DAVID LITTMAN IS A MAN OF UNBOUND ENERGY. While he keeps an open door to his office, you likely won't find him sitting still behind a desk. As a hands-on participant in all aspects of production, finding David in Hudson Valley Lighting's Upstate New York facility is no simple task. Perhaps he's picked up a pencil to work out his latest inspiration in our design studio. Or maybe he is on the factory floor to inspect merchandise and ensure its superior fit and finish. Otherwise, you may catch him on a conference call, helping one of our global sales representatives to meet the worldwide demand for our beautiful, high quality home lighting products. As the founder and president of Hudson Valley Lighting, David possesses an infectious exuberance for his work that belies his nearly thirty-five years in the lighting business.
David's history in lighting actually dates back many years before his own birth. In 1939, William Littman, a Brooklyn-based inventor and David's grandfather, was greatly inspired by the fluorescent lighting introduced to the mainstream building industry at the New York World's Fair. By 1947, what began as a garage-based business had grown substantially and the Littman family moved upstate to expand operations in the Hudson River Valley. David's own apprenticeship to the lighting industry began when he was in high school and started working in the warehouse of his father's commercial lighting factory. Though David soon moved to Boston to attend BU and earn a Bachelor's in Accounting, he returned each summer to resume duties in the family business. After graduating from George Washington in 1985 with an MBA in finance, David decided to come home and build his career in Orange County. At only twenty-three, David took the helm of his own business in the Newburgh, NY location where Hudson Valley Lighting continues to reside.
While bright enthusiasm for today's Hudson Valley Lighting is the mark of David's kinetic leadership, he becomes reflective when asked about his twenty-eight year tenure as HVL's principal and the experiences that have brought his company industry recognition as leader in style and quality. "I was always an aesthetic person," David recalls; "My mother had a passion for antiques and I was thrilled to be her partner in these 'treasure hunts.' Helping build her collection gave me an appreciation for beautiful things—for how beauty can transform your experience of the everyday."
However, David learned an early lesson in matching the outward beauty of an object to its inner strength. He recounts a meeting with an important buyer, who was initially impressed by the appearance of his designs. The buyer was interested in purchasing a large quantity of product to be sold under the name of a respected retailer; however, when she had the opportunity to handle a fixture in person, she disappointedly remarked, "It looks great, but it doesn't feel great." David immediately understood that he had neglected an important tenet of the aesthetic education he received as a young boy: "it's not enough for an object to look great; it must be made to last for future generations to appreciate it." Since that moment, David shifted from focusing strictly on the visual impact of design to what he describes as "the out of box experience," or the sense of quality evident when a superbly manufactured fixture is held and subjected to close, tactile scrutiny.
"Hudson Valley is about more than lighting; it's about a lifestyle," insists David with missionary zeal. "We design and build beautiful fixtures for people who put quality first—for people who are not willing to trade-off that increasingly rare characteristic." He elaborates: "Our aim is to make a space look absolutely incredible; therefore, our first goal is always to deliver the very best fixture we can. Of course, we can only achieve that goal if we keep our products within reach of customers who understand the lasting value of a well-made fixture, but cannot simply disregard price entirely." At this, David smiles. After twenty-eight years, he knows that quality, beauty, and value are more than goals; they are what Hudson Valley Lighting does better than anyone else in the business.