Connect Summer 2017 - Page 13

By 2027, use of LEDs could save the U.S. more than $30 billion at today's electricity prices, according to Energy.gov. “I’m passionate about the future and the opportunities that are there. I know we can be—and will be— successful in any direction we go.” —BOB ALTMAN It’s this level of flexibility, creativity, and adaptability that Smith believes makes Altman Lighting who they are. They’ve reflected these ideals internally, recently reorga- nizing their structure to promote more cross-functional work among teams. The company strives to maintain a sense of community and ownership, wanting employees to feel involved in all the processes with the potential for growth and advancement. Smith says they achieve this by approaching work as if they’re on a journey together, listening to employees and making them part of the solu- tion process. To stay competitive in the marketplace, Altman Lighting’s engineers and designers have had to adapt to new technolo- gies and materials. For many decades, they happily worked with traditional light sources, offering the same products as their competitors for half the cost. When they started using higher quality materials, they would continue offering lower prices. Lighting designers and consultants learned that they were getting high-quality products from Altman Lighting, along with customized solutions and a family-style customer service experience. This earned them repeat customers and large jobs with vast exposure. The biggest change in the industry Altman Lighting has had to deal with took place relatively recently with the emergence and popularity of LED lights. “It was a culture shock,” says Altman. “It was something new and we realized if we didn’t get into it, we wouldn’t survive.” LED lighting offered the opportunity for Altman Lighting to branch into the software game—the latest enhancement in lighting. The company had to learn how to navigate intel- lectual property protection, intricacies of heat management, and continued customization with these new technologies. “The shift to LED was more of an evolution than a revo- lution,” says Smith. A Bright and Smart Future Altman Lighting’s future is set to involve a shift to software and smart products. Currently, people use computer consoles to control light fixtures, but as technology shifts away from computers to smart phones, Altman Lighting will need to adapt. The next generation of lighting involves smart products people can control by talking, without even pushing a button. “One of the big things that led us to increase our relation- ship with Sterling is that these smart products involve a great deal of investment. You’ve got to invest in labs, machining, tools, ways to produce this product, and processes. So, there is a lot of money there to be spent because you can’t just keep doing things the way you’ve always done them.” To Altman, success is not found in any one product. It’s found in the big picture: catering to different markets, customizing solutions, and not being afraid to explore some- thing new. When he looks at his team, he sees a wealth of knowledge and experience and knows the opportunities are there for the company and products to move forward as the team rolls up their sleeves and has fun. “When you talk about innovation, you have to be on the front end but you can’t strictly be everything that’s a trend because there’s so many old-school people. You have to balance it,” Smith says. “We’re trying to find the next great lighting engine. If it’s not LED, and it’s not lamp-based, what will it be? We have to balance keeping our current product portfolio going and being profitable [along] with some crazy ideas about what’s really out there and what lighting will really look like in 5-10 years.” Sterling National Bank strives to reach new goals with clients as they design a future of growth. Call 255.274.2800 to learn about how we can provide the financial support needed to fuel your next innovation. RANKED BY FORBES’ 2017 “AMERICA’S 100 BEST BANKS” // CONNECT INNOVATION SUMMER 2017 // SNB.COM | 13