Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010 - (Page 136)

Innovative Lighting / HQ: Roland, Iowa / Employees: 120 / Products: Lighting and injection molding Jerry Handsaker, president: “We think LED will be the lighting of choice in the very near future.” innovative lighting says it has worked with led for 10 years and tests its products under conditions. At First Light many of innovative lighting’s 1,100 products have patents and utilize led technology. by kathryn jones The recession may have wreaked havoc on the manufacturing industry as a whole, but Innovative Lighting continues to shine brightly, thanks to the ingenuity of its founder and staff, the relationships it has with its vendors and suppliers, and its commitment to customer satisfaction. The Roland, Iowa, firm has been on a fast track to success since its inception in 1993 and has the accolades to prove it. Innovative Lighting landed a spot on the 2009 Inc. 5,000 list of the 136 SPRING 2010 fastest-growing private companies in the United States, and was ranked on the Inc. 500 list every year from 2002 to 2005. President Jerry Handsaker received the 2004 Iowa/Nebraska region Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, which is a significant accomplishment given that he fell into the business unintentionally. scopic stern light for boats that would keep the operator from leaving the controls of the boat to turn on the navigation lights. “When you flip the switch, the rear light would extend from the surface of the boat much like an antenna extends from the fender of a car,” he describes. “Prior to that time, most navigation lights were in a fixed position.” Handsaker couldn’t find anyone to manufacture the product, so he established his own corporation. Initially, Innovative Lighting catered to the needs of the marine industry, but the company quickly added other markets to its repertoire, including truck and trailer, recreational vehicles (RV), home improvement, and most recently, supermarkets and convenience stores. It has approximately 1,100 SKUs and launches several new products each year, which are manufactured from the company’s 60,000square-foot facility in Roland. Innovative Lighting needed precise plastic lenses to create the various lighting patterns required by the regulations in the marine and vehicle lighting markets. To control how these lenses were made, the company started injection molding its own components. It also molds plastic parts for other firms in its region. In 2009, it acquired a 40,000square-foot facility to continue growing the injection molding services it offers to other businesses through either Innovative Lighting or its subsidiary Hawkeye Molding. Surviving the Recession Many of the markets that Innovative Lighting serves are luxury or discretionary cash items, such as boats, campers and RVs. “People avoid buying many of those things when there is an economic downturn, and that’s pretty much what happened during this last year,” Handsaker notes. “The marine and RV industries had more bankruptcies this year than I’ve seen A Clever Invention A lawyer by trade, Handsaker had a patented idea for a motorized tele-

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010

Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010
Global Strategies
Cost Concerns
Growth Opportunities
Continuous Improvement
Business Value
Juanita’s Foods
Les Plats du Chef
Gardner Denver
Smeal Fire Apparatus Co.
Club Car Inc.
Parkson Corp.
MKS Instruments Inc.
Amity Technology
Co-Operative Industries
Corbi Plastics
Elyria/Hodge Foundries Co.
Inteplast Group Ltd.
Willbanks Metals
Zotos International Inc.
Akron Foundry Co.
Alo North America
Bosal International
First American Plastic Molding Enterprise
MAC Equipment
Mayville Engineering Co. Inc.
Kurtz Bros. Inc.
Aesco Electronics
Code 3 Inc.
Columbia Marking Tools
Euro-Rite Cabinets
Fampec Technology LLC
Faubion Associates Inc.
Ginsey Industries Inc.
Imagineering Finishing Technologies
Imperial Woodworks Inc.
Innovative Lighting
Liburdi Dimetrics
MTC Transformers
Plastiques GPR
S.A. Robotics
Sunrise Windows
Positran Manufacturing Inc.
Manufacturing Tomorrow

Manufacturing Today - Spring 2010