How long have you been a part of the team?
I started HiViz LED Lighting in 2010/2011 when I was living in Lillington, NC. The whole thing started off as a toy business that was going to import lighting and sell to customers I knew from my days of work in the Bio Fuel industry. I quickly learned that the Chinese import game was a joke, and that everything I was bringing in was falling apart. In 2012 I partnered with Vision X Lighting, who at the time was manufacturing ultra-reliable lighting products primarily for the Offroad market and the Pit Mining industry. Our relationship continued to grow over the next 6 years and eventually we stopped acting as separate companies but contractually merged the operations of the businesses and jointly attack our target markets together.
What do you do for the company?
Today, my role primarily involves setting the vision for the FireTech brand, developing new products, and managing our relationships with key OEM customers. I spend a fair amount of time in front of the camera trying to teach folks about why FireTech products are unique, what tips they can employ to safely light a fire scene, and documenting the various cities and events we attend while spreading the word about HiViz LED Lighting and the FireTech brand.
Why do you come to work every day?
I’ll be honest… when I started this business my goal was to sell a few lights to a few legacy customers and collect enough profit to outfit one of my trucks with “light bars” as they were just beginning to trend in the off-road market. However, in 2011 I was introduced to the Fire/Rescue industry after a not-so-successful demonstration of the lighting products we were working with at the time to a group of local fire departments. One of the Fire Chiefs I was meeting with very bluntly told me I didn’t know anything about Firefighting, and suggested if I wanted to grow a business with this market as the focus, I’d be well served to join his Fire Dept and go through their academy first. I’d always thought it would be cool to be a firefighter, but never had an opportunity or a reason to give it a go. After his offer, I took him up on it and began to learn the basics of the firefighting industry from the perspective of the user. It blew my mind that fire departments all around the country were purchasing apparatus that cost sometimes upwards of $1M, and still yet, had such poorly placed/selected scene lighting fixtures that it was virtually impossible to see on night time calls.
That fire chief was a great mentor while I was learning the ropes as a firefighter. He was an Air Force veteran and taught the virtues of hard work, determination, and perseverance. Right, Wrong, or otherwise this guy was determined to teach the less experienced folks on the department whatever he could offer. After being pushed to attend EMS school and get my EMT-B, my very first EMS call ever was a cardiac arrest at his house… it was this fire chief that had taken the time to teach me about the industry in hopes of seeing my, at the time, tiny business grow and be successful. So why do I go to work every day? To see to it that I put to good use the lessons this fire chief taught me, and now to support other firefighters and chiefs who are working to instill similar values in the members of their organizations.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy travelling, tinkering with electronics or machines, hanging out with my Wife (Kaoma) and dog (Slick the Dog). I like rock climbing and playing the cello, but don’t get the time to do either of those very often any more.
What is your favorite product?
My favorite product would have to be the FireTech Guardian. It’s a culmination of 5 years of work in the industry, and answers all of the problems commonly associated with scene lights on fire apparatus today. Optically, it is optimized for our application. Physically we took in to account the problem of cracking the corners of the lens. Instead of screwing through the lens, we opted to have our hardware only touch the housing and never come in contact with the plastic. We addressed the moisture problems that plague our industry by incorporating a pressure-equalizing vent valve that allows the fixture to breathe without drawing condensation in from outside the light. Overall, this is the most purpose-built product in our range, and every single part of piece of the fixture has a very specific function.