Iowa Roots, Global Reach
How often do we pause to consider the role that lighting plays in the things we enjoy? Imagine neighborhood kids not having an opportunity to enjoy the rite of passage of playing under the local sandlot’s “Friday night lights.” Or, arriving at Mount Rushmore one evening after a long drive and not being able to see the monument against the evening sky.
Thankfully, Musco Lighting has been on the case for more than 45 years. Based in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Musco is the world’s leader in lighting solutions and has proudly worked on countless projects across 125 countries around the world. As we continue exploring the impact that Iowa-based companies have around the world, we connected with Musco Lighting President and CEO Jeff Rogers to shed some light on Musco’s growth from an entrepreneurial company to a major international player — all while remaining true to their Iowa roots.
Q: As the company grew, what led Musco Lighting to remain in Iowa instead of moving elsewhere?
Jeff Rogers (JR): Our founders are Iowa natives, so our roots are truly homegrown. Iowa has been a great home base for several reasons. One that stands out is the hard-working, skilled and dedicated team members we’ve brought on board, all of whom have helped create a competitive advantage for Musco.
Being in Iowa provides three main advantages to our customers: technology innovation, product quality and long-term service. The same care and expertise go into producing lighting solutions for a Little League® field as a major league stadium. We make all fields big-league quality, and our customers understand that we can do that because of the great team of people that work behind the scenes. Iowa’s infrastructure and central geographic location are also important because we work on a wide range of projects across the United States and abroad.
Q: How has Musco Lighting grown since its inception? What are some of the company’s projects of note?
JR: Our team has grown from two people (our founders) to more than 1,500 employees around the world. The jobs we offer — nearly 1,200 of which are right here in Iowa — provide opportunities for meaningful and innovative work that makes us all very grateful to be a part of this company.
Just as our team has grown, our customer base and scope of services has done so as well. A few of our recent projects in Iowa include Triumph Park in Waukee, the MLB at Field of Dreams™ field, Lauridsen Skatepark in Des Moines and many other recreational and school facilities.
We’ve also expanded our focus on large-area lighting projects. Whether it’s the San Francisco Bay Bridge, the Flight 93 National Memorial, Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport or some of the largest docks and port terminals in the world, every transportation and infrastructure lighting project brings its own set of challenges. No matter the project, our LED lighting incorporates lighting, structural and electrical components that offer cost-effective and trouble-free lighting solutions.
Q: Where are some interesting places that Musco exports its products overseas?
JR: We’ve provided lighting solutions for projects in more than 125 countries. In addition to our manufacturing locations in Iowa, we also have manufacturing in China and South Korea. Recent international projects have included the course for the first-ever night golf senior tournament in South Korea, England’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Middle East’s newest F1 street circuit track in Saudi Arabia and the first stadium certified for international football in Senegal.
Q: Has Musco been able to expand, hire more, find better employees or have better access to resources in Iowa?
JR: We’ve had facilities in Oskaloosa and Muscatine since our early days. In recent years, we’ve added locations in Urbandale and Des Moines. Last year alone, we hired about 200 new team members in Iowa. And we’ve completed expansions in Muscatine, Urbandale and Oskaloosa within the past few years.
As we’ve grown into a global company from our Iowa roots, we’re still focused on supporting the local communities where we live and work. It’s important to us to give back and we do that in several ways including our partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association to advance equitable access to youth sports. We also support the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s efforts to make soccer more accessible through Musco’s Mini-Pitch™ Modular Sports Solution, which helps turn small and abandoned spaces into places for youth to play soccer, build confidence and have fun. The mini-pitch system comes complete with Musco’s industry-leading LED lighting — greatly reducing glare and spill from affecting nearby homes — as well as fencing, goals, benches and lockable storage.
We’re thankful for all the opportunities we’ve had to serve our customers and our communities, and we continue to find ways to improve. We’re fortunate to have the team and the passion to do so, and we’re excited for the possibilities ahead.