Paul Crisp & Alex Ruston

20th December 2021

Following the acquisition of Precision Lighting and Remote Controlled Lighting (RCL) by Luminii in October, Managing Directors Paul Crisp and Alex Ruston tell us how the opportunity came about.

How did you both get into lighting?

Paul Crisp (PC): I first encountered the lighting industry when I ran an injection moulding business specialising in clear plastic moulding. The business was built around expertise in optical engineering, and we utilised this to develop a range of standard optics as LED technology first began to enter the lighting market. I soon realised the introduction of LEDs would change the shape of the lighting industry. I was hooked and have been working in the lighting industry ever since.

Alex Ruston (AR): In 1996 my father asked if I would help him out as he set up the UK office of a US lighting company called Translite. What was supposed to be a few weeks’ work, however, turned into 25 years. 

Can you explain your lighting journey so far?

PC: My experience with the optical business was a great place to learn and understand the technology platforms and development roadmaps that were driving the move to LED technology and enabled me to engage with lighting businesses across the UK, Europe and North America. This proved a perfect grounding to move up the value chain and work with traditional lighting manufacturers managing the transition of their businesses to LED technology. In recent years, I have used this experience to work with several organisations looking to expand or develop their businesses, which is how I became involved with Luminii. I was immediately impressed with the company’s vision and ambition to develop a great architectural lighting business, and I am delighted that RCL and Precision Lighting have become part of this vision.

AR: We founded Precision Lighting in 2000, and then RCL followed in 2001. I was running Precision Lighting and my father was running RCL, and then in 2013 he stepped back from the day-to-day operations of RCL and I took over running both companies. 

How did the acquisition come about?

AR: Precision Lighting and RCL have been pioneering lighting innovation on the international stage for decades. As we’ve continued to grow and establish our credibility, we have come to believe we should trust our light to lead the way. When Luminii approached us about these acquisitions, we saw significant and immediate opportunities to grow our story in highly interesting and new ways, with a shared vision related to product development. Luminii’s keen interest in expanding industry leadership internationally beyond the US and Canada merged well with our interest to introduce our distinctive advantages in new markets.

What was it about RCL and Precision Lighting that stood out? 

PC: Luminii understands the ever-rising demand for constant innovation in lighting and is committed to a business posture that is ambitious enough to meet its customers’ expectations. RCL and Precision Lighting are highly strategic pieces to that puzzle. Among the many distinctions Precision Lighting has established over the years, the company has made impressive advancements in Micro-LED products and technology, complementing Luminii’s robust efforts to build upon its existing STENOS Micro-Linear platform. RCL, as well, offers highly complementary capabilities to Luminii’s portfolio-wide capacity to equip lighting professionals with highly flexible solutions.

Alex, what benefits do you believe this move will have for both Precision Lighting and RCL?

AR: We believe our strengths in product innovation and sales in categories and markets Luminii had yet to tap into will deliver major early wins for Luminii. We also can flex our abilities to serve as expert ambassadors of Luminii’s products in the European and Middle Eastern markets where we’re already well established. Conversely, availing our products to the broader Luminii portfolio through these acquisitions means our influence multiplies in new markets – and within Luminii’s existing customer base.

How will Precision Lighting and RCL fit into Luminii’s portfolio?

PC: In my role as the new Managing Director for Precision Lighting and RCL and in close collaboration with Alex, we are not focused on subtracting from or adding to the companies’ strengths – but in multiplying them within Luminii’s ecosystem and sphere of influence. For example, the acquisitions promise new avenues for both Precision Lighting and RCL to enhance our own engineering, operations, and manufacturing capabilities with those of Luminii. 

In particular, the acquisitions represent a leap ahead for Luminii’s portfolio in areas of product miniaturisation and remote-controlled lighting. Likewise, the acquisition of RCL creates an entirely new product category for Luminii, and complements Luminii’s highly flexible solutions in ways that will also bring RCL products to life in new ways. While there are various pathways still being forged between all of Luminii’s brands, the bottom line for all brands is win-win across the board.

What can we expect to see from the brands post-acquisition? 

AR: Both RCL and Precision Lighting have many new and exciting products in development. We continue to be incredibly focused on R&D and advancements that will result in industry-leading luminaires and control technologies. 

What do you think the future holds for the lighting industry?

PC: The recent pandemic has brought into sharp focus the importance of wellbeing and great user experiences in all that we do. Public spaces will have to pay much more attention to the quality of the experience they provide, and lighting will have an even more significant role to play in helping to create the public spaces of the future. LED adoption has gone past the necessary obsession with lumens/watt and efficiency and is increasingly focusing on light and beam quality and the effect of light on wellbeing and creating beautiful spaces. 

AR: I think that control technologies will continue to be at the forefront of the lighting industry. Our clients and specifiers are looking for complete control over all aspects of their lighting installations, and that’s something we will continue to tighten our focus on.