View Full Version : AOLP Benefits

10-13-2010, 11:38 AM
Ok, I know this has been discussed at length but I would like to get some current feedback on the benefits of joining the AOLP. I have been on the fence about joining for quite a while. Its not just about the expense but it does add up - from membership, conference cost, certifications, lighting awards competition ..... I dont mind the expense but I would like to hear some comments on the benefits.
What kind of support do you recieve?
Is there much discussion on the AOLP forum?
Whats the attendance like at the annual conference?

Thanks in advance, Steve

10-13-2010, 05:41 PM
Hello Steve, I can speak from my perspective as a member who also serves on the board. The support I have received has been invaluable. For me...it's been the friendships built thru the years and the help those friendships have afforded my business. this chat room is very helpful, but I am a "face to face" person. After attending my first conference there was an increase in our business that I credit to attending the conference but more importantly the networking and friendships with professionals all over the country..and Canada :). The Forum fluctuates, sometimes active, sometimes not. Attendance at the conference the last 5 years i have attended has been what it's been. As a member, I never focused on the numbers that attended, rather, did I gain exceptional networking contacts and did I learn. As a board member, i do look at the numbers. I am hopeful that there will be 100 + this year. A lot of emphasis in years past was put on the conference and rightfully so. It was the only event we had, and it was an exceptional place to learn and network. The future is different. There are local chapters being created as well as local testing for c.l.v.l.t. There is already a chapter in your neck of the woods. Contact Paul Gosselin with Night-Scenes for more info on that. hope this is helpful. Look forward to you joining and making the trip to the conference in Phoenix.

10-13-2010, 07:17 PM
The AOLP has been a great group to be associated with. It was a real charge for me to meet with so many people passionate about lighting at the conference, and inspired me to get more involved. I've been working with several of the members and others to get a California chapter off the ground. Paul in Texas has been doing the same, because I think he too knows that the more support and friends you have in this business, the better it makes you professionally.

I have felt that membership was a fair price (especially compared to some similar organizations), and the real cost is in the conference and the offerings there. There has been a lack of local benefit to you and me, and that is where the chapters will come in. With the formation of the new chapters there will be a real benefit to us. Regional testing for the CLVLT is just the beginning. We are hosting our first Night Garden tour tomorrow night. We will be putting together a seminar series for specific experience levels and target groups. We will have booths in local trade and garden shows, and already have a chapter website which eventually will be another source for leads.

The thing is, the group is small but growing. The upside to that is that if you get involved, you can help steer the future of the organization, instead of just riding along. Like anything, what you get out of it depends on what you put into it. The AOLP is certainly no exception.

-Andy Thomas CLVLT
President AOLP-CA

10-14-2010, 12:37 PM
I've enjoyed membership in AOLP. I'm fairly new- just a couple of years in, but I jumped right in and started participating - attended conference, got into the COLD program, met as many folks as possible! Great opportunities to learn from other designers and in the Certified Outdoor Lighting Designer program I have had the chance to learn how others do it - technical aspects, artistic techniques, tried new things and get to talk directly with some AWESOME designers at the conference. Received alot of value from a business educational piece 2 years ago, learned valuable photography tricks from George Gruel (does photos for Jan Moyer) This year there's a special educational piece on LEDs. Other speakers will talk about branding and marketing - all stuff I need to know! Leaders from the top landscape lighting companies are there, and tell about technology and listen to our ideas in roundtable discussion. I also like that I get to talk frankly with these company leaders about how I use their products, what I'd like to see for the future - and I feel that I am helping to shape the landscape lighting industry by providing my experience and input.

10-14-2010, 03:39 PM
Hello All,

I remember an old friend Bill once told me that get out of life what you put in. I had just sold my first lighting job and he asked me why I was only reading posts on Nightchat and not participating. From that point on, I thought about what he said and began to put in. If you want something from a group, it is there. From my experience at conference, there are a lot of really great designers. The best piece was to get first hand knowledge of the products that work, problems, sales solutions, and creativity - from everywhere. Some people were using products sucessfully that I would not touch, and others used mixes of products. I am confident that the value is based upon what you put into the group. I decided that I would start the COLD certification because it forced me to attend 4 years of conference. That means I have to go. This year our COLD 1 group is beginning a database of illuminating 1 specific plant material relative to our area. We must light that plant type in 4 ways and photograph them. If the designs cut the mustard, then they will be stored for the AOLP archives. I understand our industry has been about competition, especially locally for certain contractors. What the AOLP made me realize is that it is about our trade and profession. Growing together. Meeting people. Naomi, Jan and George were giving in such a helpful way that it was my priviledge to meet them. It depends on where you are in your career. I feel like my growth is close to the top, but then I see something different or learn of another technique or application... and the learning process begins again. I tell anyone on the fence to try it out... put something in. If you are asking the questions, you are serious about your lighting career and your clients.

Can you tell I am very excited for the upcoming conference?


Az Gardener
10-14-2010, 09:27 PM
My experience has been non existent. I paid my dues but never got so much as a membership card or any communication for 2 years until my membership expired and I was sent a form letter explaining my membership was expiring and giving me the cost to sign up for another stint :dizzy: No Thanks.

I signed up at the annual conference in Scottsdale mostly because it was here and we could get some more training. We don't even install new lighting jobs we just maintain systems for our existing clients as part of our overall landscape maintenance package.

I never received anything but a handwritten receipt at the conference. I called a couple of times after the conference because I expected some type of new member package. I never even received a return call. In all fairness I think the director quit or was fired shortly after the conference I probably just fell through the cracks but I was surprised that they didn't forget me when it was time to re-up my membership. That was the worst money spent as I literally got nothing for it. Yes its my own fault I should have spent more time calling or raising a stink on here to get some response but I just have more important things to do.

The conference was very good and all the other members were great. If I do anything in the future it will just be ala carte.

10-14-2010, 11:32 PM
I agree, the renewal letter could be more inviting. Something more than just "Hey you're expiring, here's the bill," would be better. I did get a membership packet my first year though, with good coupons and offers, and a membership certificate with my name on it. The second year I didn't get anything though, until I called the office and said so - then I did.

10-17-2010, 11:24 AM

10-17-2010, 12:38 PM
.................. Is that a negative or a positive comment about the organization?

10-18-2010, 01:18 PM
trialboss, how long have u been on the fence? Is lighting all you do? Do you service the saginaw area as well? how many years have you been designing/installing lighting?

10-20-2010, 01:09 PM
Another benefit is the Certified Outdoor Lighting Designer (C.O.L.D.) class that is offered. There will be information about that class posted shortly.

10-20-2010, 10:58 PM
trialboss, how long have u been on the fence? Is lighting all you do? Do you service the saginaw area as well? how many years have you been designing/installing lighting?

I have done landscape/hardscape design and installation for the past 12 years. We started doing lighting in our landscapes about 10 years ago and its become a larger part of our business every year. Its grown to a point where I think I could almost go full time lighting but sometimes its nice having the two tied together. I know some frown on the landscaper that installs lights but, I think having the landscape background gives us an edge on our lighting. We understand the mechanics behind the hardscapes that we work in and know how the landscape will change with age.
To be honest - I have looked at joining the association a couple of times but after adding up the expense (membership, conference, exams, time...) I have put the funds and energy towards what I felt was a more guaranteed ROI. But, after seeing lots of poorly installed systems out there I see the need for education. Also, I think showing our clients that we are members of an association may help show that we are interested in quality and craftsmanship.
I am still giving it some serious consideration.

10-20-2010, 11:02 PM
trialboss, how long have u been on the fence? Is lighting all you do? Do you service the saginaw area as well? how many years have you been designing/installing lighting?

Yes, we do service the Saginaw area.

Thanks, Steve

10-21-2010, 08:04 PM
glad that you're considering. if you are able to join and attend conference in Phoenix, I believe you would see for yourself that it would be an exceptional investment. My sister lives in Saginaw. Will look you up when I visit next year. Will PM you my contact info

10-26-2010, 11:00 AM
It would seem by the comments posted here and other areas that our main issue to solve is our customer service and contact with our members. We are currently working on ways to remedy these issues.
It also appears that everyone who has attended a conference has had a very good experience with it.
I would be great, and I think I will start a post asking for suggestions from you, our current members and those who are looking toward the AOLP for leadership in our profession. We also want to hear from those of you who are not members but would consider joining if we would just....
What is it that you expect from the AOLP on an ongoing basis? What benefits do you expect?
Let us hear from you on the post that I am about to create.

Thank you,

11-06-2010, 12:16 PM
as I mentioned in clvlt thread but wanted to note here as well for those who would otherwise miss. I am starting to see some ptotential work that is coming from having my clvlt. we have never really had any competition where I work other than landscapers and irrigation but now we are getting some and that certification from a non-profit, non-affiliated source is helping. What's also helping is I am starting to bring it up as a part of my design consult