Just a minute with with Keith Johnson, President, Brighter Concepts Ltd.

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:42 pm

Address: Three locations:
1706 East Capitol Drive, Shorewood; 2607 Beltline Highway, Madison; and 926 E. Northwest Highway, Mount Prospect, Ill.

Company Web site: www.solatube.net

Phone number: (414) 332-9050

Industry: Daylighting with Solatube Tubular Skylights, sales and installation for residential and commercial structures.

Number of employees: 12

Company’s annual revenues: 2007 goal is $2.4 million

Education: Bachelor of arts degreein business administration from Northern Arizona University.

Family: Wife, Mary Lou; and children Erica 16; Kathryn 14; Brewster 12; and Molly 12.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“The smartest thing was that we restructured our management team and security. This past year, we experienced some pretty substantial financial losses because a few key employees got greedy and started stealing. We have sadly learned that everything must be checked, double-checked and security is key. We have tightened up everything.”

What’s new at your company?

“We are a premier dealer for Solatube International, and in January they unveiled new product technologies to enhance the performance of the Solatube Tubular Skylight. The skylights now have an enhanced Fresnel lens built into the dome to increase the amount of daylight brought in during the early mornings and late afternoons, and when the sun is high in the sky, the design will actually diminish the glare that the sun can cause.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“The Solatube is being used by more builders for both residential and commercial applications, which has created a need for more employees with construction and lighting backgrounds.  This year, our Madison and Chicago locations will be moving to new high exposure locations. Along with this, more staff and installers will be added.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“For years we were the only tubular skylight on the market, and now several other companies are jumping on the bandwagon. My employees now have to spend more time not only educating customers about the Solatube, and now we are dealing with all kinds of claims the competitors are making. Not all products are created equal, and of course, there is a fine line when you’re talking about any competition, and we strive to stay professional and never bash.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“Green building products. The building industry is going through a huge change to keep up with the demand, and the Solatube series of daylighting products are truly the hottest thing going in the daylighting industry. No electric consumption, better quality of lighting, no leaks and minimal heat gain and loss.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“Several years ago, the CEO of Solatube International gave me the book, Focus, by Al Ries. It was filled with examples of businesses that lost focus by always trying to add products and services. The temptations are out there, but I have stuck to one product for 13 years, and because of that, we are truly the leader in this market. Very strong advice. A good read!”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I love to spend time with my family. The kids are all very active in school, sports and music. We all love going to our cottage in Boulder Junction. I’m hooked on playing jazz piano. I’ve played all my life and recently I started studies at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and now I’m playing in two house bands, a great escape back into the real world.”

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