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Local company offers energy friendly lighting options

"We are simply saving energy - period," said Les Webster to state Sen. Sheila Harsdorf.

Webster is the President of Paragon Lighting, a company that manufactures energy saving fluorescent lighting products for commercial, industrial and institutional use.

Last Wednesday (June 11) Harsdorf was given a tour of the Hudson company and a breakdown on how its products are saving energy - an issue that continues to be a worldwide concern.

Paragon is one of four companies owned by the corporation Varon, whose mission is to be a leader in environmentally friendly lighting. Paragon was founded in 1995 by Scott Brecher and Dwaine Halvorsen; together they had over 25 years of lighting experience. Brecher is still with the company and is in charge of product development and design.

"We expect continued strong demand because we have a very high quality product, a good price and a good distribution system," said Dale Sullivan, marketing manager who has been with the company for two and a half years.

Six years ago Paragon had six employees. Today they have more than 50. There's been a 50 percent employee growth each year over the last four years. Employees include management, sales, customer service and production.

Paragon sells and ships products to its distributors, located in Canada and every U.S. state, and also to lighting specialists. From there the products are sold for use in hospitals, food production, manufacturing, schools, gymnasiums and warehouses.

While products are not typically for home use, it is possible to purchase the fixtures through a lighting specialist for a basement or garage.

Customers are usually smaller businesses but their products have been utilized by many large companies, including Anderson Windows, General Motors, Coca-Cola, 3M and ACE Hardware.

Paragon's computer designed fixtures can cut energy costs by 50 percent and typically add about 30 percent more light. They are made with a highly reflective aluminum that is strategically bent to reflect light. The "mirror-like" design is what creates the increased light without using the extra energy.

Another important element in the products is the color temperature of the lamps, which is less yellow and can be compared to the color of daylight. Brighter lighting can affect moods and even change how productive people are at work, said Sullivan.

"We promote daylight colors because it's easier on the eye," he said. "It's better visual acuity with the same amount of light."

Sullivan said they've continued to please their customers and have recently opened another branch in New York. However, all their products are still manufactured in Hudson.

Besides providing an opportunity to save energy, Paragon offers other services like free training sessions and newsletters. Current and prospective customers can attend training every third or fourth Thursday of the month. Here, time is spent touring the plant and discussing products and new breakthroughs in light technology. Sullivan said they've had customers travel to Paragon for training from all areas of the country.

A newsletter is also sent out about six times a year to distributors. This touches on the variety of issues involving the lighting industry such as energy policy acts, research articles and current Paragon rebates and products.

Paragon Lighting is located at 623 Brakke Drive in Hudson. Visit the website at or call (715)381-2971 for more information.