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Lighting Legend Bill Brown Passes Away at 95

Feb. 14, 2024
Bill and his wife Norma started the Bill Brown Sales lighting rep agency in 1955 from the kitchen table of their apartment while raising their young family.

Bill Brown, founder and chairman of Bill Brown Sales and A.L.P., passed away peacefully yesterday, surrounded by family, in Glenview, IL. He was 95 years old.

Bill and his wife Norma started the Bill Brown Sales lighting rep agency in 1955 from the kitchen table of their apartment while raising their young family. Bill felt pressure to expand services as the business grew, so he entered the manufacturing industry, founding A.L.P. in 1972. Over the course of his almost 70-year career, he witnessed and responded to a technological revolution in lighting, moving from traditional light sources to LEDs. Bill created growth opportunities by listening, learning and finding new ways to meet customer needs.

Bill’s entrepreneurial talent and engaging personality made him a central figure in the lighting community, and his enduring relationships will remain his legacy. He was a prolific correspondent who sent out hundreds of follow-ups weekly, first by U.S. mail and then by email. Over the years, he received numerous industry awards and accolades, including the first-ever Edison Report Lifetime Achievement Award, the IES Louis B Marks Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from RSM McGladrey. He gave back to others in many ways, supporting his local synagogue, Temple Jeremiah, and the cancer research of the City of Hope, among many charitable organizations.

Despite its growth, the organization remains a family business at its core, with Bill’s son Steve serving as CEO and his recently retired son David sitting on A.L.P.’s Board of Directors. Grandson Michael is a regional sales manager for BBS, while grandson Scott serves as a process analyst. The values Bill Brown instilled, including mutual respect, philanthropy and good old-fashioned hard work, will remain as the company’s guiding principles, honoring his memory for years to come.