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60886103 / Kheng Ho To / Dreamstime
Birchwood Lighting
Birchwood Lighting adds linear LED expertise to Leviton's new lighting business unit.

Leviton to Keep Separate Reps for Lighting Brands While Integrating Lighting and Controls

May 12, 2017
The company adds Birchwood Lighting to its new lighting business and looks to add more.

Leviton Manufacturing, Melville, NY, added another lighting manufacturer to its Leviton Lighting business unit last week, pushing forward with a plan to integrate its longtime stature in wiring devices and controls with new offerings in luminaires.

Birchwood Lighting, based in Tustin, CA, adds expertise in linear LED lighting to the offering Leviton has built up through several acquisitions over the past few years. Birchwood Lighting joins JCC Advanced, ConTech Lighting and Intense Lighting in the new Leviton Lighting under the leadership of John Ranshaw, vice president and general manager of the newly integrated business unit, who was president of ConTech. Ranshaw’s team is now working on a plan for integrating the companies to leverage their strengths.

As with its other lighting acquisitions, Leviton sees many opportunities for synergies and cost savings in engineering, product development, marketing and customer support, but draws the line at disrupting long-standing and successful relationships with lighting reps, Daryoush Larizadeh, Leviton’s president and COO, told Electrical Marketing.

“We made the deliberate decision to keep the sales channel separate for each,” Larizadeh said. “We haven’t forced agency alignment because if the agencies have been successful selling these lines we don’t want to be disruptive. We have aligned them on national accounts, so we can bring together recessed lighting from Intense and track lighting from ConTech and now linear lighting from Birchwood ­— we can bring a whole portfolio, including controls. But on the lighting agent side, also those who rep our controls, we don’t want to be disruptive.”

Larizadeh said the current product mix of Leviton Lighting is oriented to architectural and spec-grade products but he hopes to add more, either through acquisition or organically through new product development. He sees further opportunities in outdoor lighting, in design-build-oriented products and other categories apart from what’s considered commodity lighting.

Leviton’s move into lighting makes sense in the context of the evolving lighting market, but it’s a move that wouldn’t have been popular in the legacy lighting industry because it would have put Leviton in competition with lighting manufacturers who have long been important allies and customers. Now the move to LEDs and connected lighting has changed the game.

“Now, with all the new competition from outsiders and other changes in the market, that’s not so big a deal,” Larizadeh said. “We all have a lot more new competitors that we didn’t have before. It’s become very fragmented.”

Leviton competitors such as Lutron and Legrand have also added luminaires, and lighting manufacturers such as Acuity have pursued a similar package offering from the opposite direction by acquiring controls companies.