July 14, 2023   

Acuity Brands Says "Aloha" to New Agent Partnership

2023 07 Acuity Brands new Hawaii agent.jpg

SDLA principals partner with local talent to establish new Hawaii agency


The management team of Acuity Brands' San Diego-based lighting agent, San Diego Lighting Associates (SDLA) is slated to represent Acuity Brands in another coastal territory - Hawaii. This move comes as Acuity Brands recently terminated its Hawaiian lighting agent, Solid State Lighting Hawaii (SSLH) paving the way for the newly established agency, Hawaii Lighting Associates. The new agency will represent Acuity Brands effective Monday, July 31.



The business formation of Hawaii Lighting Associates occurred in May, when SDLA Principals Danny Cortez and Brian Rhea initiated the business registration process in the State of Hawaii. They are set to be joined by Honolulu-based DJ Diamond-Gonzalez, a former Regional Sales Manager for the architectural lighting brand Kelvix. Having a history as a lighting agent, including prior service with SSLH, Diamond-Gonzalez is expected to bring significant local knowledge and insight to the new venture.


Notably, the switch to the new agent was revealed when Acuity Brands' thirty-plus brands suddenly disappeared from SSLH's web-based line card in recent days. Inside.lighting's I-Team, having noticed this, reached out to Acuity Brands and SDLA who answered several questions that contributed to this report.


Related: Hawaii Lighting Market »


“NOT a SoCal-based agency”

As the albatross flies, San Diego is closer to New York City than it is to Hawaii. Geographically speaking, with a distance of over 2,500 miles separating San Diego from Hawaii, managing the new business remotely may pose a significant challenge for San Diego-based Principals Danny Cortez and Brian Rhea.

SDLA has managed to serve a population of 3.5 million comprising only San Diego and Imperial counties in California. This contrasts with Hawaii's spread-out population of 1.5 million scattered across its many islands.

The business landscape in Hawaii can often favor locals and prove challenging for mainland businesses attempting to establish themselves. Hence, Diamond-Gonzalez's local presence and familiarity with the Hawaiian market will be instrumental. Diamond-Gonzalez is no stranger to SDLA, having collaborated with them in his previous role as the Kelvix Regional Sales Manager for the San Diego market.

We asked Rhea about the geographic distance and he emphasized “This is absolutely NOT a SoCal-based agency. Hawaii Lighting Associates is a Hawaii-based agency with local leadership and associates to service the day-to-day business. DJ Diamond-Gonzalez will be the Managing Principal on island.”


Other manufacturers outside of Acuity Brands

Representing the Acuity Brands Lighting portfolio is a strong start for any startup agent, but Rhea also informed us, “We have commitments from about 40 manufacturers and are in discussions with roughly another 30. As you know, there is a 30-day period for their existing representatives to close out their obligations to their respective contracts, and once our effective date begins, we will be able to announce the manufacturer partnerships.”

The company already has a website in the works, www.hilightingassociates.com, and cites four people on the team; the three principals plus project manager Chevelle Diamond-Gonzalez who presumably is related to DJ Diamond-Gonzalez.


Related: Hawaii Lighting Market »


In a recent letter to stakeholders and customers, Dave Daniels, Acuity Brands' VP of C&I Regional Sales expressed appreciation for SSLH's representation of their brands, wishing them well for their future endeavors.