Doug Bacon says there are trillions of dollars — that’s with 12 zeroes — in lighting.
Bacon is the CEO/president of Reneu Energy, a Canadian company that manufactures LED street lights. The company is expanding and is planning to set up shop this fall at Longleaf Business Park off U.S. 27.
Before making a presentation last week to the Lake Wales City Commission, Bacon talked about how he came to Polk County.
He said he had no intention of coming to the United States, but was especially impressed with the forward thinking people he met in Florida who talked with him about the huge potential for his business.
“As long as things prove themselves out, there is no limit to where it can go,” Bacon said.
“Today lighting is trillions of dollars being transferred between here and China in lighting products.”
He was told that the trend is to go Asia.
“We got into the conversation in Florida and the thought process was totally different,” he said. “It wasn’t go to China. ‘Why don’t you do it here?’.”
It was going to be a big step for Bacon, whose background is in construction.
“Usually when you start talking that depth people have a tendency to back up because they look at you — where is your ring? Are you an engineer? Are you a doctor? Are you a scientist? No, I’m an electrician,’” he said.
An export executive in Miami suggested Bacon visit Polk and he did. When he arrived, Bacon met Mark McDuff, senior business development manager for the Central Florida Development Council.
“Mark was just a prince of a guy to talk to,” Bacon said.
“I was a little taken back because I really wasn’t expecting that. Just a very pleasant man and (we) just talked.
“He must have talked the right things because he had my interest,” Bacon said.
They looked around and McDuff introduced Bacon to Harold Gallup, economic development director for Lake Wales.
“Between the two of them taking me around, then they brought me to the development (Longleaf),”
“I drove around, looked at the buildings, drove around and even went to a couple of restaurants,” Bacon added. “I liked it. I started asking questions and these two (McDuff and Gallup) were quite informative.”
Longleaf developer Joseph Miranda, president of Joseph F. Miranda Inc. Developers and General Contractors, provided some incentives for the deal.
Reneu will initially be producing the street lights in a 25,000 square-foot space and eventually use 50,000 square feet at Longleaf.
“We built the fixture to the future, not to the past,” he said. “So it is a completely new creation. We have a design patent registered in Washington.”