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LightShow West

SDLAOur spec team recently hosted 15 of our electrical engineering friends on a day trip to Los Angeles to attend Lightshow West. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Lightshow West is a biannual event where lighting professionals can come and see all manufacturers and new lighting trends in one place.

It’s important to us that our friends don’t miss the event because of the 2.5+ hour drive from San Diego to Los Angeles. To help alleviate fighting LA traffic, we rent a charter bus full of goodies to transport everyone to and from the event. At the event, there is a ton to see in just one day, so our guests were given a map with our manufacturers’ booth locations highlighted to make self-guided tours easier and more efficient.

After a busy morning, we treated our guests to a complimentary lunch we sponsored with Acuity Brands at the Palm Restaurant in downtown LA. As a fun bonus, we gave guests the option to stay over-night in West Hollywood and take a tour of Artemide Lighting’s Showroom the next morning. Artemide’s showroom is always a great place to visit because they specialize in the development of lighting designed by designers and architects, which means a lot of unique, one-of-a-kind light fixtures!  And you never know who will stop into the showroom while you’re there – it is frequented by many of LA’s A-List Elite celebrities!

Overall, everyone had a great time and we are looking forward to doing it again in 2019! If you are interested in joining us next time please feel free to contact Brian Rhea at Brianr@sdltg.com.

Meet The Team: Cliff Cobelli

This month’s Meet the Team Q&A is with our Lead Controls Specialist, Cliff Cobelli. Also known as the nicest guy in the office, Cliff designs Wiring diagram and details for Title 24 compliant lighting control systems. When he’s not busy in the office, he’s working on getting his motorcycle license. But there is currently a debate in the office… can he be the nicest guy in the office wearing leather and burning rubber on his hog? Only time will tell. In the meantime, let’s get to know this rebel and valuable member of our team.

Q:  What is your background? How did you get started in the industry?

CC: I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and right after college I started working in Acuity Brand’s factory in my home state of Connecticut. At the time, I just wanted a job to get me out of my parent’s house…but it become much more than that. I learned a lot and fell in love with the industry. I ended up staying there for three years before I started looking for a change. I was familiar with SDLA because of the close relationship with Acuity, so I reached out to Danny about a job. After a couple of failed outreach attempts, he responded and we met at LFI. He saw I was serious about moving across the country, and here I am two years later.

 Q: What do you like best about working at SDLA?

 CC: I love that culturally it’s like a big family.  As someone who has no family in the area it’s refreshing to work somewhere everyone genuinely cares about each other. Everyone gets together and we have a ton of fun…just last week we had a potluck. From a work stand point, I love solving problems and seeing projects come full-circle. At my last job, I wasn’t able to go onsite very often because projects I worked on were all over the country. Here, many of our customers and buildings we work on are in area, so I get to see our work come to life in person. I also love customer relations…it’s all very rewarding.

 Q:  What has been your most rewarding project?

 CC: I would have to say the UCSD building where we have been working on the Outpatient Pavilion new hospital research center. We started this project in 2015, shortly after I started. In a way, it has grown with me. I like that it’s a complex design, a lot of collaboration with the EC to great a best fit solution and was a unique experience since it did not have to comply with California T24.

Q: As 2018 approaches, is there anything work related you are looking forward too?

CC: I am really excited to see how the market changes with Acuity Brand’s new wireless system on the market. Being an engineer I’m a bit of a techie, so I just really want to see it in action and test it out to see all of it’s capabilities. Wireless is the hot new trend of the industry and it will create a lot more opportunities down the road.

Factory Tour Fun: A-Light

Last month the specification sales team had a ball on a tour to one of our awesome manufacturers factory. Not only does A-Light put on a great tour – they have affordable and customizable options with a lot of different components. The experience was memorable because it allowed us to spend a half-day ingraining ourselves into A-Light’s products and processes and really get a better sense of their story.

To start our journey, we took a bus up to beautiful Oceanside. Once at the factory we enjoyed a delicious breakfast in their training room. Sitting under multiple samples of their lights we learned more about the company and product line. We even got to check out awesome mock ups of new products and their components. The hands-on experience really enhanced our understanding of what A-Light has to offer.

We especially enjoyed seeing the Absent product line in-person…pictures just don’t do it justice. It’s truly incredible how well it creates a beautiful throw of light without any glare. Next up, the factory tour! The factory is neat and we had the opportunity to see every stage of the manufacturing process…from welding the products to seeing how they get their quality packaging. We ended the visit with an excellent lunch…the perfect ending to a great morning.

Thank you to our friends at A-Light for having us!  Interested in checking out A-Light’s factory southern California factory? Be sure to contact them for a tour and check out their unique customization guidelines.

Illuminating The Ocean

 In June 2016, we dove into the ocean head first. Not really, but we did dive into the renovation of the UCSD  2nd floor of the Eckart Building, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography on UCSD’s Campus. This project was released in November 2016 and was completed in April 2017. What a ride it was!

With high-quality lighting, aesthetic design and advanced LED technology in mind, we installed VTL fixtures with individual fixture controls in the office areas. In order to save energy, we integrated Acuity Brand’s nIO into the fixtures… allowing users to individually control fixtures and dim lights in the . To make things even better the utility  can send a signal for auto demand response to shed power, which is awesome because the school will receive a rebate for the energy savings. 

Within the wood ceiling we used recessed and pendant linears. For the finishing touch, we added a graphical wall pod with a touch screen complete with the building’s logo where users can control the lights in the lobbies and halls.

Special thanks to all of those who worked to make this project a success including: the general contractor CW Driver, The Engineering Partners Inc., the Architect OBI, photographer Kevin Walsh, Dianna Rubalcava for Neal Electric and Brendan Kelliher from our controls team.

Lighting the Path to Safer Biking

When people think of San Diego, the word ‘sunny’ typically comes to mind. Averaging a whopping 146 days of sunshine per year, it’s no surprise being active outdoor junkies is part of our day-to-day culture. In addition to recreational cycling, San Diego ranks 20th out of 70 largest U.S. cities in bike commute, according to the League of American Bicyclists census data (2014). That’s why we jumped on the opportunity to team up with the Department of Transportation to help keep San Diego’s cyclists safe.

In spring of 2014, we took on a project to illuminate popular Caltran’s State Route 15 Commuter Bikeway. One of the key aspects of lighting any transportation path is to minimize glare, and provide enough illumination for safety. We knew Engineered Lighting Products’ (ELP) CP series would provide a large, low level light across the 12-foot wide bike path and help achieve this goal. We even customized the fixture to ensure it was the perfect fit. We added tamper-proof screws, a custom color and the addition of vandal resistant faceplates. 

The bikeway officially opened in spring 2017, and now bikers can zoom their way through a safe, lighted path separated from traffic with a concrete barrier. The new fixtures provide 40% more light than the original, and have more than 60,000 hours of life. Make sure to pedal on over and take a ride on the path located in-between the Mission Valley and Mid-City areas of San Diego.

Special thanks to Fariba Ramos, Electrical Engineer, PE at Caltrans, Lee Headberg, Director of Engineering at ELP, Lauri Maines, President at ELP and all those who helped us keep San Diego cyclists safe.

Meet The Team: Shawna Nunez

Shawna This month’s Meet the Team is with Shawarma. No, that’s not a typo. And we’re not talking about the delicious Mediterranean food. It’s our nickname for the awesome Quotations Lead we have here at SDLA… also known as Shawna Nunez. For more than four years she’s been fearlessly leading the quotations department. Luckily for us, she came back to San Diego after 8 years of traveling and living all over the United States. Let’s meet Shawarma.

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

SN: About 8 years ago my best friend was working at a lighting distributor’s office and she helped me snag a job in their quotes department. A little over three years later, I made the switch to SDLA (and brought her with me) and took on more responsibility leading the whole quotations department. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

SN: I think it’s neat to have a deep appreciation for the lighting every place you go, especially when I see a fixture from a line that SDLA represents. Most people don’t notice the lighting, but I always notice it. It’s funny, my husband laughs at me because I am always pointing out the lights when we are out and about. He thinks I am a lighting nerd…  (but I know it’s true and I embrace it).

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

SN: Simply, everyone is like a giant family. We are always telling jokes and laughing inside and outside of the office and doing fun things like fantasy football drafts and happy hours. Also, our bosses are the best and make coming to work so easy. Danny, Kristin and Brian make everyone want to go as far as they can and be successful.

Q: What is the best part about your job?

 SN: I just love being able to service every single one of our customers. With my job, I deal with a lot of emails… I’m talking 200+ per day and it can be extremely crazy. But it’s really cool having the opportunity to see every project that comes through. Plus, it’s exciting to represent a well-known company in the area.


Giving Back: Tables For Tots – Boho Edition

Last week, we joined our community in a fundraiser that raised $65,555 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego. The 9th annual Boho Bash Tables for Tots event is a unique opportunity for local architectural and design firms to use their skillsets to design fun play spaces for kids. Participants are given an unfinished, child-sized table and two chairs, and asked to design an “adventure” for children to experience at the table. Later, the table and chair sets are sold, and all proceeds raised are given directly to the Ronald McDonald House.

SDLA sponsored our friends at Carrier Johnson + Culture, as they turned their table and chairs into a boho balloon! This hot air balloon was created with a wood frame, 2-inch nylon webbing woven for the basket, and a ball suspended over a metal frame. The kids had a blast planning their next hot air balloon adventure… and our team took home third place in the freestyle category!

Igroup and Swinerton Builders took first place in the freestyle category with the Boho Bunker, a ride that inspires musical and artistic creativity on the go. In second place, RNT Architects created Kaleidaway, a magical space illuminated by a kaleidoscope of lights.

In addition to selling all the tables and chairs, the night included a silent auction of prizes ranging from a weekend getaway to family portrait sessions and even a romantic hot air balloon ride. All the proceeds from the event help provide meals, lodging, and emotional support to families with children being treated for serious conditions at our local hospitals.

Our team members Maronee Rodenberger and Shawna Nunez had a great time attending the event with their kids (check out their awesome pictures above) and be sure to check out the different ways you can get involved with our local Ronald McDonald House here!

Meet The Team: Chelsea Mitchell

This month’s Meet the Team is with a baby giraffe. Just kidding, it’s with Chelsea Mitchell, a project manager for our team, who we like to call a baby giraffe for her awkwardness during softball. But that’s another story for another day. All jokes aside, Chelsea works day in and day out for our customers. For 10 years, she’s been a valuable member of the SDLA team, beginning her career with us part-time while in college… and never looking back! 

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

 A: During college, my dad was the principal and co-owner of SDLA. And a part-time receptionist position was available for the company, so I took it! Through that job, I got a taste of the day-to-day work at SDLA, and really began to love the people and the work. A project manager position then opened up, so I applied for that. Though it was never part of the plan, I ended up loving every aspect of it. 

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job? 

 A: Honestly, there’s nothing better than driving through the city and being able to point out different projects that we made possible. It makes you feel like you are part of San Diego, bringing pieces of your work to everyday life.  

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

 A: I love that everyone at SDLA is friends both inside and outside of work. We do a lot together like happy hours and softball leagues…and sometimes we end up hanging out on the weekends without really planning it. In my opinion, it’s always a good sign when you want to hang out with your coworkers after work! Not only is it fun to organize events outside the office, but it also makes the work we do inside the office more enjoyable. 

Q: What is the best part about your job? 

 A: Every day is different. Although my position is very email-based and a lot of the daily work is similar, different problems arise with a variety of our valued customers. Assuring people I know on a personal level that we’re going to solve whatever problems their facing, and then solving those problems, is really rewarding.

Friday Night Lights: SDLA In The Sports Lighting Game

Summer is winding down, and Fall is almost here. And even though San Diego is known for only having two seasons, Fall is characterized by more than just the weather in our city – back to school time, pumpkin spice everything, and maybe most importantly… It’s football season.

And while you’ve probably never thought about it before, those Friday night lights wouldn’t be the same without the lights. Luckily, we know a thing or two about sports lighting. Whether it’s field lighting or wayfinding – like lighting parking lots, concession areas, and walkways – we can take a look at your facility and provide recommendations on energy efficient lighting technologies and controls. Game-on.

For example, we represent SpecGrade LED for all our customer’s stadium lighting needs. For more than 25 years, SpecGrade LED has provided state of the art lighting systems for sporting fields of all shapes and sizes. They are sports enthusiasts who understand the sports they light and how they are played. We love these products because they go further than just lighting a field. Their products are engineered like no other sportslighting product on the market to ensure reliability and optimal performance! In fact, we have a fun demonstration to show you how – just ask to see our “coffee pot demo!”  From the small field in the local community to the high school stadium all the way to the pro sports venues, SDLA and SpecGrade LED have you covered!

Ready to score a touchdown? Contact us so we can chat about lighting your next stadium project, no matter the size/scale!

It’s That Time of Year – Our Summer Spec Product Show!

Last week we had a blast hosting our Summer Spec Product Show,
where we demonstrated how to mix cutting edge technology with architectural and decorative solutions that also meet local codes. Thanks to everyone who was involved – we had a great turn out from the specifications community, and the nine manufacturers who participated in our event impressed the crowd with their products and knowledge.

We also held two CEU courses (one being AIA accredited) during the program.  Our first course was an AIA accredited CEU presentation, lead by yours truly (Brian Rhea). The presentation was called Specifying Architectural Lighting and Controls with Confidence. Over lunch, we covered everything from specification language for LED products, all the way to reviewing design challenges and problem solving.

And back by popular demand… Danny Cortez led his infamous training on Title 24 2016. He covered the changes in the 2016 commercial code and made sure attendees had the information needed to ensure their projects comply.  It was all a great series of events blending learning with thoughtful discussion.

A big thank you to all our wonderful attendees for helping make our event so successful and the best one to date!  Shout out to Acuity Brands, A-Light, Artemide, Lauren Illumination, LEDRA Brands, Pinnacle Lighting, Spec Grade, Targetti | DuraLamp and UltraLights for their time, product displays and insightful information.

Stay tuned for announcements on future events we will be
holding.  I can assure you, you won’t want to miss what we have planned for our valued partners!  Also, be sure to follow us on social media (Facebook and Instagram) for updates on future events, training and education, and product updates.