Stay-Lite celebrates 45th anniversary, recent growth

By Brandon Anderegg - Special to The Freeman

August 26, 2017

Attendees mingle and network at Stay-Lite Lighting's 45th anniversary celebration on Thursday.
Brandon Anderegg/Special to the Freeman

CITY OF PEWAUKEE - On Thursday, Stay-Lite Lighting, a lighting company headquartered in the city, celebrated its 45th anniversary as well as a 240 percent increase in growth over the last four years.

Stay-Lite Lighting is a Wisconsin- based company that provides lighting and electrical solutions for commercial, industrial and retail businesses. Strategic acquisitions and partnerships have allowed Stay-Lite to expand its reach to nearly every corner of the nation.

The company now has four brick-and-mortar locations: The City of Pewaukee, Appleton, Detroit and Cleveland. In addition to these sites, the company has 11 satellite facilities and partners that allow the company to service over 10,000 customers in 49 states.

In the past year, the company expanded its City of Pewaukee facility by 50 percent, became an electrical contractor in Minnesota and extended its self-perform regions to include Minnesota, New York, New Jersey and Indiana for a total of 14 states, according to the Stay-Lite website.

The Professional Lighting and Sign Management Companies of America, a national alliance of independently owned service providers, and The International Association of Lightning Management Companies also enable Stay-Lite to service additional regional and national clients, according to a press release.

In addition to Stay-Lite’s dramatic growth, the company is a three-time winner of the MMAC Future 50 Award as well as a three-time winner of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Fastest Growing Firms Award.

On Thursday, Stay-Lite Lighting celebrated its 45th anniversary as well as a 240 percent increase in growth over the last four years.
Brandon Anderegg/Special to the Freeman

Diamonds driving economic growth

From the top of a scissor lift, Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch gave a speech on Thursday that included a commendation on behalf of Governor Scott Walker. Kleefisch referred to Stay-Lite employees as “diamonds,” saying they must be “gem quality” for a company to have operated for 45 years.

“As lieutenant governor, that makes me proud,” said Kleefisch. “But as a consumer and a mom, it makes me even more proud because you make us all look good in the Kohl’s dressing rooms.”

With 80 employees across 14 states, Stay-Lite President Kirk Tuson said he attributes company growth to the talented team of employees that keep customers coming back.

“I truly admire the Stay-Lite employees,” said Tuson. “They come to work every day charged and motivated to exceed the customers’ expectations. They treat each other with respect kindness and humor all while ensuring Stay-Lite continues to grow and is profitable.”

Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow said it is the small businesses, the startups and the companies like Stay-Lite that drive economic growth in Waukesha County.

“When you look at Waukesha County and what it provides, we are the third largest economic-wise in the state of Wisconsin,” said Farrow. “We’re the second largest when you look at counties in this region.”

Farrow expressed confidence in the economic expansion of Wisconsin but more specifically Waukesha County in the coming years, especially in the wake of the Foxconn deal. Farrow called the deal an “injection on steroids” and “a catalyst for growth” even in Waukesha County.

“I’ve been talking to commercial land owners that are now getting phone calls from competitive firms of Foxconn looking to see what they can do here,” said Farrow. “Where they go, they know the technology is going to be there.”

Shortage of skilled-trade workers

Farrow said he has heard that the workforce in Wisconsin has skills Foxconn hasn’t seen in other areas. However, he admitted this was a blessing and a curse because there is still a need for laborers in the field of skilled trades, which can be a hurtle even for successful companies like Stay-Lite.

“Our expansion and growth has led us to a need for quality workers and talent,” said Tuson. “Especially recently, the biggest challenge is finding enough skilled-trade workers.”

Nevertheless, the search for skilled trade workers may be in motion as the Waukesha County Center For Growth’s workforce development programs take effect. Center For Growth Director Tim Casey said 200 students from Waukesha and Milwaukee county high schools visited the Menomonee Falls Fox Meadow Parade of Homes for a tour of the jobsites and “trade talks.” Casey also said that “Schools2Skills” is another program the center offers that connects potential employees with companies seeking skilled trade workers in manufacturing.

Tuson emphasized that the growth of a business is ultimately a result of the relationships built within its workforce.