April 16, 2024   

Tom Benton Joins PG Enlighten as Principal

2024 04 tom benton pg emlighten chicago lighting agents.jpg

Lighting exec returns to Chicago to help lead the agency he's collaborated with throughout much of his career


PG Enlighten, a prominent lighting agent in the Chicago lighting market has appointed Tom Benton to its leadership team as a new Principal. He joins a well-established group of principals at PG Enlighten including Jim Haworth and Marc Pilipuf, the owner/principals, as well as Jim Sychta and Patti Geier. This strategic addition is aimed at bolstering the company’s growth and enhancing its market strategy.

Benton, a native of Oak Park, Illinois, began his career in Chicago and has a rich history in the lighting industry. His work initially intersected with PG Enlighten during his time at Cooper Lighting, when PG Enlighten was known as Pilipuf-Grist & Associates and both were headquartered in Elk Grove Village. In the late 1990s, Benton relocated to Peachtree City, Georgia, as part of Cooper Lighting's move to the new headquarters in the sleepy Atlanta suburb.


Throughout his career, Benton has held several influential roles that shaped his expertise and leadership impact. After a significant tenure at Cooper Lighting, he spent two years at Lighting Science Group, reporting directly to CEO Jim Haworth, who would later join PG Enlighten as Principal. He then joined Hubbell Lighting, where over 11+ years he held numerous positions of increasing responsibility and was a key figure in helping Hubbell Lighting merge into Current after Current acquired the company in 2022.

tom benton 5 big qs 2022.jpg

Above:  LightFair 2022 | Tom Benton (right) with Al Uszynski, Inside Lighting (left) and Manish Bhandari, Current (center)

The Hubbell Lighting – PG Enlighten Architect

One of Benton's achievements at Hubbell Lighting was helping the company revitalize its sales in Chicago. Historically, the company faced significant challenges in establishing a strong presence in this large and important market. These challenges persisted for decades as the company struggled to gain traction with agent partners S2C and Chicago Lighting against well-entrenched competitors like Pilipuf-Grist and Konnerth Sales Agency, now KSA Lighting & Controls.

In 2016, a pivotal deal engineered by Benton significantly altered the company's trajectory in this crucial market. The deal Benton orchestrated involved Hubbell Lighting partnering with PG Enlighten. Benton's dealmaking ended a long period of mediocrity for Hubbell Lighting in Chicago, while also further bolstering his personal relationship with the PG Enlighten executive team.

This move not only enhanced Hubbell's position but also marked a significant shift in the competitive dynamics within the local lighting market, having ripple effects across the Chicago area. Notably, it ended the decades-long relationship between Cooper Lighting and PG Enlighten. As a result, Cooper Lighting redirected its partnership strategies towards new agents and has since aligned with two different startup agents over the subsequent seven years.


Looking ahead:

Jim Haworth chimed in with his enthusiasm, "Adding Tom Benton to our team marks a significant milestone in our company's growth and strategy. Tom's proven expertise and visionary leadership are pivotal as we strive to innovate and expand our market presence. His appointment is not just a gain for us but a signal to the industry that we are committed to delivering excellence and setting new benchmarks. We are thrilled to welcome Tom aboard and eagerly anticipate the energy he brings to our future endeavors."

Benton spoke with Inside Lighting yesterday, his first day on the job, expressing enthusiasm about PG Enlighten, his new role and its possibilities.

Upon joining PG Enlighten, Benton's move not only marks a return to his Chicagoland lighting roots but also brings strategic advantages to the agency. With his wife, a native of Lake Forest, Illinois, he is relocating from the Southeast, adding his extensive experience and a fresh perspective to one of the most storied lighting agents in the Midwest.