My Thoughts on AOLP Expo

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by JimLewis, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I just got back from GIE+ Expo & Hardscape North America Expo. What an amazing show!! Wow. I never had any idea. It's 10x bigger than any Expo I've ever been to. I was absolutely floored by how big the show was, how many different manufacturers, distributors, etc. were there.

    I was there more for the HNA show than the GIE. Just because I deal more with the design/build & lighting side of our company than I do with the maintenance side. But even though I was there mostly for the HNA, I still went through the entire GIE+ area and ended up learning a lot about companies in that area as well. Similarly, many of the guys who were there for the GIE+ Expo also ended up going through the HNA side as well. They were not separated. If you went to one, you could easily go into the other.

    When I was at the awards breakfast for the HNA I mentioned to one of the organizers how impressed I was with the Expo. She said to me that it is really only because of GIE+ that they are really doing well at all. She said, "We tried it on our own for many years and really floundered. But now that we're partnered with GIE+, it's really revived interest!"

    So that got me thinking; why do we have so many different expos in our industry. Obviously, a lot of the different things in our industry are inter-related. That's the very reason a lighting forum like this is on a site called LAWNsite. Because it's sort of an off-shoot of landscaping design/build, which is sort of an off-shoot of lawn work. Not that everyone who does lawn care necessarily does lighting. Obviously most do not. But there are plenty - like me - who do. I know several dozen in my area who are primarily lawn care companies but also offer outdoor lighting as part of their overall services they provide. Similarly, there are plenty of Hardscape guys who install outdoor lighting too! Even guys in the irrigation industry who do.

    Why do we have GIE, HNA, AOLP, and the IA show? Why not get all 4 of them together in one place? I have never been to the IA show. But I would bet that it's not nearly as big as the GIE show was. Probably not even 1/10th that size, in terms of the number of booths and number of attendees.

    I'm constantly getting the impression that AOLP is really needing more attendees. There's always lots of pressure here on Lawnsite to attend. Lots of emails. Lots of pressure from other AOLP members I know. To me, that indicates they are really trying to get more attendees. Well, partnering with GIE+ and having it at the same place next year would totally do that! The AOLP would probably get 10x as many people walking through their show. People attending classes would be WAY up. And we'd be improving the industry at the same time. A lot of guys in the Lawn Care, Landscaping, or Hardscaping category are already installing outdoor lighting now. But as we all have seen, most of them aren't doing a very good job of it. Nor are they pricing properly. This would be an opportunity to help raise the bar! Get some of those guys around the manufacturers more, get them in line with better practices, get them trained better, etc.

    Similarly, I think the IA show would also benefit. Anyone here been to the GIE+ / HNA show? Can you imagine how much even cooler it would be if there was a whole section just for AOLP and another whole section just for irrigation? Lighting companies are already attending this expo. Why not get all of them there? Lighting sales would go up as a result. Professionalism in the industry would increase. And the AOLP show would end up being WAY more successful.

    Anyway, those are just my thoughts. Just thought I'd put them out there. Me, personally, I'd absolutely LOVE to see a show like that, that included GIE, HNA, IA and AOLP. I'd attend every single year! That would be awesome! They have the room there...
  2. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    Jim, I live about an hour and a half north of Louisville. I went a few years back to get my ICPI certs and your right, it is massive. What a great idea to suggest AOLP line up with their event. I think that is brilliant.
  3. Classic Lighting

    Classic Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 512

    From a revenue and exposure standpoint, I think you are right. It would be a big boon for the AOLP.
    However, after being a member for a few years, I see the AOLP wants to distance itself from the landscape industry and become recognized as a specialty niche/trade industry and focus on the art of lighting.

    So it comes down to mass produced lighting systems or carefully painted works of art?
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I'm sure that's why they still do it the way they do. However, I think pretty much all of the manufacturers that exhibit at the AOLP show are more in line with the "mass produced lighting systems" idea anyway. That's the direction most of them are moving anyway. Why do you think several of them already exhibit at landscape shows all over the country. Several of them were at the HNA show. At least a half dozen or more come to the Oregon OLCA Expo. Over a dozen of them come to the IA show every year. They're already pushing their stuff on every lawn care and irrigation supply store in the nation. They're already going that direction. So IMO, if that's the goal of the AOLP show, they are already at odds with what the manufacturers are wanting.
  5. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    I think it would be nice if the AOLP were to continue its focus as THE association for outdoor lighting professionals. I think in recent years it has aligned itself far too closely with the manufacturers (for obvious reasons - $$$). If anything, the AOLP should be talking to the IESNA or IALD about joining ranks. Then they could remove their focus on membership growth and put that time, energy and expense into promoting the Association to the public; the same public who currently have absolutely no knowledge at all about the AOLP or what it means to be a member. Just my $0.02 for today.
  6. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    I think the only way for the AOLP to achieve its (our) goals (including the one about educating the public) is to embrace all tiers of the outdoor lighting industry. Mfgs. are needed to inject funds into the group, and so far, I think the leadership is doing a good job in giving mfgs. promotional opportunities without impinging on the designers' activities.

    Let's not forget that people who work for mfgs. like myself and my co-workers have a lot of passion for lighting and are always eager to hang with like-thinkers - not just to sell our stuff but to share our passion and to learn from each other.

    I attend lots of IESNA and other association meetings, but out of them, I enjoy the AOLP most.

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