Who will lead the LED Tube Revolution?
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Fluorescent tube lights have dominated commercial illumination for over 50 years. The corporate powerhouses like General Electric, Philips, and Osram Sylvania are well established as multi-national powerhouses. This sets up a David and Goliath type “challenge” for the growth companies that are trying to disrupt the half century of incumbent lighting with the new more energy efficient and toxic free LED tube technology. The type of executives that are taking a bold position to challenge some of the largest corporations in the world have a different type of approach than what the LED industry refers to as the “glass and gas” executives that continue to sell the fluorescent tubes that are filled with mercury vapor.
The Chairman and CEO, of Greater Philadelphia based Independence LED Lighting, is one example of the new generation of bold LED lighting leadership. The company is a leading U.S. manufacturer of the “Best Built LED tube” and here are few excerpts from a recent CEO profile from the Philadelphia Business Journal:
Essential business philosophy: Accept that everything has room for improvement.
Best way to keep a competitive edge: Ask more questions than anyone else … and stay hydrated.
Yardstick of success: The point when our energy-saving commercial LED tubes force the global fluorescent tube companies to abandon their outdated technology.
Goal yet to be achieved: Five-star growth: Fifth consecutive year (2013) of doubling annual revenue on LED tube sales.
Best decision: Moving our LED tube manufacturing from China to Pennsylvania in 2010.
Worst decision: Trusting quality and warranties on imported lighting technology.
Toughest decision: Passing on a private equity firm term sheet and funding opportunity, so that I could prevent shareholder dilution before benchmark growth.
The market of LED tube manufacturers and LED distributors has stated to grow in the U.S. and around the world. The executives that make the LED tube lights, to replace the less efficient fluorescent tubes, may look back at these early days of the energy revolution fondly, just as the innovators of personal computers looked back to remember the typewriters with special memory ribbons that were sold as “word processors”. For all the improvements that have been made to fluorescent tubes, the efficiency of LED tubes appears to trump the older technology. Typical T8 fluorescent tube technology runs 32 watts on the most common 4’(1200mm) lengths, while equivalent directional lumens of output are delivered for under 18 watts with LED tube lights. The writing is on the wall for the generation of fluorescent CEO’s that may have spent too much time looking over their shoulder rather than down the road.