Illuminating Career For Lighting Chief


Current Concepts installs and services electronic systems, including lighting controls. When the economy turned, the company was able to shift its focus from installing Lutron products in new construction to retrofitting existing homes with wireless light controls, Hill said.

Hill said Lutron is their go-to company for light control products because its systems are so reliable and its customer support is exceptional.

“They are bulletproof,” Hill said. “It’s amazing how little problems we have with the lighting.”

Lutron employees say Spira has a sense of loyalty that they appreciate, especially when they see friends and neighbors laid off. He takes a personal interest in each employee’s life, they said, congratulating them about weddings and births and inquiring about their projects.

Jim Yorgey, a technical applications manager, has worked at Lutron for 40 years. He began after high school in the quality control department and returned following college. He’s had various jobs with the company, and spent three years in the United Kingdom to help launch an international sales team.

Spira’s stewardship with his employees has also paid off for Lutron. As a private company, it can defy the Wall Street model of boosting profits through cost-cutting and layoffs during recessionary periods.

To the contrary, when business slows, Lutron redeploys its people to create new products for when the economy picks up again, said Dexter Baker, who served on Lutron’s board of directors for more than a decade after he retired as chairman of Air Products. That practice has helped Lutron maintain its technological edge in the industry.

Spira could have sold the company years ago and lived quite comfortably off the proceeds. But he has no plans to sell. Larger companies often inquire about purchasing Lutron to gain its valuable patents and products.

One of his responses early in his career has become legendary in Lehigh Valley business circles. A large, publicly traded electronics company sent Spira a letter asking about opening discussions for a potential “merger,” a word used by executives to sound more like a partnership than one party selling to another. Spira sent a flip response.

He scribbled atop the letter, “Well, I have no interest in selling my company. But if you’d like to sell your company to me, I’d be pleased to talk about it.”

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Posted by on Nov 1st, 2012 and filed under American Street Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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