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Meet the Team: Rod Equihua

Meet the TeamHow much do you know about our quiet, inside specification sales applications specialist, Rod Equihua? This dad of three loves being a family man and spending time at home with his crew when he’s not working up lighting layouts for clients! Rod loves playing soccer and whipping up anything you can find in the sea, like a California sushi roll or his specialty “Ceviche”. Ready to get the inside scoop on one of our favorite industry veterans?

Q: How did you get started in the lighting industry?

RE: I studied architectural lighting and then worked in the electrical lighting industry for 27 years before coming to SDLA a year ago. I have plenty of experience in the field, like electrical power and lighting design, but this is my first time working for an agency. I’ve really enjoyed the switch and love that I always have something to do, the team here keeps me busy!

Q: What’s your day to day like in the office?

 RE: The specification and distributor/contractor teams work with the client and then they come to me to create the layout. I bring the concept to design and then to execution by creating a layout of the project. Some projects require 3D modeling/rendering calculations, which will give the client a complete look into the luminaire characteristics, room specification and fixture type/placement. I work a lot with the electrical contractors and inside specifications team to communicate and deliver the best service to the client.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

RE: I love the daily challenges my job brings, each project is new and different, so each day I’m met with a new exciting challenge to conquer. There is never a dull day in this position, I always have something to do! I really enjoy working on detail and large projects, because a lot of time and energy goes into creating the model/rendering. Once the project is complete, it’s really rewarding to go back and look at all the work that went into making the large project successful. It’s always a great day when a client comes back after reviewing my layout and says “Yes! I love it and want to proceed with these fixtures!”.

Q: What do you like best about the culture at SDLA?

RE: I’ve worked at many places over the years and this is by far the best place I’ve ever worked. A lot of us say we are one big family, I agree, but I’d also compare us to a thrilling soap opera. Many people know me around the office to be pretty quiet, but I can always be found giggling at something one of my co-workers says or a story they’ve told.  I’ve only been here for a short time and everyone has made me feel so welcome. The nickname master Crock-Dog hasn’t given me an official nickname but people like to tease me about being quiet. Before leaving for the day they might say “Woah, Rod stop talking so much Bro or you are too loud”.

 

IIDA 2018 FASHION SHOW: PEACE, LOVE & GAUDI

Save the dateSince joining the IIDA, we love being able to sponsor the events that bring out the best and most creative sides in designers. Not only do we get to network with talented people, but we also see what inspires them and what direction designers are taking the latest or past trends to inspire their designs today. Which brings us to last week’s Fashion Show hosted by IIDA SoCal Chapter.

Last Thursday, we attended one of our favorite events of the year- the IIDA Haute Couture Fashion Show at Parq Nightclub in Downtown San Diego. This isn’t just any ordinary fashion show though. Architects and Interior Designers team up to create a design using materials from a partnered furniture manufacturer. If you watch Project Runway, it’s the real life unconventional materials challenge!

Typically, the fashion show committee picks a theme, but to shake things up, this year they left the decision up to the design community. Instead of choosing a single theme, there was a list of five iconic architects along with five fashion genres to choose from as the inspiration. The decision resulted in Antonio Gaudi, the Spanish architect best known for Catalan Modernism, and 1960’s Hippie fashion, the trend that was best known for its natural materials with an alternative, rebellious twist.

There were so many great designs from all the participants, and each model captured and embodied their inspiration to the “T”! But of course, we all want to know, who were the winners??

 

People’s Choice & Best Student Team – Mesa College
Best Theme Inspiration – ID Studios
Best Haute Couture – OCIO Design Group
Best Craftmanship – FPBA
Best Showmanship – HBG Design & RBN Design
 

Congrats to all the teams that won an award!

Again, we appreciate any opportunity to sponsor and attend all the local events the IIDA puts on, and we are glad to be a part of the association. To learn more about the IIDA and how to become a member, click the link https://iida-socal.org/.

Meet The Team: Laura Ramirez

Specifications sales team member, Laura Ramirez, loves traveling the country with clients and coworkers, but San Diego has always been home for this California native. If you’re looking for an adventure around the area she’s your go-to girl. Laura loves cross country mountain biking, trail running and camping. When she’s not tackling an adventure or client design challenge, she loves spending time outdoors with her four kids, (ages 2-9). Though you may have heard about the famous straw story from the Eureka trip in Montreal, there is a lot more to this team member’s story. Are you ready for the next SDLA page-turner?

Q: How did you get started in the lighting industry?

LR: I had just graduated college with a degree in interior design and was looking to work with architectural or interior design firms. Unfortunately, I started looking just before the economy crashed so of course, no one was hiring. I had to branch out and get creative in my search and I found an engineering firm with a position open. They were looking for designers who could help them select lighting for their jobs. As Danny would call it “I like the pretty sh%$.” I discovered in that first position that lighting was the one thing on the engineering side I enjoyed, and I’ve just kept going down that rabbit hole ever since.

Q: What’s your day to day like in the office?

 LR: My day in the office is different every day, every week. I’m a part of the specification sales team and my clients are made up of architects, interior designers, lighting designers and electrical engineers. With that wide range of clients, I can find myself hosting booths at tradeshows, running design meetings, or taking customers to lighting shows all in the same week. It keeps the job fresh and I love being out of the office, traveling with coworkers and clients. I work closely with other members of the spec team, like Maronee and Brian. And most recently, I’ve been working with our newly expanded quick quotes team a lot by helping facilitate orders for smaller scale projects and establishing budgetary pricing.

Q: Do you have a favorite/most rewarding project that you have worked on?

LR: I’m really excited to see the completed KSS Restaurant project. That project includes a lot of custom light fixtures that I believe will set this place apart, so I think we are all excited to see our hard work in action once the project is finished! Additionally, it was really rewarding to have our lighting package become a building standard at Terragen.

Q: What do you like best about the culture at SDLA?

 LR: I’ve been here for just under 2 years, and by far the best thing about SDLA is how strong our culture is. It’s incredibly special to have a unique culture, and there is nothing better than to be part of this team!

LIGHTSHOW WEST 2018: OFF TO SIN CITY TO SEE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS

On October 17th, our team hosted a group of customers to a day and night out in good ole Las Vegas where this year’s Lightshow West took place. With over 200 exhibitors, and 20 of them being our manufacturer’s participating, there was a lot to see in a short amount of time!

Lightshow West has become the largest West Coast destination for specifiers to see the upcoming lighting trends, and see products from the leading commercial, architectural, high-end decorative and controls manufacturers.

After the quick flight, the day consisted of stopping by our hotel, The Cosmopolitan, grabbing a quick bite to eat at Block 16 Urban Food Hall and then heading straight to the convention center to check out the show. Some noteworthy mentions were the new product announcements such as the Venue by Peerless- this large-scale pendant comes in a concave or convex triangle, square or rectangular shape; available in 4 and 5-foot sizes! Perfect for large, open spaces! Bruck lighting announced their new line of wood fixtures, called the “WEP- Wood Eco Project” Series- made of Argentinian wood, the texture and flexibility of the wood veneer allows for unique shapes; along with the ability to specify the shades size and choose different interior and exterior colors, the customization truly makes each piece original. Lastly, but not least, Bartco exhibited their new wet-rated family called Fathom. This line consists of 8 products with sleek sealing hardware perfect for any outdoor application.  Our guests were thoroughly impressed with ALL our manufacturers’ booths and learned a lot from the time spent at the show!  A few even mentioned finding the perfect fixture for their next project!

Afterwards, we enjoyed an indulgent dinner at Holstein’s consisting of big juicy burgers and creamy boozy milk shakes hosted by Acuity Brands! We continued the night with a ride on the Linq High Roller Ferris Wheel (where the highest point reaches 550ft), then landed at Harrah’s Piano Bar, hosted by Pinnacle Architectural Lighting.

To add a little fun, we challenged our guests to stop by each of our manufacturer’s booths; if they were able to complete this within the timeframe they were at the show, they would be entered in a raffle contest. As many completed the task, only two were lucky enough to win. Congrats to Jenny Oechel, of MPE Consulting, and Khris Tabaknek, of SmithGroup, for being our grand prize winners of the trip!

As everyone was heading to the airport to head back to good old San Diego, Brian stayed an extra day as there was another lighting show in town! Celebrating its 30th year, Live Design International, LDI, is the leading conference trade show for live design professionals. With over 400 exhibitors, the show consisted of the latest new tech and production equipment for international and live broadcast venues such as festivals, corporate events, theatre, concerts, clubs, theme parks, architainment, and houses of worships. Chauvet Professional, one of the main sponsors of the show and one of our valued manufacturers, did not disappoint with their massive display filled with incredible lighting! Over the convention, they featured the Maverick Storm 1 Wash. This IP65 rated RGBW LED is made of die-cast aluminum, has an insane light output of 6000 lumens and consists of a moving head- the first of its kind!

To learn more about the show or if you have any questions, about the mentioned manufacturers or want to know more about the show, contact Brian Rhea at brianr@sdltg.com.

Meet The Team: Shareef Stratton

This summer when Shareef Stratton wasn’t eating burritos with his coworkers, he was eating his way through Italy with his new wife on their honeymoon! It’s been an exciting summer for the newlywed who has been helping launch our new Quick Quotes department along with relaunching our softball team to the top of the leaderboards! Shareef loves living in San Diego where he takes full advantage of the beach and, on the weekends, is constantly on the go. He and his wife Michelle love to hike, camp and travel every chance they get. Did you get all that? Let’s dive into this month’s meet the team with our all-star distributor salesman, Shareef!

Q: How did you get started in the lighting industry?

SS: Seven years ago, I was in my hometown, Ventura, working in law enforcement, where I quickly learned that that career path was not for me. A friend living in San Diego offered me a position in sales at CED Carlsbad – a local electrical distributor- and my first thought was, “Who wouldn’t want to move to San Diego?” So I accepted the position and made the switch where the beginning of my lighting career began. Having a background in distribution has helped me a lot in my current role, especially since SDLA works closely with CED Carlsbad. Prior to my transition from an electrical distributor to a manufacturer agent, I was lucky to have insight into how the company operated and I was able to get to know the some of the team members before accepting the position here. Since I’ve joined the team, the last year and a half has been really incredible for me. And as an added bonus- with the growth of the company- I’m no longer the new guy!

Q: What’s your day to day like in the office?

SS: Each day I’m presented with a new opportunity in this role. Either out in the field finding the best solution for our clients, or in the office, problem-solving with the SDLA team. As a Distributor Salesman, it’s my responsibility to help our distributor customers stock and sell the right products for their contractors. It’s exciting to negotiate and work with our distributors on stocking agreements and design-build opportunities.

Q: Do you have a favorite/most rewarding project you’ve worked on? 

SS: The last few months, I’ve been helping launch our new quick quotes department and that’s been extremely rewarding. Creating a new department has challenged us all creatively, and it’s been exciting to see how effective and helpful the team has already been to our clients. Jessica and Chelsea, our quick quotes specialists, has improved my side of the business tremendously by reducing the time it takes to provide pricing and placing small orders for my customers. As I said, the addition of this department has significantly improved the way we are operating and we’re all eager to see where we can take the Quick Quotes Department.

Q: What do you like best about the culture at SDLA?

SS: The environment Danny, Brian and Kristin created here encourages creativity, togetherness and teamwork. We all are working toward a similar goal while also independently being pushed to be better. It’s inspiring working with a team that is driven and is passionate about challenging one another in order to find the best solution. One thing I think that is extremely underrated in the corporate world is amazing coworkers. I can honestly say that this team is more like a family to me, and that makes coming into work each day that much better.

 

 

IIDA: Design Connect 2018 – It’s All About the Design

On Tuesday, September 25th, SDLA participated in one of IIDA’s biggest events of the year, Design Connect, (formerly known as Neo Connect) at the Broadway Pier in Downtown San Diego. Having participated in previous years, this time around we partnered with GM Business Interiors, who joined us in putting together an amazing booth display to showcase just a taste of what we have to offer San Diego Interior Designers. With the current trend of designing large, open spaces, our focus was to highlight fixtures and special furniture pieces that help control sound levels along with incorporating functional task lighting and sleek, simple decorative pendants to round out the booth design.

Manufacturer’s that we highlighted in our booth consisted of: Eureka’s- Matrix, which is an acoustic, modular wall mural system with magnetic OLED lights that can be moved and arranged; Mark Lighting’s- Slot 4 LED Tunable White, a recessed linear fixture with tunable white technology enabling the end user to adjust the light color temperature from a deep amber for a relaxed atmosphere to an alert bright white. To continue with linear fixtures, we installed Coronet’s- RUSH which is an impressive low-profile luminaire with multiple options for color temperature, patterns, and dimming options, and the STFU LS1 pendant (a part of their acoustic line) that is wrapped in a sound control felt made by Turf to provide an all-in-one configurable lighting system that helps reduce noise levels.

We also added in some decorative pieces such as: the Gents pendants from Bruck Lighting, which is a simple cable pendant with socket base that perfectly displays vintage style LED lamps for a minimalist look and feel; Blackjack’s- Steelos pendant has a modern take on a typical chandelier- it’s a dimmable, tubular style pendant system with frosted acrylic diffusers in various sizes and can be adjusted to various lengths to create a unique look; and we also included a small table lamp from Artemide called Empatia- designed by Carlotta de Bevilacqua and Paola di Arianello- is a hand-blown glass lamp that displays a frosted ombre progression from top to bottom. And for the final piece, from TLS International – the TLS digital which is a tension LED system that is fully customizable for any surface lighting project. Each individual RGB pixel can be individually controlled and programmed for a large-scale LED matrix to create all kinds of scenes that sync to sounds and music- it’s a fun and unique product!

But the “Big Standout” was our very own Eureka-Mute” pendant- made from the same sound-absorbing felt material as the Matrix- not only made the Top 10 Finalists but ended up being the Winner of “Best of SD Design Connect.” The acoustic panels not only give the pendant an interesting look but is also environmentally friendly since it’s made from recycled PET bottles. We were extremely excited and proud to have presented a winning product based on votes from the design community.

Lastly, there are a few key people that need be recognized for all their hard work. To Danny Cortez, Jason Bash and Greg Cresto, we’d like to thank you for constructing the ceiling structure we used to install multiple of our light fixtures. Also, a big thank you to Candice Young from Herman Miller and Stephen Easley from GM Business Interiors for providing the furniture and virtual reality headsets that brought our booth to life.

Meet The Team: Amanda Ivko

Amanda Ivko, or Got-to-Go Ivko, use to be known as the nicest girl in the office. After revealing her Uber score though (tied for last in the office), everything changed. In this month’s meet the team Amanda is ready to redeem herself! Amanda loves being apart of the specification sales team and when she’s not in the office you can find her on the soccer field or in the kitchen whipping up some treats. Next time you have a sweet tooth, Amanda is your go-to girl, she loves being creative with her baking and decorating everything from cakes to cookies. Can you say yum?

Q: How did you get started in the lighting industry?

AI: It all happened by chance. Prior to coming to SDLA, I worked in the hospitality industry for 10 years, 6 of those years as a sushi chef! I loved being able to connect with the customers and creating delicious food for them; however, I ultimately ended up leaving because I was missing out on special and important moments with my friends and family. Soon after I left my previous job, my friend Jessica, who also works here, was being promoted and looking for her replacement. After hyping up the company, I decided to come work for SDLA and will have been with the company almost 2 years come December.

Q: What’s your day to day like in the office?

 AI: My day-to-day consists of scheduling manufacturer visits, planning upcoming events, helping my associates with whatever they need while they are out of the office, visiting customers and updating them on the latest products, taking samples to customers, creating posts to our social media accounts, etc. It’s a great mix that keeps me busy and on my toes!

 Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

AI: I love planning the events that our office puts on! Everything from the Bi-Annual product shows, our Designer Luncheons or Happy Hours, I love having a role in making the events the best they can be for our clients and customers. Seeing everything come together is really rewarding, and it’s great to see customers enjoy themselves. Plus we always host our events at unique and fun places around San Diego and I love being able to check out the hottest restaurants or venues in the area. One of my favorite projects to be apart of was our agency product show at 57 degrees. It was completely different than our normal shows, so it was an exciting process to be a part of and so great to see how well it was received by our clients.

Q: What do you like best about the culture at SDLA?

AI: I’ve recently transitioned into the new role of specification sales and the culture of support here has made this process so much easier. I love that my co-workers are always so willing to help each other out and take on new challenges. The atmosphere is fun but everyone knows how to work hard as well. Work hard, play hard.

Designer Lighting Luncheon: Setting the Bar with JLC Tech & Armstrong Ceilings

Who wants to spend their lunch in a boring office when you can have lunch in the club? Last Thursday, we hosted our 4th Designer Luncheon featuring both JLC Tech and Armstrong Ceilings, where specifiers met us in Downtown San Diego at Parq Restaurant and Nightclub.

For this specific luncheon, (since we had not one, but TWO manufacturers) we really wanted to “wow” our specifiers with our venue choice which did not disappoint. Every detail from when you first walk around the corner into the open- aired, Central Park inspired restaurant, down the hall through the grotto tunnel that opened into the nightclub with blue and white lighting everywhere, really made for a grand entrance.

Dai-Nee Tan, the Architectural Contract Sales Manager for Armstrong Ceilings, kicked off the presentation with a short video that showcased the different Armstrong ceiling solutions and a presentation on her product line. She then handed the presentation over to Eric Reiser, the Western Regional Sales Manager of JLC Tech, who explained how the T-Bar Smartlight pairs together with Armstrong Ceilings and demonstrated how easy the installation is. To wrap things up, Eric revealed some exciting and exclusive- (still under wraps)- news about what’s to come from both manufacturers later this fall! Be sure to check back when we make the big announcement!

In addition, Congrats again to our $50 Visa gift card winners- Marissa Clow from FS Design and Emily Taber-Moore from Jules Wilson Design. Thank you both for attending and participating!

If you haven’t been to one of our luncheons yet, don’t fret! Our next one will take place in December with the location TBD. Stay updated by checking out our Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn pages for more details!

Also, we always encourage all of our designers, architects, and engineers to come and bring their customers- The more the merrier! If you would like more information, and would like to join our next Designer Luncheon Event, please RSVP to Amanda Ivko at amandai@sdltg.com!

The Future Is Here With nLight® AIR

Are you ready to get more from your wireless? Look no further, Acuity Brands® just launched nLight® AIR 2.0… The most secure, reliable and scalable wireless networked lighting control system or as we like to call it, everyone’s dream system to specify and install! nLight® AIR is built on the same trusted software platform as nLight and provides the ease of install with wireless communication. nLight® AIR is a robust wireless lighting control solution, complete with Acuity Brands® enabled LED fixtures with embedded smart sensors, dimming relay packs, remote motion sensors, wireless nLight® AIR wall switches and the best part…nLight AIR connects to the nLight Eclypse to provide a networked wireless solution with central control, timeclock scheduling, demand response and BMS integration capabilities.

nLight® AIR is perfect in spaces where wiring is cost prohibitive, or retrofits where running new wires can be difficult, expensive or complex. This wireless system is extremely scalable and upgradable. It can operate as: stand-alone lighting control in an individual room; networked with the nLight Eclypse for networked tenant, floor or building lighting control; or integrated into a building management system allowing for integration between building controls and the nLight® AIR wireless controls systems. And the flexibility, you ask? This wireless system is extremely scalable and upgradable. It can operate in many different configurations:

-Stand-alone lighting control in an individual room

-Networked with the nLight Eclypse for networked tenant, floor, or building lighting control

-Integrated into a building management system allowing for integration between building controls and the nLight® AIR wireless controls systems.

And the flexibility, you ask? The wireless relays and motion sensors can be integral to the fixture or remote mounted devices.

The addition of nLight® AIR to the nLight family gives users the ability to have distributed relay based, central panel based and wireless-based control solutions under one platform. nLight AIR can be programmed through Sensorview Desktop Software for networked systems or a mobile configuration app, CLAIRITY™, for quick and easy startup on standalone solutions. nLight AIR systems can be deployed using the building’s existing wiring, which reduces installation costs and helps the ROI of the system pay off faster.

The technology behind nLight® AIR is precisely designed for security and reliability. The wireless signal is 900 megahertz frequency, which offers proven reliability, a range of up to 600’ installed with obstructions, 1,000’ line of site range and a less congested wavelength. On top of that, it features a 5-tier security architecture that starts with AES 128-bit encryption and builds up from there with additional layers of security. These aspects provide you with the confidence to design and install an innovative lighting control solution.

Want more? We are here to support you each step of the way. From specification support with project specific solutions, product samples, and typical single lines; to installation support with wiring diagrams, pre-construction meetings, network programming and training. The next time you have a project that requires wireless controls solutions, be sure to contact SDLA for the premier wireless solution, nLight® AIR.

Meet The Team: JP Castro

JP Castro is quick on and off the field, he has to be as a father of four and controls specialist at SDLA! JP is a hometown guy, who is a lifelong Padres fan and baseball enthusiast. JP loves being able to share his love for baseball with his four sons and coach their teams! When he’s not being a team player in the office with the controls department, he’s teaching his sons how to be team players on and off the field. Ready for this month’s meet the team? Coach Castro is throwing us a fast one!

Q: How did you get started in the lighting industry?

JC: I was working for Acuity Brands in Ontario, who is a manufacturer for SDLA. I was looking to cut down on my four-hour commute and got in touch with Danny. They brought me on board a little over a year ago to bring in more tech support for the lighting controls department. What’s really nice for me is that I still get to work closely with Acuity Brands and my old co-workers there but now I’m able to spend more time at home with my family.

Q: What’s your day to day like in the office?

JC: Every morning we try to knock out all our bids so I start off my day by checking in with the board and the team to see what needs to be done. We will load the controls in the quotes, along with the designs and layouts and then send it over to the distributors so they can continue the process from there.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

JC: I really enjoy working with my co-workers to complete a project. Everyone on the team has a different set of expertise and experiences, so we are are all able to help each other to make the best results possible for the client. My co-workers are also very intuitive, they can sense when I may need help with something and step up to the job before I even need to ask. Aside from working with the other controls guys, I work with the fixtures/quotations department every day and their another team that is always willing to be supportive and hard working.

Q: What do you like best about the culture at SDLA?

JC: I love that when it’s time to be serious, everyone here can buckle down and work together to get a project done. But when we have the time to joke around and be silly, everyone can have a good time together too. It’s also awesome that I get to work with one of my greatest friends every day, Brendan. We are definitely office best friends so whenever people hear us bickering or disagreeing about something, they will come over and ask “uh, oh trouble in paradise?”