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History of Strand Lighting

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by Naimad, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. Naimad

    Naimad Member

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    Re: HELP! Fed up with Lehigh

    I have been in the manufacturing end of stage and studio lighting for over 25 years. I have seen companies come and go, they flash onto the scene like a Quasar and end up a Black Hole. This industry has its leaders and followers, but you can bet your bottom dollar that things will change, the leaders will become followers, the followers will lead. I have just read a string of complaints about Lehigh Electric Products Company and in the end the connected loads were improperly lamped. The Lehigh system was fine. The real problem was human error. My old friend Steve Terry, patiently standing by in Madison, Wisconsin has seen this over and over again, as have I. Let's be careful out there (as they use to say on "Hill Street Blues") about damaging one of the companies of our industry. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket. I have worked for Strand (twice), Kliegl Bros., DeSisti Lighting, and Altman Stage Lighting, and all of these are or were contributors to the industry. If, somewhere down the road, you are left alone with one stage lighting manufacturer you will rue the day that you started on that road. Now, as Eastern Regional Sales Manager, let me say a few words in defense of Lehigh...first of all, I am glad Celebration Mike found his problem but nowhere do I see him mention a call to Lehigh Electric (610-395-3386 or Welcome to Lehigh Lighting - Controls, Dimming, Fixtures). Secondly, in case you do not know this, Lehigh Electric is one of the oldest continuous stage lighting manufacturers in existence (I say the oldest because what we know as Strand actually happened in 1969) having been founded in 1961. It is family-owned and operated since its founding and one of the most financially solid companies that I have ever worked for. Management is conservative, not quick to jump on every fad. All R&D is done in-house, which cannot be said for many others in the industry that go outside or buy companies wholesale. Lehigh is now #3 in the stage construction market, ahead of Leviton, ET/Genlyte/now Philiips, and EDI. We are just as strong in the Commerical Architectural market where we compete with Lutron, Lightolier, Leviton, and Lithonia. Please note: your company must begin with the letter "L" or you are not a factor in this market. Lehigh is a factor. I could go on and on but I am sure you have already tired of this rant. In closing, please do not talk any manufacturer into the ground...you are talking about the livelihood of employees, retirees, family, and associate companies. And if you have a problem with a product, go to the source first. Have a good summer...Damian Delaney, Lehigh Electric Products Co., [email protected]. (aka: Naimad)
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    History of US stage lighting manufacturers

    <copying [user]Naimad[/user]'s post and starting a new thread. -DL>

    Welcome to the Booth, [user]Naimad[/user]. Your insights (sorry:() are valid and thought-provoking. It's good to have representatives from ALL manufacturers on CB; and heretofore Lehigh may have gotten an unfair bad rap from us. Another member, in a high school in Pennsylvania, (go figure), has voiced a problem with a Lehigh control system. We haven't heard from him in a while, so he may have resolved his issues.
    I'm guessing you're referring to Lighting Corporation of America, whose parent company was Singer Sewing Machines? Please enlighten us, and tell us how it came to be that Century stumbled and was purchased by a UK company? Meanwhile, Kliegl Bros., who in my opinion, in the 1970s/80s, made inferior and overly-expensive equipment, was the top dog, then died a painful, lingering death. Later, Berkey (Lee) Colortran in the 1990s, got itself in such a financial predicament as to enable NSI to purchase its assets. Thus the time was ripe, in the early 1980s, for an upstart company in Wisconsin to swoop in and sell consoles to Epcot, and I think we know the rest of that story.

    Congrats to Lehigh for lasting since 1961, the same as me!:) I applaud family-owned, US businesses, and don't want to see everything owned by global mega-corporations. To paraphrase: "What's good for Microsoft is good for the world." Well, not quite.;)
     
  3. MNicolai

    MNicolai Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I actually just had a problem with a local supply company. The work they do is great, but boy are they sketchy on communicating, and each problem I've had with them boiled down to communication, or a lack thereof. One of the days when suddenly the price tag of our project shot up because of items that were supposed to be on the quote didn't make it on there for whatever the reason, I really called them out on how unsatisfied I was with them. The first concern that flew into the air after that was their reputation, and knowing that I work in a few different large venues in the area, they got a little edgy, but I ended up having to flat out tell them that I wasn't the kind of person that would smear them, I just wanted some better communication in the future. Lo-and-behold, they've been working on it, and extra costs that should've been, but weren't originally, included, they have agreed to cover. They've also given us excellent returns on trade-in items, giving us a lot of in-store credit for giving them a lot of old equipment I wouldn't expect to be worth nearly that much.


    In the professional world, conflicts are best dealt with through the chain of those-that-should-be-accountable. If that's the company that did an install, made a certain product, what-have-you, they should be contacted before going up in arms.

    I honestly think that there are too many people that would rather b___h and complain than actually work to fix something. I've actually worked a lot with some of these people, the kind that would prefer to see a 2-year old ETC S4 rot rather than spend the $0.46 to replace the stripped bolt used on the clutch of the yoke. I s__t you not, when confronted that there was a problem with the fixture initially, the first argument they raised was over who would end up paying to fix it. That only lasted so long before I simply went out, bought the bolt, even a few extras if it happened again, and solved the issue.

    I know I'm not alone when I say that there's a lot more room for problem solvers than for complainers in this industry. I have a very short attention span listening to people speak who rarely open their mouth to do more than drop morale and whine about insignificant non-issues. That glass isn't half-empty, and it's especially not twice as large as it needs to be; if anything, it's that much more room that's available for future additions.

    Unfortunately at one of the theatres I work at, it's all-too-customary to have to remind somebody that as discouraged as they may be about doing a certain tedious and monotonous task, they're paid by the hour.
     
  4. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Having an active Lehigh rep on the boards certainly does increase the perception of Lehigh. Apollo is a cool company, even though their gel is not top-dog, we like that Keith pokes his head in now and again.

    Is Lehigh worse than Craptronics (Lightronics)? No, of course not. The quality is miles higher than some of the stuff in our industry.

    Now if Lehigh wanted to fill the void recently created by ETC, and make a nice ol' expression clone, that'd be sweet. A couple models, one with extra handles for the two-scene preset crowd, and a compact model with 24 subs for me, that'd be sweet.
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Re: HELP! Fed up with Lehigh

    Whoa there--we're rather sensitive about the discussion of fires in Las Vegas.:(

    I'm sure you just missed a word or two, but allow me to clarify. A large hotel/casino's convention center had an installation with new-to-market Colortran ENR dimmers in several dimmer rooms. In fact, the entire property was Colortran, a couple of thousand dimmers, and a mixture of ENR and D192, due to when specs were written. Approximately five years after the initial installation, in one of the convention center's many dimmer rooms, one ENR rack caught on fire. The hotel's fire suppression system worked as designed, and property damage was minimal. No human injuries occurred. The racks were eventually replaced by ETC Sensor dimmers in phases over the next seven to twelve years.

    I never drew the conclusion that this incident triggered the subsequent bankruptcy, buyout by Lee, and buyout again by NSI, but I suppose its possible/probable. All involved have moved on, having learned from their mistakes.
     
  6. stageleft

    stageleft Member

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    Lehigh has a new board I understand is just being released called the WAVE. Check their website at Welcome to Lehigh Lighting - Controls, Dimming, Fixtures and click on the new products. In contacting the company with questions myself, it is my understanding that this is the first of four base build-on models being introduced. The WAVE, with its high speed in/out USB port (ETC's Smartfade USB is input only I understand), will offer multiple upgrade capability levels; CRT, wings, laptop direct, WYSIWYG, touch screen interface, and ENET direct are all planned....all in a slim down version. I wish them good luck. This company is a real quiet company for some reason. If you want to know anything, you really have to call the company and ask. I am not sure if that helps them or hurts them. I do know their local rep is very up on their stuff and has had great suggestions for all my problems. Wonder why they don't advertise more? I can only imagine the number of private projects they do that no one really hears about....probably thousands of them. Interesting approach to business.


     
  7. farmerjo1111

    farmerjo1111 Member

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    I like a couple of the points that you make. We are in a very small industry. In this industry you never know who you are going to to be working for next. Like my manager always says be careful what you say because tomorrow you maybe working with them or even for them tomorrow. I think that they will always be that small shop that is ready to step up and fill in when the big guys fall down. Good Luck and stay safe.
     
  8. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Just looking at it, I think it looks cool and something I would prefer over the Smartfade. (I don't care too much for the smartfade.) What's the MSRP? Another thing I wish it had was a monitor-out. For some reason, I like having a screen to look at, especially when using Submasters and Programing.
     
  9. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Got a Quasar catalog about somewhere - never throw out the old catalogs or stuff you get faced with later disappears from finding out info for. Still do have to find lamps for the things thus my need for the catalog.

    This much less always supplement with hard copy what might some day just go away in cyber space for product. Beyond hard to find companies in still existing hopefully somewhere is buy outs. This given when I fax a PO to Veam or Advanced Devices at times, the sales people make me re-fax the purchase order to the proper owner of the company or they won’t ship the product. A little game I play with them beyond E-Mailing my Philips rep. at one point that now that they owned one LED company we had a large direct account with, and it was weeks before they bought out another moving light company we also had a even larger account with, what’s my discount factor now like with Phillips lamps? Got about the same answer with them that I did with my Leviton rep in them buying out Colortran/NSI - natta and nothing direct at best in no reply.

    Disagree on leaders and followers if it’s in a way of personal leadership capabilities. Know many tech people that will never lead the company - me for instance that runs my department but won’t go beyond that, amongst others that still find it a job but not a career or others that are in job mode and won’t go the extra mile to make it a part of them. Leaders and followers - while I don’t think this industry will be as effected this time by the recession as past recessions - early 90's and early 2000, in employment for un-skilled labor, I do think that leadership for it is very precarious in having those ready and able to take over for those in the coming years getting ready to retire, verses those on the fast track that at times are more interested in an upper management sense of their image than of overall good or planning. Beyond that often those ready and able to be the next generation are so over-worked they might leave if not sufficiently taken care of. This much less crews for shows and the crew chiefs. Those good are planned to be on shows up to six months or much more in advance where they will be at any point in a year. Given that, there is potentially limited risk that if you excell in your trade you will ever be out of work if you give it your all at least for like the first ten years. Those not able or willing... get out now I think the recession will make the industry in the coming year a bit smaller in not growing as much next year. My prediction, gonna be a recession which typically hits our industry hard in making the 40 hour a week pay check. If you have a name for yourself, secure your wages now, if you don’t be prepaired to get what you can and deal with layoffs - save some in savings as opposed to spending. Save now I got a gut feeling it’s coming and as someone that lived thru the early 90's recession without a name to myself for steady employment, it gets really rough.


    Agreed highly on the “Hill Street Blues” remark in general and especially about saying bad things about a company or people out there - really small industry and if as said in this case not the fault, what’s posted does tremendous harm. This even if saying stuff when at fault - is it more than human error or some other thing that in general is not the norm for the product? Lots of stuff about in being fair and not posting bad things about people or products persay. Very tricky subject in say me mocking say Philips above and I do mock them, but on the other hand there is only some of their lamps I will buy over others and that’s end of story and similar to others. With say Philips it’s like GM also in a huge company, Lehigh not so much. ETC say even not as much in being careful about what you say before you are beyond doubt sure - might just get a phone call the next day as I once did also.

    Anyway, well said “you are talking about the livelihood of employees, retirees, family, and associate companies. And if you have a problem with a product, go to the source first. Have a good summer...Damian Delaney, Lehigh Electric Products Co.,”

    This is the proper first way to do with any product problems especically specific to a product that becomes other than a problem in question and more a thing pointed out about a product in saying it’s bad as it were.

    My apologies Mr. Delaney for what I’m yet to check up on in posting about the product you rep. And not playing my role as a forum assistant manager in correcting what appairently was posted you took offense to. To be honest, where I work sells the product but it’s not my field so I did not read the posts in concern. Please PM me with what posts were a problem and I’ll see if I can correct what’s not so nice implied and or help where I can. Just as a few months ago or years ago when I found problems with ETC product, I was wise not to post because they were corrected and not systemic in a permanent sense. This thru direct contact. Today with Altman, a problem solved in contacting direct and not posting say they didn’t know what lamp bases their fixtures use or something like that.

    Free forum and all are welcome to post their thoughts but on the other hand, school or pro, we are pro’s and it’s good to get a reminder that po’ poing stuff is much like learning to drive stick shift in it suckign at first but not so bad once figured out. That or for me computers... suck when they don’t work, or I didn’t do anything to it, why don’t my key board work properly, yet if I read the manual and studied into it, perhaps as opposed to going all up and arms about it, perhaps it wasn’t the product, just say the cat knocked the wireless remote for it off the table. Stuff like that.


    Good to have another rep as an active member and I'm sure by the love fest above that this will also help to show that just because a brand is less known doesn't mean it's crap gear. As said, our company started selling that brand of gear as with say L&E and others beyond the name ones and a few, a few years ago, I'm yet to hear anything bad about this brand - not that I'm actively in the loop on their product line. Still often good communication as said is the key and this solution of companines communicating direct with customers in what ever way is best for the customer proves best often. For me it's often stuff like joking with the Oz rep about the Shark remote control blimp that ran into a wee problem of weight but should be ready to park over the Phillips booth by next year - or something like that. Jokes as it were with the concept of a remote controlled shark Xs blimp parked over the Phillips booth at LDI one type of E-Mail, on the other hand me direct contacting him about production problems, size of lettering on their box labels, box labels falling off, boxes that are impossible to open without ripping apart etc. etc. etc. on a monthly basis beyond even joking with the division head about the lack of a sense of humor on the part of the local rep. Than there was that "See the light of the New World" thing Mayhem sent me... that was huge comedy that some vendor reps loved... others didn't so much. Good contact with customers. Altman yesterday and before I contacted them today about a mistake on their part and a need for parts by say tomarrow... in asking them to call me in both E-Mail, fax and voice mail, yet them not... that don't work so well with me. Called them on the other hand today and got thru with one of three helping me with the parts. Problem solved even if at times one needs to take an extra step - this given last week I was getting two calls a day from them for a few days about the same order and they were silly questions asked in being self answered. Companies... sales people/vendor reps... warm and cold on help day to day and person to person.

    While day to day I'm tremendously busy and it would be good if we played tag in that if I send a mail, I expect those sent to would respond so I don't have to remember to get back and remind those sent to to reply, on the other hand I'm also busy and forget stuff five minutes later if not crucial for me also. A second call at times is necessary to get stuff taken care of. My TMB rep. that's been pissing me off of late for instance seems to be in China at the moment... no wonder why he from CA has not been taking part with the discussions from those in London of late... While it would be good to get instant help, at times it takes on all parts understanding that there is at times busy times on all parts and sometimes dogmatically sticking with getting the answer and not getting upset over the wait will get the answer. Gotta call back American DJ for instance if I remember... didn't get a reply by my rep on some parts I need yet. Perhaps they forgot or perhaps they are idiots. None the less need their product, just have to remember to call them back in ensuring I get my price quote. This much less call Moting Labs in finding out where the heck is the part I ordered weeks ago? Stuff like that... Great or good companies, but at times gotta stick with it in not getting a response that otherwise might even be normal to them.

    Naimad's imput on the forum especially by PM or E-Mail with this company especially will help clients of their gear no doubt. Wish all would take part this much.


    Side question, given locality and history, can you ask about a bit where you work about the demise of Major and Chicago Stage Lighting? Never really found much in answers about history or what happened to them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2008

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