In Memoriam


SPI Lighting Announces Passing of President & CEO Lee A. Doerr, Jr.

Entrepreneur, CEO, and friend will be remembered for his legacy of growing SPI Lighting to a premiere North American luminaire manufacturer


Lee A. Doerr, Jr., President & CEO of SPI Lighting, passed away on August 1, 2019. He was 65.

Mr. Doerr acquired SPI Lighting from Cooper Industries when he was just 34 years old with the vision of building on the company’s reputation as a pioneer of high-efficiency indirect lighting.

The company grew rapidly in the years that followed, significantly expanding its manufacturing facilities, personnel, and product line. Mr. Doerr purchased Advent Lighting in 1999, further expanding the company’s architectural lighting portfolio.

Under his 32 years at the helm, the company developed many key innovations including the Echo Performance Series, which became well-known for its wide range of optics and high-quality, asymmetric indirect light.

Not long after, SPI Lighting pioneered its signature Lightruss system, a unified system for installing and delivering indirect lighting. The product was widely acclaimed and became a popular method for lighting large spaces better, particularly natatoriums. More than 1,200 facilities have been lit with Lightruss.

In 2007, Mr. Doerr saw an opportunity for the company to enter the linear lighting market with a collection of ultra-low profile luminaires that featured simple, clean lines. The brand Stile was launched, which led to the development of many top sellers, including Pavo and Styk.

In recent years, Mr. Doerr worked closely growing the company’s custom manufacturing division. He took great pride in the company’s ability to design and manufacture just about anything.

Mr. Doerr prided himself on providing hundreds of jobs and maintaining an exemplary facility for them to do their best work. 

The common thread throughout his career was the importance of people and their lives within his business. He constantly emphasized the importance of relationships and friendships that tie together manufacturers and representatives with customers and specifiers.

Thanks to his leadership, SPI Lighting is stronger than ever. The business continues under the direction of co-CEOs Chris Doerr & Dan Doerr, Lee’s brothers; and remains independently-owned. The management team is led by Rick Meyer, VP of Sales & Marketing; Kelly McNamee, Director of Operations; and Cecilia Allison, Chief Financial Officer.