Lighting the way

Ellis Yan came to the United States from China in 1979 to attend Cleveland State University. Twenty-three years later, Yan is not only the president and CEO of Technical Consumer Products, his company is also setting the standard in the compact florescent lamp industry.

Yan had worked in the lighting industry since 1986, but in 1993 saw an opportunity in energy efficient lighting products and began concentrating on the compact florescent lamp (CFL) market.

In 1996, the company developed the SpringLamp, a twisted tube design that has become standard in the CFL market. The SpringLamps spiral shape makes it compatible with a variety of incandescent fixtures while providing maximum light output, and, like a regular light bulb, screws directly into the light fixture.

“The keys to our success have been creativity, the people, discipline and consistency,” says Yan.

TCP faces the challenge of manufacturing a product that requires consumer education. CFLs are more expensive than traditional lamps, but use only 25 percent of the electricity and last up to 15 times longer.

“It’s a behavior change to get them to reach for our lamps instead of a four-pack of light bulbs,” says Yan. “That’s why we work very closely with utility companies. They put out a tremendous amount of money in rebates to get people to use the product.”

TCP is also exploring lighting control systems that will automatically control the light levels in your home based on existing light and combine with motion sensors to turn off lights that haven’t been in use. These same systems are adaptable to commercial buildings.

The commercial sector is attractive because more fixtures translates into higher labor costs. With a lamp that lasts 15,000 hours instead of 1,000 hours, there’s an immediate return on investment in the form of lower labor costs.

“One reason I’m proud of our company is that we make a positive contribution to the environment,” says Yan. “That’s a benefit that goes beyond what we do for the company, profits and anything else.” How to reach: Technical Consumer Products,