotional materials, etc. All without ever giving Mike Gambino 1 iota of credit.

I also have the plaque to prove it which took 9 months and 5 phone calls to receive.


Now hear this. I was told my packet was never received by the judges 3 days before judging of this contest while I was still in Ca. I had to scramble around , go out to 3 clients and get their signatures once again at the last minute. Put all the photos together and fill out all the forms again and then Fed exed to Florida the day before I left on my plane trip there just so I wouldn't have been disqualified.

Then I'm told that the judges (told to me by a bd member at the time), who were not suppose to know whose photos they were judging, did everything in their power to try and give the other 2 awards to others whose projects were clearly and far inferior. Two days of wrangling and then they got the bd involved to strategize how they were going to pull this off. Finally they realized it was not going to work since the winning photos were to be shown on the screen the last night of the conference. So instead of rightfully awarding me all three categories they decided to deny me and turn around and say oh we are only giving 1 award this year. meanwhile I paid for three categories , was never offered a refund for the two, and went through hell to get that entry in when I was told that they mysteriously never received my original entry packet. yeah right!

And all of this why? because I used an upstart manufacturers product that was sold direct to me not through a distributor and certain member manufacturers and distributors were very much bent out of shape because they didn't approve of how this upstart company went to market.

For several years I e-mailed the association and asked them to please stop using my work without giving me credit for the photos and never acknowledging my victory on their website. All I asked for was the proper credit and they would have my permission to you the photos. I was told that they didn't need my permission and they kept on using them. I even personally spoke to you Mr. president at last years conference regarding this and you treated me with indifference and did not do the right thing. So very nice .

Needless to say my first tenure lasted 2 years and after such treatment I never renewed.

For several years I was asked by a few friends who stayed with the association to come back things had changed.

Last year I rejoined and went to the conference. I had good intentions. I wanted to get involved and let by gones be by gones and start fresh. I offered to work on the website. At least one bd. member made it clear that he had reservations about my being in control of the website. He had the nerve to say that I was going to use it as my own personal vehicle for my own benefit and self promotion. Ok Fine. I'm out if you feel that way then take care of the site yourself.

There is much more that happened after this but there is no use going into it. My point has been made.

Please don't insult me or anyone else and ever say again that I've made false and misleading statements regarding your association. I swear on my life that everything that I've stated here is the truth without embelishment or exaggeration.

You can come back in here and say that the first incident didn't happen on your watch but you can't deny what went on this year with you at the helm.:nono:

S&MLL
02-20-2009, 02:15 AM
;););) ;););)

NightScenes
02-20-2009, 07:59 AM
"The AOLP is totally a volunteer organization and being a contractor I can tell you that they as a group are not jumping over fences to volunteer, it always seems to be what can the organization do for me, not how can I help the organization grow or carry out its mission. So, having put so much time and effort into this organization I don't take it lightly when members and non members who are not involved in the association sit back and make false and misleading statements about things that they have little knowledge of. "

It's very unfortunate that you choose to dismiss the facts as false and misleading statements instead of acknowledging that there are problems and you are working hard to improve them. That would be your first step in the right direction. How about these for false and misleading.

Tell me when anything I say here is false. You guys reading this please tell me how this is for treatment of a contractor member. I'm only going to get into two specific slights here there were more but I will cover only two here.

I was the first winner ever of your awards of distinction program. The first year the association was in existence. In fact I won all three categories there was no one else who shared any of the honors that year.

Tell me on your website or anywhere in your public promotional or archival material where that is mentioned or even acknowledged?

All other years are documented yet nothing exists from year one as if it never happened. You know it's true. The association got plenty of mileage by using my winning photos all over your website (until last spring), on your promotional materials, etc. All without ever giving Mike Gambino 1 iota of credit.

I also have the plaque to prove it which took 9 months and 5 phone calls to receive.


Now hear this. I was told my packet was never received by the judges 3 days before judging of this contest while I was still in Ca. I had to scramble around , go out to 3 clients and get their signatures once again at the last minute. Put all the photos together and fill out all the forms again and then Fed exed to Florida the day before I left on my plane trip there just so I wouldn't have been disqualified.

Then I'm told that the judges (told to me by a bd member at the time), who were not suppose to know whose photos they were judging, did everything in their power to try and give the other 2 awards to others whose projects were clearly and far inferior. Two days of wrangling and then they got the bd involved to strategize how they were going to pull this off. Finally they realized it was not going to work since the winning photos were to be shown on the screen the last night of the conference. So instead of rightfully awarding me all three categories they decided to deny me and turn around and say oh we are only giving 1 award this year. meanwhile I paid for three categories , was never offered a refund for the two, and went through hell to get that entry in when I was told that they mysteriously never received my original entry packet. yeah right!

And all of this why? because I used an upstart manufacturers product that was sold direct to me not through a distributor and certain member manufacturers and distributors were very much bent out of shape because they didn't approve of how this upstart company went to market.

For several years I e-mailed the association and asked them to please stop using my work without giving me credit for the photos and never acknowledging my victory on their website. All I asked for was the proper credit and they would have my permission to you the photos. I was told that they didn't need my permission and they kept on using them. I even personally spoke to you Mr. president at last years conference regarding this and you treated me with indifference and did not do the right thing. So very nice .

Needless to say my first tenure lasted 2 years and after such treatment I never renewed.

For several years I was asked by a few friends who stayed with the association to come back things had changed.

Last year I rejoined and went to the conference. I had good intentions. I wanted to get involved and let by gones be by gones and start fresh. I offered to work on the website. At least one bd. member made it clear that he had reservations about my being in control of the website. He had the nerve to say that I was going to use it as my own personal vehicle for my own benefit and self promotion. Ok Fine. I'm out if you feel that way then take care of the site yourself.

There is much more that happened after this but there is no use going into it. My point has been made.

Please don't insult me or anyone else and ever say again that I've made false and misleading statements regarding your association. I swear on my life that everything that I've stated here is the truth without embelishment or exaggeration.

You can come back in here and say that the first incident didn't happen on your watch but you can't deny what went on this year with you at the helm.:nono:

:cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry::cry:

MAGLIGHTING
02-20-2009, 08:18 AM
The truth really hurts doesn't it Nightscenes. If you and your cohorts are smart you'll let it be and hope not too many people read this. Otherwise I'll go into explicit detail on the other lovely ways that your association has treated people.

niteliters
02-21-2009, 12:07 AM
coherts...let it be...is this 8th grade recess. If your smart, you'll let it be...throw your stones brother, this train is passing you by.

MAGLIGHTING
02-21-2009, 08:25 AM
coherts...let it be...is this 8th grade recess. If your smart, you'll let it be...throw your stones brother, this train is passing you by.


And this coming from a guy who says "Your brother from a different mother" on every other post. Real creative.

And you are a current bd member correct?
You do not refute my statements so it is that you are angry
because I won't keep your secrets that you attempt to mock me.

Thank you because you just have proved my point .

Buyer beware . Anyone who joins this organization you can expect the same treatment if you're not a part of the Good ole boys club.

How foolish of you Chris to bring this thread to the top again for more to see.

PS- You were not around at its inception. Why don't you do some investigating and find out where some of the money went during year 1. You'll find that association money was being used to pay the bills in 1 bd members business. Oh I'm sorry was that supposed to be hush hush too?

Keep prodding I have more.

JoeyD
02-23-2009, 11:49 AM
And this coming from a guy who says "Your brother from a different mother" on every other post. Real creative.

And you are a current bd member correct?
You do not refute my statements so it is that you are angry
because I won't keep your secrets that you attempt to mock me.

Thank you because you just have proved my point .

Buyer beware . Anyone who joins this organization you can expect the same treatment if you're not a part of the Good ole boys club.

How foolish of you Chris to bring this thread to the top again for more to see.

PS- You were not around at its inception. Why don't you do some investigating and find out where some of the money went during year 1. You'll find that association money was being used to pay the bills in 1 bd members business. Oh I'm sorry was that supposed to be hush hush too?

Keep prodding I have more.

holy crap.I hope thats not true.........:nono:

NightLightingFX
02-23-2009, 01:22 PM
I would like to make a comment about the "PRESENT DAY" AOLP.

Some of the points Mike makes are interesting. And I know there are some political BS going on. I am VERY disappointed that Unique left - Talking to Joey I can understand why Unique left. I wish there was more acceptence of Unique by the AOLP. These are kind of disturbing aspects of the AOLP.

On the other hand, I truely feel that the people controling the AOLP are trying hard to make it a good outdoor lighting organization. And despite what ever comments that are made about them they are good people with a passion for outdoor lighting. What I would REALLY like to see is everyone here making comments and reading about the AOLP join the AOLP and get involved. Help change the mood of the culture.

Mike G, and Joey I realize the AOLP may have offended you personally, or your low voltage philosophy. I LOVE the AOLP but I don't share those ideas that may have offended you so much as to leave the organization. I think the AOLP is the best resource to make some possitive impact for low voltage lighting. If you guys were on board it would help make the organization more diverse and hopefully in time the the culture of the controling body will change and be more open to all kinds of low voltage ideas.

I know understand that the AOLP has OFFENDED Mike G and Unique. I just want you to know that there are AOLP members that highly respect you and I would really like to see you turn the other cheek and be a member of the AOLP and hopefully improve the AOLP for the better.
~Ned

JoeyD
02-23-2009, 01:29 PM
Thanks Ned! Most the poeple I talk to share your same feelings. The decision is out of my hands though. Like I stated before if it was up to me I would have stuck around but the company made this decision, not just Nate but the company and I work for the company! LOL I cant speak for Mike G. but he has a long history with this association and he has some strong reasoning as to why he personally left, 2 times!

All in all, it is unfortunate...........we should strive to put this whole thing to bed and all move on. We have all said our piece 100 times in a 100 different ways and now it just becomes us vs. them and people taking shots at eachother for voicing a point of view. Mike G. has valid points and should not be critisized for voicing them as does the AOLP.

MAGLIGHTING
02-23-2009, 07:26 PM
holy crap.I hope thats not true.........:nono:

Joey, I certainly would not have said it unless it was true.

MAGLIGHTING
02-23-2009, 08:54 PM
I would like to make a comment about the "PRESENT DAY" AOLP.

Some of the points Mike makes are interesting. And I know there are some political BS going on. I am VERY disappointed that Unique left - Talking to Joey I can understand why Unique left. I wish there was more acceptence of Unique by the AOLP. These are kind of disturbing aspects of the AOLP.

On the other hand, I truely feel that the people controling the AOLP are trying hard to make it a good outdoor lighting organization. And despite what ever comments that are made about them they are good people with a passion for outdoor lighting. What I would REALLY like to see is everyone here making comments and reading about the AOLP join the AOLP and get involved. Help change the mood of the culture.

Mike G, and Joey I realize the AOLP may have offended you personally, or your low voltage philosophy. I LOVE the AOLP but I don't share those ideas that may have offended you so much as to leave the organization. I think the AOLP is the best resource to make some possitive impact for low voltage lighting. If you guys were on board it would help make the organization more diverse and hopefully in time the the culture of the controling body will change and be more open to all kinds of low voltage ideas.

I know understand that the AOLP has OFFENDED Mike G and Unique. I just want you to know that there are AOLP members that highly respect you and I would really like to see you turn the other cheek and be a member of the AOLP and hopefully improve the AOLP for the better.
~Ned

Joey thanks for your support. It's appreciated. Ned, after I left the first time I kept my feelings to myself and wished no harm to the AOLP. After this second round of abuse I'm not so forgiving. Bottom line is this . I am persona non grata and treated as such in the AOLP because I'm a contractor who is totally independent of the traditional manufacturer/distribution/sales rep way of doing business. This makes some people in this association very uneasy. In fact it scares the s out of them because they fear that others will follow and do what I do. In a nut shell they don't like my business model . As far as I can see Unique lighting does not have this fear or personal resentment for me.

If I played by their rules and used their products I'd be carried through the halls of the hotel during conference and i'd be the nicest guy in the world in their eyes. This is the hypocricy that I speak of. Their words of Trying to advance the industry is just plain BS. As long as you follow the traditional system they've set up maybe. Try being an independent and you're treated like a leper. Not every manufacturer/distributor feels this way. But there are enough of them to exercise influence there.

This association does alot of things wrong. Last spring I was told that my membership was going to be cancelled if I did not change my classification from a contractor member to a manufacturer and pay $2,400 within 30 days. The letter said that the bd consulted their manufacturer members and that was the consensus. How interesting, that's like asking the fox to watch the hen house. They felt threatened because I have my own products and they don't like it.
What about 90% of the other contractor members who had no say in their off the cuff vote. They were never consulted. That's what I mean about the bd serving at the leisure of the manufacturer members. And this is a contractors association?

Once I didn't respond to their letter they wrote me another letter and made it sound like they were doing me a favor. It said they had a vote and they made a new classification for me and wanted $600 or $800 I can't remember now.

Once I didn't respond to that they took me off their message bd and when others asked what happened to me they said that I was banned for threatening someone in a message.

That's a bunch of BS. They just wanted me gone once they weren't getting anymore of my money and so I wouldn't tell their membership what they did.

Ironically My renewal letter this january was to renew as a contractor member for $175. It went right in the trash.

I apologize to the majority of the members who are decent hard working people and who have their heart in the right place but I do not wish to give this association the benefit of the doubt any longer and keep my story quiet.

Why should I with this kind of repetitive poor treatment.

MAGLIGHTING
03-31-2009, 08:19 PM
Joey thanks for your support. It's appreciated. Ned, after I left the first time I kept my feelings to myself and wished no harm to the AOLP. After this second round of abuse I'm not so forgiving. Bottom line is this . I am persona non grata and treated as such in the AOLP because I'm a contractor who is totally independent of the traditional manufacturer/distribution/sales rep way of doing business. This makes some people in this association very uneasy. In fact it scares the s out of them because they fear that others will follow and do what I do. In a nut shell they don't like my business model . As far as I can see Unique lighting does not have this fear or personal resentment for me.

If I played by their rules and used their products I'd be carried through the halls of the hotel during conference and i'd be the nicest guy in the world in their eyes. This is the hypocricy that I speak of. Their words of Trying to advance the industry is just plain BS. As long as you follow the traditional system they've set up maybe. Try being an independent and you're treated like a leper. Not every manufacturer/distributor feels this way. But there are enough of them to exercise influence there.

This association does alot of things wrong. Last spring I was told that my membership was going to be cancelled if I did not change my classification from a contractor member to a manufacturer and pay $2,400 within 30 days. The letter said that the bd consulted their manufacturer members and that was the consensus. How interesting, that's like asking the fox to watch the hen house. They felt threatened because I have my own products and they don't like it.
What about 90% of the other contractor members who had no say in their off the cuff vote. They were never consulted. That's what I mean about the bd serving at the leisure of the manufacturer members. And this is a contractors association?

Once I didn't respond to their letter they wrote me another letter and made it sound like they were doing me a favor. It said they had a vote and they made a new classification for me and wanted $600 or $800 I can't remember now.

Once I didn't respond to that they took me off their message bd and when others asked what happened to me they said that I was banned for threatening someone in a message.

That's a bunch of BS. They just wanted me gone once they weren't getting anymore of my money and so I wouldn't tell their membership what they did.

Ironically My renewal letter this january was to renew as a contractor member for $175. It went right in the trash.

I apologize to the majority of the members who are decent hard working people and who have their heart in the right place but I do not wish to give this association the benefit of the doubt any longer and keep my story quiet.

Why should I with this kind of repetitive poor treatment.

I Received a phone message yesterday from AOLP asking if I intended to renew my membership. :nono:

Only time I hear from them is when they want renewal $.

Read through this thread AOLP and you will undoubtedly come to your own conclusion. :dizzy:

The check is in the mail

See ya :waving:

irrig8r
04-01-2009, 10:25 AM
Not having any experience with Kichler, I didn't pay attention to this thread until last night.

But it does contribute to my passing on membership renewal this year.

Thanks Mike.

NightLightingFX
04-01-2009, 05:26 PM
Those are concerning comments Mike made about the AOLP. As an AOLP member, I will be more alert to how things are handled. However, Regardless of some shady things that bd members may be guilty of. The AOLP is a great place for passionate outdoor professionals to network, learn and to establish some kind of national body to promote quality outdoor lighting - something that is despairatly needed. However, it is expensive to be active - the conference isn't cheap. Hopefully I will be able to make a conference every couple of years.

I am going to defend the AOLP by saying: "Go to one of their conferences and decide for your self." If you are passionate about outdoor lighting you will throughly enjoy the AOLP's annual conference.

The AOLP is also a great place to gain some credibility. By being a member and by passing the CLVLT exam an outdoor lighting professional can distinguish themselves from the hacks.

irrig8r
04-01-2009, 05:58 PM
I'm thinking there might be more lighting done just by the combined members of the CLCA than all of the AOLP membership.

CLCA already represents my interests in other areas that these days are even more critical (i.e. water use) and already has a strong political lobbying presence here in California.

JoeyD
04-01-2009, 06:38 PM
CLCA is a great orginization for california Landscape and lighting contractors but its only in California!

emby
04-01-2009, 07:18 PM
Definition of an Association

In general, an association is a group of persons banded together for a specific purpose. To qualify under section 501(a) of the Code, the association must have a written document, such as articles of association, showing its creation. At least two persons must sign the document, which must be dated.

The definition of an association can vary under state law. You may wish to consult the law of the state in which the organization is organized. Note that for an association to qualify under section 501(c)(3) of the Code, its articles of association must contain certain language. Publication 557 contains suggested language


;)

Definition (Union)

An organization of workers joined to protect their common interests and improve their working conditions.

Definition (Mafia)

any tightly knit group of trusted associates

Chris J
04-01-2009, 09:23 PM
ha ha. I like that explaination.

MAGLIGHTING
04-02-2009, 12:23 AM
Those are concerning comments Mike made about the AOLP. As an AOLP member, I will be more alert to how things are handled. However, Regardless of some shady things that bd members may be guilty of. The AOLP is a great place for passionate outdoor professionals to network, learn and to establish some kind of national body to promote quality outdoor lighting - something that is despairatly needed. However, it is expensive to be active - the conference isn't cheap. Hopefully I will be able to make a conference every couple of years.

I am going to defend the AOLP by saying: "Go to one of their conferences and decide for your self." If you are passionate about outdoor lighting you will throughly enjoy the AOLP's annual conference.

The AOLP is also a great place to gain some credibility. By being a member and by passing the CLVLT exam an outdoor lighting professional can distinguish themselves from the hacks.

I have no knowledge of any financial indiscretion beyond the first year nor do I imply it. It was an isolated incident involving 1 individual which was dealt with in private. The bd member was removed. As for any so called shady dealings those are not my words either. Unless you call playing favoritism and politics shady.

Most bd members should be commended as they have good intentions. On rare occasion there are some who have their own agenda.

Taking and passing an unaccredited test doesn't do a thing to distinguish you from the hacks. In fact those who have passed are doing no better or no worse than those who haven't. Having a few letters and numbers after your name doesn't make you a premiere lighting pro. How many who have passed are flat broke and cannot afford to attend conference? I heard less than 20 contractors attended this years conference. Primary reason-couldn't afford it. Who is kidding who?

You gain credibility not by your membership in this association but by getting results and building a client base. You distinguish yourself from the hacks with great projects and sound business practices. Your affiliation with this association guarantees you of neither. As for networking there are better opportunities to be found on lawnsite.

Since when has the AOLP promoted quality outdoor lighting and to who?

They just took on a distributor member before conference that had dirt cheap prices posted on their internet site. All of the products are clearly replicas of products already in the marketplace. Now I see that the suggested list prices appear on the site and not the end cost to whomever buys them, homeowners included.

Several of their distributor members are reputed to sell direct to the public over the counter or through retail internet websites.

Is this how they are promoting quality outdoor lighting by providing products supposedly meant for the pros to the general public?

Thanks but No thanks !

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-02-2009, 01:33 AM
The AOLP is also a great place to gain some credibility. By being a member and by passing the CLVLT exam an outdoor lighting professional can distinguish themselves from the hacks.

Ned, you are going to have to explain your logic here to me as I just don't get it.

How is obtaining the CLVLT from the AOLP, going to distinguish you in any manner what so ever?

Last time I checked nobody but AOLP members had any inkling as to what a CLVLT is. When is the last time you had a prospect or a client ask you if you were CLVLT certified?

If the AOLP were to focus a bit more on getting involved in the struggles of our industry, thus gaining a strong reputation and some notariety, and were to combine that with some effort at building public awareness of the brand... then in time you might be able to benefit from your 'credentials'

The way I see it going, it will not be long before the AOLP is a simple network of Manufacturer's, Distributors, and Direct Sales Agencies hawking their wares to any and all takers. They really should be more selective about what commercial interests they allow to join.

worx
04-02-2009, 08:15 AM
I would think successfully passing the CLVLT or the LITE would give you a leg up on the competition. Therefore gaining credibility with each customer through superior craftsmanship and knowledge. I'm not sure anyone would recognize the AOLP badge, but many people are used to seeing contractors associated with some type of organization/membership in there field.

MAGLIGHTING
04-02-2009, 08:17 AM
Ned, you are going to have to explain your logic here to me as I just don't get it.

How is obtaining the CLVLT from the AOLP, going to distinguish you in any manner what so ever?

Last time I checked nobody but AOLP members had any inkling as to what a CLVLT is. When is the last time you had a prospect or a client ask you if you were CLVLT certified?

If the AOLP were to focus a bit more on getting involved in the struggles of our industry, thus gaining a strong reputation and some notariety, and were to combine that with some effort at building public awareness of the brand... then in time you might be able to benefit from your 'credentials'

The way I see it going, it will not be long before the AOLP is a simple network of Manufacturer's, Distributors, and Direct Sales Agencies hawking their wares to any and all takers. They really should be more selective about what commercial interests they allow to join.

In my opinion this is what it has become already. Very little membership benefit for anyone.

MAGLIGHTING
04-02-2009, 08:18 AM
I would think successfully passing the CLVLT or the LITE would give you a leg up on the competition. Therefore gaining credibility with each customer through superior craftsmanship and knowledge. I'm not sure anyone would recognize the AOLP badge, but many people are used to seeing contractors associated with some type of organization/membership in there field.

I am amazed at this statement. This is unbelievable.

worx
04-02-2009, 08:35 AM
Please explain Mike.

JoeyD
04-02-2009, 01:06 PM
The AOLP and LITE are 2 very seperate things as most of you know. AOLP CLVLT's purpose is to create an industry standard regarding Low Voltage Lighting installation and over time to grow the CLVLT to where it is nationally recognized, atleast that was how it was explained to me a few years ago.

Where as the LITE program certification is to ensure that the person being certified is qualified to install specified and designed projects as well as new construction. LITE has no intent of trying to create a standardized installation practice, instead LITE wants to instill confidence in the LA's and LD's that are sending jobs out to bid. LITE will be and already is getting LA's and LD's to specify on plan that the installer MUST BE LITE CERTIFIED so although you may never and probably will never here a homeowner ask if you are LITE certified you may end up having an opportunity to bid a job where the LA or LD requires you to be LITE certified to install the project. Obviously LITE is a great way to get educated on lighting installation, design, and troubleshooting practices as well.

more info here at www.TheLITEProgram.com

dwightschrute
04-02-2009, 01:12 PM
sounds like NILLA

JoeyD
04-02-2009, 01:37 PM
Except NILLA never had the intention of working so closely with specification. NILLA was simply a Unique Lighting Systems association that had best of intention but wasnt laid out properly for the long haul. LITE has multiple manufacturers participating and teaching their own and or contributing to their own certification modules. So LITE is sort of like NILLA re-invented if you will with better orginization and more thought into the long haul with more purpose then just to get guys installing Unique Systems. We learned a lot from NILLA.

Remember LITE doesnt mean you have to love or use Unique soley. LITE just wants you to be able to understand the complex jobs that we may asist with design on. We want to make sure that Vista or Kichler or FX guy is confident with a 24v system should he get the opportunity to bid it. We are asissting speciifcation with some seriously nice projects ranging from 40-4000 lights!! I dont think any lighting guy is so rich that he would pass up the potential to install or bid on a 500 light project at a resort or hotel. Remember you can gain LITE certification ON SITE as well. You do not need to attend a class. If you are awarded a LITE required project we can certify you on that project.

NightLightingFX
04-02-2009, 02:39 PM
Ned, you are going to have to explain your logic here to me as I just don't get it.

How is obtaining the CLVLT from the AOLP, going to distinguish you in any manner what so ever?

Last time I checked nobody but AOLP members had any inkling as to what a CLVLT is. When is the last time you had a prospect or a client ask you if you were CLVLT certified?

If the AOLP were to focus a bit more on getting involved in the struggles of our industry, thus gaining a strong reputation and some notariety, and were to combine that with some effort at building public awareness of the brand... then in time you might be able to benefit from your 'credentials'

The way I see it going, it will not be long before the AOLP is a simple network of Manufacturer's, Distributors, and Direct Sales Agencies hawking their wares to any and all takers. They really should be more selective about what commercial interests they allow to join.

OK, Let me clarify. Contractors like James and Mike who are established in their profession. They do excellent work, they have a strong body of work and are very confident in their abilities - They are not the norm. For 95% of all the other contractors who are in the business or trying to get in the business, the best way for them to distinguish themselves and establish some type of credibility is to get involved with an association and to gain some type of certification. Doesn't that make sense??? How else can contractor distinguish himself from the hacks if they don't have a large body of work to fall back on?

FYI, as far as being succussfull as a business man in outdoor lighting, I haven't got there yet. But by being involved with the AOLP, I definatly have found my passion, and I have established a level of credibility no one else in the State of Washington can claim. I am not saying that I am comparable to James or Mike but I do know that by my involvement with the AOLP I can claim that there isn't any outdoor lighting professional better than me in the Northwest (there maybe some professionals equal to me).

By being involved with the AOLP I have been able to meet outdoor lighting legends of today such as: Jan Moyer, Nate Mullen, Tom Williams, Mike G, and etc.

Maybe James and Mike might not benefit a whole lot by being involved with the AOLP. But people who want to learn the business from the best are missing out by professionals like Mike not being a member.
~Ned

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-02-2009, 03:32 PM
Maybe James and Mike might not benefit a whole lot by being involved with the AOLP. But people who want to learn the business from the best are missing out by professionals like Mike not being a member.
~Ned

That is a very interesting comment and viewpoint Ned... well developed. Now I have to ask you to think about this:

Why would the top professionals have an interest to be members of this organization? I understand why others would be attracted to join, and learn from "the best". But you also have to have some reason for "the best" to want to be a part of it too.

The conference is fine I guess, but personally I don't need the expense of $ and time, to travel far and wide, to spend a valuable week away from my family and business... but maybe that is just me. They have a forum too, one that is seldom used by a relatively small contingency... there are better forums out there (like here - as evidence by the volume of posts). Some distribution and manufacturing members offer contractor members discounts and such, but nothing that you could not achieve by developing a strong loyalty with your local distributor. When asked to provide support for emerging issues of regulation, licensing, etc. etc. we here in Ontario ran into a brick wall, little understanding, and a general lack of willingness to participate... So we are going it alone and developing our own programs... no AOLP satellite chapter here!

It leaves me asking myself WIIFM? The answer.... NVFM!

Regards.

MAGLIGHTING
04-02-2009, 08:55 PM
Please explain Mike.

I don't mean to single you out Steve, I am just amazed at what some of the new guys to this business post on this and other message bds.

The dependency on doing demo's, hub system as the one and only method, insistence on using Higher voltage transformers because the belief is that they are indispensible, won't use brass lugs because they cost too mjuch and are labor intensive, reliance on post card ads, belonging to an association and feeling that somehow this will bring you work or achieving certificating and believing you are the best in your area because of it. Asking design opinions of others in forums etc.

there is no magic bullet or straight line to success. All of these beliefs and practices just keeps you from going outside your comfort zone and building a business beyond your wildest dreams.

Passing a test, winning an award both are a big boost to the ego and the plaque may look good hanging on the wall.

But don't believe for a second that this is somehow going to land you jobs or bring you leads that you would not have ordinarily gotten. That's all I'm saying.

worx
04-03-2009, 08:44 AM
Mike, let me start out by saying, I appreciate the fact you and many of the other established professionals participate on this forum for a number of reasons, one of which is honest advice. Otherwise I would be isolated from such knowledge unless I joined an association such as AOLP.

I agree with much of what you said, those things may not bring more clients but I feel they will make me a better lighter. (demo, cert.) I took the local 1 day seminar hosted by a manu. then I studied and passed the exams required by the state to be licensed. I feel like I graduated high school, but would like some college education now. The new LITE certification appears to offer an excellent learning opportunity for me, because I am far from knowing it all. The only other way I can see this happening is if I could work with you (or someone else as qualified) for a # of years. I see demo's as a chance for some OJT that I might not otherwise get. The combination of demos and certification are my primary learning tools when actual installs are somewhat slow. Will those things bring in the clients, probably not, but it will certainly build my confidence and more than likely take me above and beyond my local competition with increased design and installation skills. That is my reason behind the madness anyway.

Thank you to Mike, and all the other pro's, for sharing all your hard learned knowledge!!!

NightLightingFX
04-03-2009, 05:52 PM
That is a very interesting comment and viewpoint Ned... well developed. Now I have to ask you to think about this:

Why would the top professionals have an interest to be members of this organization? I understand why others would be attracted to join, and learn from "the best". But you also have to have some reason for "the best" to want to be a part of it too.

The conference is fine I guess, but personally I don't need the expense of $ and time, to travel far and wide, to spend a valuable week away from my family and business... but maybe that is just me. They have a forum too, one that is seldom used by a relatively small contingency... there are better forums out there (like here - as evidence by the volume of posts). Some distribution and manufacturing members offer contractor members discounts and such, but nothing that you could not achieve by developing a strong loyalty with your local distributor. When asked to provide support for emerging issues of regulation, licensing, etc. etc. we here in Ontario ran into a brick wall, little understanding, and a general lack of willingness to participate... So we are going it alone and developing our own programs... no AOLP satellite chapter here!

It leaves me asking myself WIIFM? The answer.... NVFM!

Regards.

The only reasons I can think of for well established professionals like you and Mike to be involved with the AOLP would be: 1) They enjoy being around the people, & like sharing their craft 2) They believe in the organization and they want outdoor lighting to be properly recognized professionally & nationally.

Lets face it, there is a cost involved and that is where one has to assess if the cost is worth it or not. (Having met both James and Mike I think they both would fall under the reason #1 catagory) I can understand where you and Mike are coming from, and I can understand why you might not think it is worth it.

It just seems like we need some type of national organization. Since the AOLP is established, lets work with what we have. If someone started up another organization I am sure it would have political issues that would upset a lot of people just like the current AOLP has. How does one create a perfect trade organization?
~Ned

The Lighting Geek
04-03-2009, 08:50 PM
Having just had a meeting of several lighting professionals here locally, It was a consensus of opinion that the future of AOLP rests in the development of local chapters and districts. We (CA chapter) really want to educate the consumer and the typical landscape contractor about quality lighting. We want certification to be locally proctored. What benefits us is influencing our local business environment. I believe local involvement would benefit each of us.

MAGLIGHTING
04-03-2009, 09:23 PM
The only reasons I can think of for well established professionals like you and Mike to be involved with the AOLP would be: 1) They enjoy being around the people, & like sharing their craft 2) They believe in the organization and they want outdoor lighting to be properly recognized professionally & nationally.

Lets face it, there is a cost involved and that is where one has to assess if the cost is worth it or not. (Having met both James and Mike I think they both would fall under the reason #1 catagory) I can understand where you and Mike are coming from, and I can understand why you might not think it is worth it.

It just seems like we need some type of national organization. Since the AOLP is established, lets work with what we have. If someone started up another organization I am sure it would have political issues that would upset a lot of people just like the current AOLP has. How does one create a perfect trade organization?
~Ned


I just see things from a different point of view. All the power in this industry is controlled by the manufacturers and distributors. They have all of the money and they make all the rules. They decide who you are going to buy their product from. They do the lion's share of the instruction to new comers. There interests are to generate as many contractors as they can who will hopefully be brand loyal to buy their product. To them the more the merrier, it's a numbers game. Same thing with distribution, the more outlets you have your product in the more chance of making sales. The industry is so fragmented and contractors are mostly small mom and pop shops who have no power , little money or say so.

It is very very difficult to establish a lighting only design/build business anywhere in this country. Succesful niche operations are very very rare. The system is not set up to support niche businesses. How can it be when manu's and distributors are looking to turn every landscaper, irri, masonry, handyman, gardener into a lighter. What other industry does this?

Very few manu's and distributors care about protecting their golden goose who is the contractor. Many encourage retail sales at close to contractor prices. Many rely upon it because competition , with there being so many product choices, has become so fierce it's a matter of survival for some.

The LVLIA/AOLP was intended to be a contractors organization. A contractors organization for the benefit of contractors. I didn't see too many benefits for the contractor in this organization in 2001 or whenever it was founded. In 2009 I see even less with the proliferation of manufacturers and distributors who have become members. Now it's becoame a place for them to market and sell to a captive audience.

Janet Moyer has never paid a penny to be a member of AOLP. She is paid to come to conference. I highly doubt she would be a member if that arrangement she has with the association changed.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-03-2009, 09:46 PM
Hey Mike, I have to ask you;(Tongue planted firmly in my cheek.) If the AOLP were to decide to change poster children, and named you as their next 'Cellebutant Lighting Guru', offering you all of the sames benefits and glamour as the current arrangements offer others, would you accept? :)

MAGLIGHTING
04-03-2009, 09:54 PM
Having just had a meeting of several lighting professionals here locally, It was a consensus of opinion that the future of AOLP rests in the development of local chapters and districts. We (CA chapter) really want to educate the consumer and the typical landscape contractor about quality lighting. We want certification to be locally proctored. What benefits us is influencing our local business environment. I believe local involvement would benefit each of us.


Tommy what is your plan? How will you go about educating the consumer and the typical landscape contractor? Who is going to pay the high cost to do this? The manufacturers and distributors? And whose "better high quality" system ( aluminum, brass, copper, halogen, LED, incandescant, 1838, 24 V, hub, Tee, etc.) is going to be promoted since there is no unification to speak of ? How is this any different than status quo? Wouldn't the CLCA which is a state organization be a better organization to partner with than the AOLP which has no local presence?

Thanks I look forward to your response.

MAGLIGHTING
04-03-2009, 10:12 PM
Hey Mike, I have to ask you;(Tongue planted firmly in my cheek.) If the AOLP were to decide to change poster children, and named you as their next 'Cellebutant Lighting Guru', offering you all of the sames benefits and glamour as the current arrangements offer others, would you accept? :)

Glamour that's a good one. It may appear like mentioning Janet's deal is sour grapes but Not a chance James- honestly. I mentioned it only to state that the AOLP pays for her membership and implied endorsement and I'll bet they would never get it without pay. That's my point.

I think you can tell that I'm not out to win a popularity contest and not afraid to speak my mind. I can afford to pay for membership and to attend conference if it were worthwhile and I don't make my living as an educator as Janet does. Janet is smart and I don't begrudge her deal. She's a savy business woman and gets paid for what she does and deservedly so. I'm not a speaker or educator or polished in that manner. I'm a hands in the transformer blue collar contractor .

How about you-the same question?

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-03-2009, 10:46 PM
The LVLIA/AOLP was intended to be a contractors organization. A contractors organization for the benefit of contractors. I didn't see too many benefits for the contractor in this organization in 2001 or whenever it was founded. In 2009 I see even less with the proliferation of manufacturers and distributors who have become members. Now it's becoame a place for them to market and sell to a captive audience.


Sure looks that way Mike.

I seem to recall, going way way back now, a certain guy named Bill who told/warned all who would listen, that if they allowed manufacturers into "their association", then it would change the nature of the beast for all time to come.

There are some out there who will try to claim that Bill was trying to 'corner the market' and start an association for contractors that would simply exclude any competing interests. If that were so, would he have established it in the nature that he did? Would he have set it up to run democratically or would he have set it up more as a private club with a sole leader?

Anyway, that is ancient history now. Not much can be done about it. And with Manufacturers, Distributors, and Direct Sales Agents forming the largest revenue stream of the current AOLP, it is likely to not change in the near future.

Join it if you need to, and if you must. There is some good there for some. Perhaps this move to regional chapters will signify a major advancement for the needs of the contractor members.

Then again, maybe not. Our group here at Landscape Ontario (The second largest green industry association in North America) recently tried to partner with the AOLP in offering the CLVLT program, tailored specifically for the Ontario marketplace. Rather than see this as a huge opportunity to branch out and spread the realm of influence of the AOLP, they shortsightedly saw this as potential stream of revenue. Rather than allow us to moderate and deliver the current program to our members here, for a modest fee ( LO does not use certification and testing programs as a profit center) The AOLP insisted on having us charge a large, significant fee for using "their" (and I use this in quotes for good reason!) program and would require us to pay a 'renewal fee' for each certification too. Ultimately this was unattractive to us here, so we have decided to 'break ranks' and go it alone. We are now in the midst of developing our own training and certification program and the interest level of our members in joining or maintaining their relationship with the AOLP is at an all time low.

Have a great day.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
04-03-2009, 10:55 PM
Glamour that's a good one.

How about you-the same question?

Naw, it's not for me either Mike. I am just a lighting guy from the North Woods. I mean really, what do I know about any of this? :laugh:

I can stand up and pontificate about the importance of environmentally friendly outdoor lighting practises, or vehemently debate the technical merits of LED lamps, but I think I lack that 'celebutant status' that would be required for the job!

Now someone who gets flown across continents in a private jet.... That is the person for the job! :clapping:

MAGLIGHTING
04-03-2009, 11:02 PM
Sure looks that way Mike.

I seem to recall, going way way back now, a certain guy named Bill who told/warned all who would listen, that if they allowed manufacturers into "their association", then it would change the nature of the beast for all time to come.

There are some out there who will try to claim that Bill was trying to 'corner the market' and start an association for contractors that would simply exclude any competing interests. If that were so, would he have established it in the nature that he did? Would he have set it up to run democratically or would he have set it up more as a private club with a sole leader?

Anyway, that is ancient history now. Not much can be done about it. And with Manufacturers, Distributors, and Direct Sales Agents forming the largest revenue stream of the current AOLP, it is likely to not change in the near future.

Join it if you need to, and if you must. There is some good there for some. Perhaps this move to regional chapters will signify a major advancement for the needs of the contractor members.

Then again, maybe not. Our group here at Landscape Ontario (The second largest green industry association in North America) recently tried to partner with the AOLP in offering the CLVLT program, tailored specifically for the Ontario marketplace. Rather than see this as a huge opportunity to branch out and spread the realm of influence of the AOLP, they shortsightedly saw this as potential stream of revenue. Rather than allow us to moderate and deliver the current program to our members here, for a modest fee ( LO does not use certification and testing programs as a profit center) The AOLP insisted on having us charge a large, significant fee for using "their" (and I use this in quotes for good reason!) program and would require us to pay a 'renewal fee' for each certification too. Ultimately this was unattractive to us here, so we have decided to 'break ranks' and go it alone. We are now in the midst of developing our own training and certification program and the interest level of our members in joining or maintaining their relationship with the AOLP is at an all time low.

Have a great day.

Bill's brainchild ,What had become LVLIA, was originally intended to be a manufacturers association and not open to contractors. Not one manufacturer would join Bill in spite of his best efforts over the years. Bill paid for the bylaws to be written with his own funds. This is what he told me. Since he had the investment already made and not one manufacturer would join he decided to make it a contractors association.

I think his feeling towards fellow manufacturers was somewhat jaded when they wanted to join after making it a contractors association and not before.

The Lighting Geek
04-04-2009, 12:10 AM
Tommy what is your plan? How will you go about educating the consumer and the typical landscape contractor? Who is going to pay the high cost to do this? The manufacturers and distributors? And whose "better high quality" system ( aluminum, brass, copper, halogen, LED, incandescant, 1838, 24 V, hub, Tee, etc.) is going to be promoted since there is no unification to speak of ? How is this any different than status quo? Wouldn't the CLCA which is a state organization be a better organization to partner with than the AOLP which has no local presence?

Thanks I look forward to your response.

Mike, we are formulating a plan as we speak and working out details. I don't think it will be simple nor easy. Quality is not just components necessarily, but the other things you and I know makes a quality install. The tentative plan is to work through the local distributors equally to work with contractors. Consumers, we are looking at possible doing some charity work. We will be discussing some sort of involvement with APLD and CLCA in the future, as you have pointed out is already in place and has many ways for us to plug in so to speak.

MAGLIGHTING
04-04-2009, 08:48 AM
Mike, we are formulating a plan as we speak and working out details. I don't think it will be simple nor easy. Quality is not just components necessarily, but the other things you and I know makes a quality install. The tentative plan is to work through the local distributors equally to work with contractors. Consumers, we are looking at possible doing some charity work. We will be discussing some sort of involvement with APLD and CLCA in the future, as you have pointed out is already in place and has many ways for us to plug in so to speak.

So you want to work with the distributors to help them build your own competition by way of training landscape contractors so distributors benefit from increased sales? And this benefits the member contractor how?

I think I like the current system better where the distributor gets the landscape contractor all pumped up to add lighting to their service mix. Then when the landscape job is coming close to finish and the budget has been stretched so far that lighting is what is significantly cut back on. Cheap fixtures are used, questionable installation technique and the whole thing turns out a mess and a huge headache for the homeowner.

Then the homeowner after becoming totally frustrated a year later and a few dollars more calls Tommy Geek to give them what they originally wanted. And everyone lives happily ever after.

My kids college funds are invested in this system.

If it isn't broken why fix it?