Soddy-Daisy's Global Green Lighting wins Kruesi award

EARLY INNOVATOR AWARDCumberland Signal Labs, which has designed a system that reduces the amount of wiring behind an airplane dashboard, was given the Chattanooga Technology Council's early innovator award Wednesday.

Global Green Lighting, a Soddy-Daisy company cited Wednesday for innovation with cutting-edge outdoor lights, plans to expand to downtown Chattanooga this year.

Business owner Don Lepard, whose company received the Kruesi award at the city's Spirit of Innovation meeting, said the company is renting space at a former Combustion Engineering building at Riverfront Parkway and Main Street.

"We're leasing it now. We're looking to buy the building," he said about the 112,000-square-foot structure that's been upgraded by the owner.

Initially leasing 13,000 square feet, Lepard said company will put sales, marketing and training in the building as well as make it a demonstration center for its lighting products.

Eventually, he wants to expand the company's engineering facilities to the downtown facility and put in some light manufacturing.

Lepard is moving the company's manufacturing from China to the United States to tap into environmentally friendly projects in the U.S. Already, it has provided upgraded lighting for the city at Coolidge Park. Global Green Lighting has set up lights that can be raised or dimmed remotely via the Internet to respond to emergencies and changing conditions at the downtown park.

Lepard said he expects to initially employ over 80 workers within its first 12 months and then grow to 250 workers over the next two years. He expects to bring on about 15 to 20 workers at the downtown location at first.

In winning the Kruesi award, Global was cited for pioneering highly efficient lighting technologies. Lepard said his company's technology can save up to 75 percent in energy and maintenance costs over traditional lighting.

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