Wybron Closing Its Doors After 35 Years of Business


Wybron, the company that invented the Color Scroller back in 1980, is closing its doors for the last time at the end of June 2013, according to a company email sent to its dealer network last night.  From the email, sent to JOL from a source not authorized to comment – bolding is mine:

Dear Dealers,

After a long and pleasant relationship with you, Wybron is ceasing business at the end of June. A press release will go out on Friday to the public announcing  the same.

The text of the press release follows:
Wybron Closes Doors After 35 Years of Innovation in Stage Lighting Industry

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – June 6, 2013 – Wybron, a leading stage lighting supplier announced today that the company will close its doors on June 30, 2013.

The company is best known for transforming entertainment, church and architectural industries with its innovation of cutting-edge lighting products.

“For years, the stage lighting industry has been led by companies with three-letter names,” said President and CEO Keny Whitright.  “PRG, ETC, ELS, TMB, and BMI are just a few of these. For 35 years Wybron struggled through with the burden of a six-letter name,” Whitright said laughing, “We finally realized we have too many letters in the company name.  It was time to close the doors.

Whitright said that closing the Wybron manufacturing plant is bittersweet.  “I will miss the business that I know and love.  But, I am looking forward to scaling back and becoming an FTD man.  Fishing, Traveling and Driving my cars will fill most of my days,” said Whitright. “Notice that I am planning to carry the three letter theme into my retirement.”

Wybron will host an online garage sale starting June 14, 2013, in order to liquidate its remaining new and used products and spare parts.  It will offer amazing deals and extraordinary closeout pricing. Visit the Wybron website at beginning June 14 to learn more about the garage sale offers.

Any pending orders are  being filled, but if you have registered a job past June, we will be unable to supply that gear.

Service on existing equipment is uncertain at this time. We are looking for a company to do service, but don’t have anything in place now.

Best Regards,

Keny Whitright
President, Wybron, Inc.

Keny, I’m sorry to see Wybron close.  Some of my most enjoyable work was designed the right way because of your product.  From a grateful industry, says thank you for all you’ve contributed to the Industry.  I hope that you fill out your days with the happiness that you deserve, and that your roads are always clear and sunny.

From the WTF File: Xcel Energy Drops Out of Colorado’s Solar Market

In a move that is less than popular, energy company Xcel Energy has pulled its support out of the Colorado solar energy market.  You might remember Xcel Energy from a story I wrote back in 2009 about how Xcel Energy was charging solar customers who were using their solar panels to make electricity but not drawing power from the power grid.  I thought that was kind of a pretty rude move.

This one is yet another unpopular decision by Xcel Energy.  I find it kind of hilarious that their catch phrase is “Responsible by Nature.”

So back in 2004, Colorado voters passed Amendment 37 – the amendment says that by 2015, Colorado’s energy market will have 10% of the total contribution be from renewable energy sources.  At the time in 2004, 95% of the energy coming to the grid was from fossil fuels (coal and gas), and only 2% was from renewable energy sources.  From an article at Inhabitat:

Ammendment 37 was passed by Colorado voters in 2004 and required that public utility companies set aside money for a renewable energy portfolio. A small percentage of that power needed to be installed on consumer roofs where demand was great. Many companies opened shop or grew as the price of solar was cut nearly in half. As prices for solar equipment fell, and Xcel Energy met Ammedments 37′s requirements, they have gradually been able to lower the rebate amount to balance the total cost, while still maintaining a predictable pricing scheme for customers. The rebate money comes from a 2% charge on rate payer bills.

Hmm.  So what exactly does the pulling out of Xcel Energy have to do with Colorado and its future?  Well, tons, actually.  Job losses are expected to be about half of the total renewable energy jobs in Colorado, which is about on par with the entire number of fossil fuel gigs in the state.  Again, from Inhabitat:

While the solar industry was relying on a stepped approach for reducing the rebates, their sudden elimination has put nearly every planned residential and commercial project on hold. Being a capital heavy industry many solar company’s cash flow will be severely restricted, limiting opportunities for distributed generation.

One such project that was finalized the day of the announcement puts solar panels on the Denver Rescue Mission by the nonprofit Atmosphere Conservancy in order to help them reduce energy costs. Executive Director Alex Blackmer said that three solar projects the Atmosphere Conservancy finalized would have to be renegotiated and may not go forward after the announcement. Hundreds of  halted projects  will result in real job losses for a workforce that today totals more than 5,300 people and growing. Early estimates reveal that half of these jobs will be gone – more than the total number of jobs in the coal industry in the state.

Energy companies across the world: if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.  One of these days soon, the population of the world is going to get its collective head together and bring you to task for this kind of bullsh*t.  It’s time for one of these corporations to stand up and man up in order to change our future.  Profits are just profits – you all already have more money than you can possibly spend in your lifetimes – how about helping the rest of us by changing the future of the planet Earth?

Where exactly is the disconnect here, Big Oil and Coal companies?  Don’t you realize that if you switched to renewable energy sources to push on the market that you would make unbelievable amounts of money that won’t run out?  Even my neighbor’s five year old daughter realizes this fact.

Perhaps we need to let companies like Xcel Energy know how displeased we are with their decisions.  After all, a corporation by definition has rights and privvies like US citizens do.  If we made poor decisions publicly, people would call us on them, or we go to jail.  If you are affected by this decision or if you want to let Xcel Energy know how it’s doing, you should send the company an email at

Can’t Please Everyone All The Time, I Guess – Municipal Lighting Edition

I have been getting a kick out of a few news articles posted lately about municipal whining regarding LEDs and “energy efficient” lighting applications.  Lots of places across the country are installing LED based street lighting, CFL lighting in office and government buildings, high bay LED and CFL lighting, and other energy saving applications of LED technology.  It’s not making everyone happy for whatever reason.  It’s a subtle and gentle reminder that all of us will never be happy at one time.

Isn’t that a shame?

First up, the Kennebunkport Street Light Committee in (you guessed it) Kennebunkport, Maine made a plan to shut off 94 of the city’s 201 street lights.  Oh, are residents unhappy with this decision!  My first question would be about safety and visibility, as would yours I assume.  A valid question, methinks, right?  The residents of Kennebunkport are advocating for buying a bunch of LED street lights instead of turning some of the existing ones off, which kind of refutes the plan to save money right now.  Okay, it would be a long-term investment, yes – but it’s certainly not gonna be savings that anyone is going to reap any time soon.

The Kennebunkport police department showed the residents some statistics of accident data collected over the last five years to show them that there isn’t a correlation between night time driving and street light use in the town.  The town will save about $110 bucks for each light decommissioned, or about $10,300.  I wonder what they’re going to do?

(thanks WMTW)

Last but not least for now, residents of Fort Collins, Colorado are unhappy with their new energy efficient lighting in city government offices and council chambers.  Fort Collins just spent about a million dollars changing out all of their city government lighting to energy efficient CFLs.  From an article at The Coloradoan:

The last building to get switched over was City Hall, where the City Council conducts its business on most Tuesday nights. Bulbs installed in the council’s chambers changed the lighting in the room from a fairly muted yellow to a noticeably brighter, bluish tinge.

The difference has been noticed – and not altogether favorably – by residents who regularly attend council meetings as well as council members.

Community activist Stacy Lynne told the council Tuesday the room’s atmosphere had gone from one that evoked a sense of “peace and calmness” to one that is “sterile, cold and induces a sense of agitation” because of the glare from the lights.

“Is that the environment you want to create for a meeting place that inherently produces strong emotion?” she said. “Does that make common sense?”

Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Ohlson responded that the change in the view from the council’s dais brought on by the bulbs was “borderline creepy.”

The city’s intentions toward saving energy “were absolutely right on the money,” he said, but he agreed the lighting wasn’t quite right.

“In this particular case, I think we’re going to have to balance as much as possible the aesthetics and the comfort zone,” he said.

City crews switched out 52 fixtures in the council chambers, said Tracy Ochsner of operation services. The fixtures are on a dimmer switch and do not have to be cranked up to full power, he said.

Hmm.  At least the camera ops like it:

He noted that camera operators with cable television Channel 14, which broadcasts council sessions and other public meetings from the room, like the brighter lights.

Well, at least someone likes it.


Hailstorm in Denver

Not quite lighting, but no less awesome.  We just had a huge hailstorm here in Denver – from what I understand, we had hail in places near pear-size.  The nastiest part of the storm passed over my house, and at one point the ground was covered white.

Check out some video:

Happy Anniversary, Leia!

I’ve been married to my wonderful wife for two years today.

I proposed to her on top the Reunion Tower in Dallas, where we went on our first date.

She puts up with my crap on a daily basis and never seems to hate me.

She’s my best friend, and she’s on my mind in everything I do.  She picks me up when I’m down, and listens to my incessant fascination with everything in the lighting industry – of which she has nothing to do with.  My wife rocks.

I love you, Leia!  Happy Two-Year Anniversary!

leia and jim

COLORado LED Wash Fixtures at the Isle of Man

Isle of Man

Isle of Man

I just read an article at PLSN about the big ol’ castle at the Isle of Man in England.  For a fund raising event for Breast Cancer Awareness,  Event Lighting Services lit up the outside of the castle in pink.

As a symbol of breast cancer support and awareness, the Falcon Cliff Castle on this British isle, dubbed the “Isle of Woman” for a recent fund-raising event, was washed in pink hues cast by Chauvet COLORado LED light fixtures. Part of “In the Pink Day,” the architectural lighting installation helped mark the end of a year-long fundraising drive that raised $55,000.

The Chauvet lights were selected because of their “vivid colors and spectacular brightness,” said Justin McMullin, owner of Event Lighting Services (ELS), a stage and event lighting rental company based on the island, which donated the lighting. “Because of this we only had to use six fixtures in all to light up such a large building,” McMullin said.

ELS used four Chauvet COLORado 1 wash lights and two COLORado 3 bank systems, both designed for outdoor use with an IP rating of 66. The models offer full RGB color mixing, which allowed for occasional changes in hues of the castle’s façade throughout the event.

Falcon Cliff, more than 150 years old, originally served as a residence for a banker. It later became a hotel and during the late 1880s, a large dance hall was added. Shuttered in the 1990s, the landmark building was restored and now serves as an office complex.

The COLORado LED fixture line is something from Chauvet that has been getting a lot of popularity.  A friend of mine working for Michael Riotto Design in NYC was telling me at LDI this year that a lot of installations are getting these fixtures lately.  They’re bright!

“The Producers” at Carousel Dinner Theatre in Fort Collins, CO

I just opened a production of The Producers at Carousel Dinner Theatre in Fort Collins, CO.  The actor who plays Max is fantastic, I have to mention that.  He is also SPECTACULAR at finding his light!

The Producers at Carousel opened August 1, and it runs until October 25, 2008.  The food is actually pretty good, and the show is funny!