ALA names new president, announces two staff positions

Jacobson to accept top post in 2015 upon Upton's retirement

The American Lighting Association (ALA) Board of Governors voted unanimously to name Eric Jacobson as the next president of the association, following the retirement of current president Dick Upton in January 2015. Elise Severson, CLC, CLMR, chairperson of ALA; and Clark Linstone, ALA chair elect, announced the decision.

Jacobson is currently vice president of membership development services and administration. He has been a member of the ALA staff since January 1994.

A special task force, called Forward ALA, formed to conduct the search for Upton's successor. Its members included four past ALA chairpersons and the two chairs elect for 2014 and 2015.

Forward ALA task force members include:

• Carolyn Overman (task force chair), vo-owner, Western Montana Lighting

• Ray Angelo, president and CEO, Westinghouse Lighting

• Zia Eftekhar, chairman (retired), Philips Lighting North America

• Fred Fennell, CLMR, owner, Fennell Marketing & Sales, Ltd.

• Clark Linstone, CFO, Lamps Plus; president, Pacific Coast Lighting, Inc.

• Tom Underwood, IES, CLMR, president and CEO, Saguaro Marketing Group, LLC

The task force delivered their report to the Executive Committee at the ALA planning retreat in Dallas on Nov. 14, and to the Board of Governors via conference call on Nov. 19.

Jacobson joined the ALA in January 1994, when it was reorganized with a professional staff. After graduating from Baylor University, he served as a President George Bush appointee at the U.S. Department of Labor for three and a half years, where as senior intergovernmental affairs officer he was a liaison to trade associations and assisted with Congressional relations.

While at ALA as vice president of membership development, the association's membership has grown from 460 to 1,400 members, an increase of 205%. Jacobson has been engaged in most aspects of ALA programming, including working with Upton on the ALA's annual Washington D.C. Mission.

Jacobson graduated from the Institute for Organization Management and earned the designation of Certified Association Executive from the American Society of Association Executives. He has been promoted to executive vice president of ALA for 2014.

"I am most pleased that Eric was chosen to serve as ALA's next president, and I believe he will help take ALA forward in delivering quality programs and needed action to advance the sale of lighting products in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean, and successfully fight for industry interests," Upton said.

The board also authorized the hiring of additional staff, including a new membership director, who will take over Jacobson's current responsibilities, and a vice president of government affairs, who will address legislative and regulatory issues.

A detailed transition plan has been developed and will be implemented over the next 13 months to ensure a smooth transition in ALA's leadership and programming, according to a press release.

Upton will continue to be ALA's president and CEO through 2014. Following retirement, he will serve as a consultant to the chairman of the Board of Governors and to the president for six months. In addition, the ALA is looking to Upton to serve as president of the ALA Education Foundation and treasurer of the ALA Political Action Committee. This service is targeted for two years (2015-2016) or more.

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