Light-CA and Kore Controls join forces

April 9, 2024
Two lighting manufacturers’ representatives ink a partnership in the key Southern California lighting market. Kore Controls CEO Tom Fischer and Light-CA’s Jason Schanta, a principal and director of sales, will lead Kore LIGHT.

“Lit by Passion. Powered by Partnership.” For Tom Fischer and Jason Schanta, their new company’s tagline is more than just words. It is the foundation upon which two long-time players in the Southern California lighting market plan to operate their new company.

Kore LIGHT — the new company formed by the collaboration between Fischer, the CEO of Kore Logix and Kore Controls, and Schanta, a principal and director of sales at Light-CA — grew out of their working together on lighting controls projects driven by the demands of Title 24. The two brands, both agents of Crestron, found success through a partnership from the start.

“When we started working collaboratively together, our rate of close and the number of projects that we were working on together increased exponentially,” Schanta said. That level of success caused the principals to evaluate — and soon pursue — a permanent business connection.

The new agency, Kore LIGHT, will include a complete controls team providing turnkey design, sales, implementation and commissioning services. In addition, the company will continue to represent an extensive line card of architectural, decorative and landscape lighting manufacturers. Jeff Skippon, the founder and a principal of Light-CA, will remain with Kore LIGHT as a founder and advisor. Fischer and Schanta will serve as principals for Kore LIGHT.

Combining the strengths of the two companies allows the new agency to offer a full turnkey solution in the lighting and control space in the Southern California market, Schanta said.

Efficient buildings, smart lighting

While the genesis for change was the successful collaboration by the two now-partners, Schanta noted that market forces, including California’s building efficiency standards which call for effective lighting controls, are shaping the market for all lighting agencies.

“We’re in the technology business now. We are not necessarily in just the lighting business. Technology is driving the lighting now, so with that advancement, costs, benefits, efficiencies — everything that's released within the last few years — now becomes irrelevant because the next generation is upon us,” Schanta said. “The expectations of an agent today are multifaceted. I mean, we are in the fortunate — and unfortunate — position where we must sometimes take the role of a designer or engineer,” for the controls side of the business.

Having the expertise on staff to specify products that meet specifications — even if LED lighting technology and controls have advanced since the lighting designer or engineer completed his work — is one thing Schanta points to as key to the agency’s success. An even more important aspect, however, is their approach to doing business, a core value that will continue at Kore LIGHT.
“I think that's what we're best at — and known as being — is very honest,” Schanta said. “You know, if we don't have something that's going to fit your project or what you're asking us to solve — even if it isn't on our line card and we know about it, we'll let you know. ‘Hey, look at this brand here. It has something that you can work with. I think it might be worthwhile.’ You know, we get surprising reactions to that from most people. One of the most common is, ‘Why are you suggesting somebody else's product?’”

“It goes back to being solutions-oriented. We get looks at more projects because we are more solutions-oriented than we are guarded to only what's on our own line card,” Schanta said.

With the combined capabilities of Kore Controls and Light-CA, however, that need to seek solutions outside of Kore LIGHT has been eliminated. “We offer a complete solution, including white lighting and controls, while also being able to support the outside field teams in controls-based projects,” Schanta said. A dedicated controls team means that Kore LIGHT has experienced staff with the technical acumen to understand how things work together, the code requirements, Title 24 audits, pre-con and post-con inspections — all aspects of controls service.

The new agency will represent Crestron, PLC Multipoint, Nexlight and SensorWorx.

While the merger may change the company name, it won't change its essential nature, Schanta says. “We've done a very long involved process with Tom, Jeff and I going down the road, assessing who we are as people, who we are as business leaders, and what our core values are. We've already been working together for two years and yielding results. We are just now formalizing it.”

About the Author

Linda Becker

Linda Becker is editor-in-chief of LightSPEC (formerly Architectural SSL). She has more than 20 years of experience in B2B publishing, primarily focused on manufacturing and process applications.