What’s New

Meet LEDRAbrands: Decorative & Architectural LED Lighting

At SDLA, we’ve got our finger on the pulse of lighting manufacturers who are consistently delivering cutting-edge, high-quality innovations and designs. LEDRAbrands is absolutely one of those companies.

A lighting manufacturer of three brands – Bruck, Molto Luce and ALPHABET – it continues to make breakthroughs in technology for performance, decorative and architectural lighting and has become a renowned leader in solid state lighting design. One thing its team is also good about is keeping us and its specifiers up-to-date on its latest technologies and concepts through intimate training sessions.

This past month, we attended LEDRAbrands’ AIA accredited session about human-centric lighting in Tustin, CA. Our friends from ELEN Consulting, EXP, MPE Consulting, Studio + Light, Tazz Lighting and CS Illuminations also joined. After the training session, we got the behind-the-scenes look at the latest products from its brands Bruck, Alphabet and Molto Luce.

Don’t miss LEDRAbrands’ new products preview here! You can also schedule your own LEDRAbrands training event. Just fill out the form and they will be in touch.

Thanks to our friends at LEDRAbrands for such a great training event!

Meet The Team: Jason Bash

This month’s Meet the Team Q&A is with our third longest tenured employee – sales team rock star Jason Bash – known in the office as “BMJ” (aka Business Man Jason). BMJ earned his nickname because of his tendency to work constantly. Sometimes he even needs a reminder to stop being BMJ during lunch hour. BMJ has contributed substantially to the agency’s growth. And that’s why this month we’re interviewing the one, the only, the real BMJ…

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

 BMJ: Right after I finished college, my friend was opening a branch of Walters Wholesale Electric in San Diego and I became the first employee. I did several jobs within that company, but in my last couple years with them, I got into lighting quotation, which started my love for the industry. That responsibility lead me to SDLA.

Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment at SDLA?

BMJ: I feel like the growth that we have experienced since I started here is a huge accomplishment. We have more than doubled in size and now have three application engineers and two field techs. Back when I started, Danny and I were wearing multiple hats… some days even literally up on ladder getting our hands dirty. But since our growth, we have truly been able to focus on and dedicate our time to outside sales. It’s been incredible.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

 BMJ: Every day is my favorite part. I love talking to customers and I have met some great friends that way. I absolutely love working with people and finding solutions to any problems that arise.

Q: What is unique about the culture at SDLA?

BMJ: We are like one big family at SDLA. We have so much fun together doing things outside of work, like playing on a softball team. I work with a great group of people and everyone genuinely enjoys coming to work… the morale is awesome, which makes our quality of work, and commitment to our customers even more awesome.

ALLIANCE Outdoor Lighting Showcase

Wine, hors-d’oeuvres and music on the grounds of a local vineyard?  Yes, please.

Last Thursday we joined our valued customers from CED Carlsbad, Rowan Electric and Lightstyle for an evening at Chapin Family Vineyard, as it unveiled its new dynamic landscape lighting from Alliance Outdoor Lighting. The lighting truly stole the show!

Alliance Outdoor Lighting is a low-voltage lighting manufacturer with LED technology, solid brass fixtures and stainless steel transformers. It’s carefully crafted approach takes practical concepts in low voltage outdoor lighting and creates an easy-to-specify and easy-to-install method for the industry. All fixtures are manufactured with either heavy cast brass or spun brass to last a lifetime.

Many more events from Alliance Outdoor Lighting to come… and believe us, you won’t want to miss them. Sign up and don’t forget to take a peek at their catalog.

New LiFT Architectural Lighting Inspires Creativity in Grid Ceilings

Pinnacle Architectural Lighting introduces LiFT – LED lighting designed with appearance and performance equally in mind. From a traditional grid layout to an ornate pattern, LiFT LED luminaires can be flexibly constructed and clustered together to achieve the creativity you want, along with optimal power consumption, light output and energy efficiencies.

LiFT architectural lighting is a family of luminaires that are extremely versatile and proves any ceiling can be unique. inspired by the Golden Ratio, a universal law of beauty and completeness in nature, its clean lines and harmonious proportions are best displayed in patterns. The LED fixture’s seamless lens-to-trim transition creates a skylight-esque appearance that suggests bringing the outdoors in. Its low-power density and shallow housing profile make LiFT both versatile and efficient option for architectural LED lighting.

LiFT LED luminaires are available in 1×1, 1×2, 1×4, 2×2, 2×4 and 4×4 configurations. For more information contact Maronee Rodenberger at Maroneer@sdltg.com or download the LiFT family brochure.

Meet The Team: Kristin Miller

This month’s Meet the Team profile is a one-on-one Q&A with our very own principal, Kristin Miller. Kristin is the head of operations and financials for the company.

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

Miller: My dad started the agency 35 years ago. Like many teenagers… I honestly had no interest in working for the family business. I decided I wanted to be a teacher and I went to college for a degree in child development. After graduation, I asked my Dad if he had any openings to sustain me while I searched for a job. Luckily for me, he gave me a job as a receptionist, I fell in love with the industry and I’ve never looked back.

Q: How did this start shape your career?

Miller: People joke that I am the Mom of the office because I take the approach of leading by example and really making sure I am part of the team, not just leading it. I view myself as just any other employee – after all, that’s where I started. From the receptionist, to project management to quotes… I’ve seen it all. I have truly been in every employee’s role over the years, which allows me to put myself in their shoes.

Q: What has been the biggest accomplishment for you in your time at SDLA?

Miller: I think the growth we have gone through in the last 2.5 years has been a huge accomplishment. We have gone from 11 to 23 employees and moved to a new office space. It has always been important to me to build a place where employees enjoy coming to work, and I think we have accomplished that.

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

Miller: That every day is different – I love it. It keeps things interesting. I also like the satisfaction that comes with finding solutions to challenging problems our customers have. It’s definitely rewarding when you figure out the puzzle, and you can say you made a difference.

Alpine Library’s Next Chapter: Net Zero Energy

The County of San Diego’s Alpine Library re-opened its doors in May of last year with a new building design that is unprecedented in its community. The 12,700 square-foot facility is comprised of a children’s area, quiet study areas, homework centers, public computers, reading rooms, a bookstore and even an outdoor patio. But its thoughtful, functional design doesn’t stop at just how the community uses it – it also impacts energy use. The Alpine Library is the County of San Diego’s first Net Zero building. This means the library’s total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.

Turning the page to this exciting chapter wasn’t easy. Achieving Net Zero energy is a tedious process to ensure regulations and stringent codes are met. The Alpine Library looked to our SDLA team as a guide through this process – a resource that would recommend the right products to get the job done.

“Alpine Library was one of the few projects that were both challenging and captivating throughout its entirety. Working with SDLA on the county’s first ZNE building was an added bonus as we look to the future in construction with sustainable buildings,” said Matt Hermsen
Project Manager, Rowan Electric.

To meet the library’s needs, we recommended an integrated lighting controls system called nLight® Controls. This networked digital lighting control system from Acuity Brands seamlessly integrates into the building’s lighting fixtures to help manage energy load throughout the space. Additionally, it makes the environment very controllable – tailoring lighting for the comfort of the people using the space no matter what task they are working on – a group study session, computer screen-time or just reading a book.

We helped the library with their entire controls strategy – from layout to installation and commissioning, and even continue to support them post-installation to configure controls to meet their changing needs. In the end, we are proud to have been part of the first Net Zero energy build in the County of San Diego, which is now a community landmark.

The Whisper Series LED Speaks to Rady Children’s Hospital

Rady Children’s Hospital is a one-of-a-kind hospital for the San Diego area. As the leading pediatric trauma center in the region, it has a robust practice including aggressive surgical approaches and is well-known for its cutting-edge Neurosurgery program. This state-of-the-art facility and staff are using the latest technologies for its medical practices, so its facilities need to be top of the line, even down to the administrative offices that are the backbone of the hospital.

In 2016, the hospital was looking for new LED lighting to update its facilities. It wanted to achieve specific energy savings goals, and have new lighting that would improve the light quality in its administrative areas. In the past, the light quality had been sub-par, creating hot spots and poor distribution.

SDLA was selected for the project, and we worked closely with our electrical partners at Randall Lamb to find and install a solution that would meet the hospital’s energy and aesthetic requirements. Craig Kerstetter, Electrical Project Manager, Randall Lamb Associates, Inc. was kind enough to say, “The SDLA team was knowledgeable and helpful during the design and construction phase.”

We felt this project was a no-brainer for the new Whisper Series LED from Acuity Brands. The fixture’s multiple lens options for the center and side panels make it easy to achieve the perfect design aesthetic and even illumination across a space. Whisper’s sloping side panels and lack of latches on the outside of the fixture create a clean and simple feel with no seams.

Our collaboration with the electrical contractor and specifier was crucial in achieving a photometric layout to make sure we met the recommended and suggested IES foot-candle measurements. In addition to the energy-saving qualities of the LED fixtures, we were able to increase energy savings and controllability of the fixtures by installing an nLight® integrated controls system from Acuity Brands. This easy-to-install controls system also helped Rady Children’s Hospital meet the new 2016 Title 24 Standards that became effective January 1, 2017.


Meet The Team: Daniel Cortez

Every month we’ll be sharing a Q&A with a team member from SDLA. This month’s profile is an interview with one of SDLA’s principals, Daniel Cortez. Known as Danny to many, his background is Lighting Controls and nicknamed by some of his customers as the “GURU” of T24.

Daniel CortezQ: How did you get started in the lighting industry?

Cortez: I started in our industry working for Graybar Electric, starting in the warehouse in the shipping department. I had no idea what the Electrical Industry was or even if there was an opportunity for a career. After two years in the warehouse, I moved to counter sales and in just six months, moved up from there where I eventually became a project manager. I was handling jobs that cost up to $5 million.

Q: How did this start shape your career?

Cortez: Building my career from the ground up has really given me a good perspective on all aspects of the industry. I always say to my self-stay humble, talk with everyone the same from the guy driving the forklift or the PM giving you a job worth $1.5 million. Always lead by example, if you want your team to be at a job at 6 am, then you better be willing and able to do the same. Understanding everyone’s role gives me the ability to understand a bigger picture and helps me come up with the right solutions for our customers.

 Q: What lead you to outside sales?

Cortez: Graybar gave me a great insight on outside sales, the ability to build a relationship with a customer, come up with a solution and see the project get designed and built was exactly what attracted me to sales. I took a job at Lighting Controls & Design (LC&D) as a District Sales Manager covering Southern California. That company grew and was acquired by Acuity Brands, who then hired me during the acquisition and expanded my territory for Acuity Controls and promoted me to a Controls Sales Manager. My focus there was to become the “Subject Matter Expert” in California’s T24.

Q: What is your role at SDLA?

Cortez: When I was approached about becoming a principal at SDLA, I was excited about taking on the challenge of helping an organization grow. I knew SDLA had a great foundation and always heard great things about Ed Musbach, the founder of SDLA. I felt I could reinforce the agency’s vision that he had on service to our customers comes first above all else. That’s true from the products we represent and recommend, to the guidance we provide in the planning and installation process, to the training we design and deliver for our customers. We make it our personal agenda to ensure they understand the state of the industry, the technology, and the practical application of products in their own spaces. My role at SDLA is to guide this strategy and create value for our customers in SDLA solutions.

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

Cortez: Helping the EC in the field, being challenged with a problem and coming up with the most cost-effective solution. Let’s not forget teaching, whether it’s teaching one on one or presenting to 50+ attendees on T24. I actually learn more and it always gives me insight on the new curriculum we need for our customers.

A Bright New Year For SDLA

Family, Friends, Colleagues and Customers,

First and foremost, Happy New Year. For us at SDLA, 2016 was one for the books, and that’s in part thanks to all of you reading this note. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And also thanks to you, the new year that’s upon us is looking even brighter. If you’re here reading this blog post, you know we have a brand new website that just launched, to help serve as a better portal and resource for our customers. But that’s just scratching the surface of the excitement we’re feeling here at SDLA.

For months we have carefully and thoughtfully designed our new headquarters to be a living testament to our work. Our goal with this new space was to create a place where our talented staff can enjoy coming to work. A space they would feel proud to work in. Our new facility will also serve as a resource center – think of it as the lighting hub of San Diego – for our valued customers and lighting professionals in the area. We plan to host regular trainings, “lunch and learns”, and more.

Happy New Year, and here’s to an incredible 2017 for all.

-Danny Cortez

P.S. Keep an eye out for upcoming details on our open house tour that will include drinks and appetizers on us! Some pics of our new space below.