Lighting company’s employment
could triple in Oskaloosa
Associated Press/The Gazette
August 24, 2006
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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.