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Musco plans $15 million expansion
Lighting company’s employment could triple in Oskaloosa

Associated Press/The Gazette

August 24, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by The Gazette, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of The Gazette.]

  DES MOINES (AP) — A southern Iowa company that grew from lighting high school and Little League baseball fields to major ballparks, NASCAR speedways, space shuttle launches and movie sets, plans to expand, adding hundreds of workers over the next decade.
  Musco Lighting, a privately held company based in Oskaloosa, will not ask for public money, using its own capital to fund the e s t i m a t e d $ 15 million expansion, said President Joe Crookham.
  ‘‘Now that we’re successful in business we don’t need help, and it seems foolish to me to tax the general public to help us,’’ he said.
  Oskaloosa Mayor David Dixon said he is impressed that Crookham seeks nothing from the city but support from the zoning department at a time when most companies ask for tax breaks or grants.
  ‘‘He’s not coming in and asking us for any dollars on this thing, so we’re just so incredibly fortunate to have that,’’ Dixon said. ‘‘I think we’re all tremendously excited about it.’’ Crookham said his company will donate about $1 million to various organizations in Oskaloosa this year, and it wouldn’t make sense to turn around and ask for money to expand.
  The city’s tax dollars will be better spent on things like recreation, schools and streets that make it a better place for his employees to live, he said. ‘‘It’s part philosophical, philanthropic, in part it’s just plain good business to say we’ll spend our money to do this stuff and you guys spend the community’s money on making it a better community,’’ he said.
  Musco currently employs more than 1,000 people. About 350 are based in Oskaloosa, 350 in Muscatine and 350 work in other U.S. and international offices.
  Crookham said he expects employment in Oskaloosa to nearly triple over the next decade, an addition of as many as 700 workers. Staff also will be added in other locations, he said.
  The company, which does not disclose annual sales figures, was founded in 1976 when Crookham and business partner Myron Gordon started a hand tool business and bought a defunct lighting company in Muscatine.
  Now an international distributor of lighting products, Crookham said sports lighting remains the largest business segment.
  Musco also is beginning to provide security lighting for railroad switchyards and other kinds of large-scale transportation facilities, he said.
 Musco Lighting will not ask for public money.