This week on the Bright Ideas series presented by Acuity Brands®, Catherine is joined by the new President of Acuity Brands Lighting: Trevor Palmer. While he joined the Acuity team back in 2015, he actually brings almost three decades of experience in the building technology industry.
TREVOR’S JOURNEY INTO LIGHTING AND CONTROLS
Trevor’s journey first began with a summer job in Montreal when he was fresh out of high school. He met Doug MacIntosh, who owned a controls contractor – or what is known today as a systems integrator (SI) – and accepted a position in customer service.
For a new employee, Acuity can seem daunting at first because it’s such a large place with so many moving parts. Fortunately, Trevor’s experience since day one has been consistent and steady. The organization has a hand on all pieces of supply chain, from design and engineering to manufacturing and distribution. It’s a key trait of the company that has stuck with him from the start–– as well as Acuity’s infectious culture and bright talent.
MAJOR INDUSTRY SHIFT
As president, Trevor has made it his mission to look at the industry on a five-year horizon: looking back at the past five years, and then looking ahead toward where the greatest impacts may come from. Obviously, the industry is going through a massive transition in terms of employment and automation due to the pandemic. However, another major factor Trevor has discussed with many electrical distributors, contractors, and leaders of associations like the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) is the changing age demographics.
The average age within the electrical industry is in the mid-fifties, and so bringing in new and younger people with completely different expectations is going to be an understandable challenge. There is, however, an opportunity to build up a new generation of contractors who can help to translate the old language of replacing parts and using multimeters into the new language of mobile apps and technological advancements. Now is a very exciting time for today’s electrical professionals to solve problems more thoughtfully with technology.
This transformation is a chance for businesses to also reimagine the journey of their customers, and to improve a purchase experience both before and after the product is ordered. Real-time reporting of where material is on its way to the job site is a particularly valuable example of how companies like Acuity Brands can thoughtfully apply technology to solve real customer and stakeholder problems.
TAKING CARE OF PEOPLE TAKES CARE OF BUSINESS
In his first year as president of Acuity Brands, Trevor intends to be fundamentally focused on talent and customer relationships first and foremost. There’s an old saying that, “If you take care of your talent, they’ll take care of your customers.” That’s the culture he wants to create, and he hopes to accomplish high-empathy relationships and intimacy with customers. There is a great opportunity in the workplace nowadays for companies to apply technology well in solving customer problems, and if Acuity Brands can accomplish that then they will be in a very good place.
Controls have been a large part of the lighting industry for quite a while, and know-how especially goes along with controls in-luminaire technology and design applications. Distributors need to be aware of how to build expertise around that niche so they can learn more about their customers and how that technology is going to be applied moving forward.
AIMING TO IMPROVE THE PLANET, ONE CUSTOMER AT A TIME
Another key topic that comes up in most discussions of the industry’s future is around energy savings and sustainability. Companies like Acuity Brands who strive every year to do the right thing should be very proud of how much good they do–– and in many cases, they can even thrive while doing so. The profound energy savings that an LED upgrade alone will do, compounded by adding lighting controls into buildings, can save customers massive amounts of energy and drastically reduce their carbon footprints.
In the end, not only are lighting providers benefitting from these upgrades, but everybody is–– from their buyers to the rest of the planet as well.
Customers making these long-lasting purchasing decisions are often influenced in large part by their relationships with agents, distributors, and contractors. The more their preferences are taken into account by those professionals, and the more waste is eliminated in the sales and delivery process, the greater their brand loyalty will be. Customers will naturally flock to a company that provides the easiest customer experience from start to finish–– quality product and cutting edge technology will just be icing on the cake.
To learn more about Trevor and the Acuity Brands commitment to future growth, visit acuitybrands.com/about-us/sustainability. And next week, join us again as we discuss addressing the Covid pandemic using lighting designs that make for a cleaner and healthier space.
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