How it all got started...
People often ask, “How did you get into lighting?” I think most people expect an answer that revolves around a fascination with lighting and electricity at an early age. However, that cannot be further from the truth in my case. The real answer involves a lot of chance, faith and being in the right place at the right time, but it all started on one particular day. September 11, 2001 left a profound impact on my life and charted a course that led me to this fantastic profession and the creation of Parkhurst Outdoor Lighting.
The morning of September 11th started like any other day for me and while I was getting ready for work, I saw the unfortunate events unfolding on my television. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was overcome by feelings of sadness and later anger. Coming from a family with a strong military background, I felt a calling or sense of duty to stand up and fight for those who never had a chance to fight back on that fateful day. Within a year, I had my personal business and finances in order and at the age of 28, I left for Army Basic Training.
My Army training included stops in South Carolina, Texas, Georgia, and Maryland. When all my training was complete, I was an Airborne Qualified Military Intelligence – Signals Intelligence Analyst that was certified by the National Security Agency (NSA).
I was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group (A) out of Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and arrived at Ft. Bragg in August of 2013. Within 2 months I was already in Afghanistan looking for the retribution I so desperately was seeking. I deployed to Afghanistan a total of 3 times with the 3rd Special Forces Group (A). The last deployment had an equally profound impact on my life because my wife, Melissa, had given birth to our first child 2 months before I deployed. I left a baby and came home to a little boy and at that moment, I realized I would need to continue my mission in some other capacity than being in uniform. I completed my enlistment and started the next phase of my life.
I accepted a position at the United States Central Command in Tampa, Florida and after a year, moved over to the United States Special Operations Command in the Pattern Analysis Section. This job aligned quite well with what I did in the Army and allowed me to continue my personal mission that started in 2001 as a Geospatial Analyst/Scientist. While working in this position I developed and managed a program that brought in millions of dollars annually for my company. Like many successful small businesses in the government sector, ours was no different and we were acquired by larger companies who liked our Geospatial capabilities. We were purchased twice and each time it seemed like I fell further down the management ladder and benefits were reduced to align with the new company. After almost 11 years, I realized I needed to make a change.
Six months prior, I was at an ice hockey tournament in Maine with Reto Mueller (Owner of GardenLight LED) for our sons’ hockey team. We were discussing our careers and he asked if I ever thought about lighting to which I replied, “No, Reto, why would I have ever thought about lighting?” He said, “Let’s go grab a beer.” It was in that moment that my life would change courses. The wheels were quickly set in motion and I started Parkhurst Outdoor Lighting soon after returning to Florida from Maine. Reto provided training and an opportunity to learn from some of the best lighting designers and installers from around the country. Reto continues to mentor me to this day and is someone I am proud to call a friend.
Life has a way of showing you the way and you must have the faith and courage to follow its lead. When you hire Parkhurst Outdoor Lighting for your outdoor lighting projects you are getting much more than just a company to work on your home. You are getting the dedication, quality, workmanship, and personal relationship that only we can provide. We believe in clients for life.