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Lighting the Path Forward for LED Manufacturing in North Carolina

| Manufacturing

Undoubtedly, you walk past them every day, but rarely notice them.

Ironically, if they weren’t there, you’d probably be more aware of them because you would wish you had them.

LED lights guide your path at night walking through parking lots, ensure you can see what’s happening outside your home, or even ensure you can watch your favorite team play on the baseball diamond at night.

You also may not realize that many of those LED lights are made right here in North Carolina.

Atlas Lighting Products, located in Burlington, makes commercial and industrial lighting products.

The company is proud that its products are built in Burlington.

“The biggest things of being made here are, one, we control the quality,” said Ross Horton, chief commercial officer with Atlas Lighting Products. “So, we know all the parts, the pieces, the components that go into it. We’re able to test them as we manufacture them, as well. So, when they leave here, we know that they’re going to work. The other thing is our speed of delivery. By building them here, we can be faster than anybody else in the industry.”

Atlas Lighting Products has 163 employees in Burlington.

“What’s made in North Carolina lights North Carolina, our communities,” said Gary Salamido, president and CEO of the NC Chamber. “It lights the world and keeps people safe. It’s all about the people, the pride that they take in what they’re doing, the bigger mission that they’re on, and what it means to the community.”

That mission includes ensuring the employees know that they are part of a family.

“We know that the people that make our products are really who make Atlas what they are,” said Horton. “Without our employees, we wouldn’t have anything to market or to sell.”

Donna Williams, a lab driver technician with the company, experienced that tenet firsthand.

An employee with Atlas Lighting Products for four years, she was diagnosed in 2022 with pancreatic cancer.

Recently, she reached the anniversary of her surgery and is cancer free.

“If I need time off to go to my appointments, I bring the note back letting them know that I went to the doctor and everything just goes along,” said Williams. “That means a lot because if you don’t have your company backing you when you’re sick, it makes you wonder if they’re going to be there for you when you’re well. If you’re willing to do for me, I’m willing to do for you.”

James Smith, a customer service representative with Atlas Lighting Products, agrees that the company and his co-workers are a family.

“Oh, the people are great,” said Smith, who has been with the company since May. “They’re great. They look out for each other. They help each other. It’s the people that make the company and the people that work here that help make the company. So, we work together hand in hand and that’s wonderful.”

“When you have the culture that we have internally, it exudes out to the customer,” added Horton.

Horton said the company’s biggest challenge is competing against brands that only import their products.

“We have to offer things that they can’t,” he said. “We design our products here. We manufacture them here. We test them here. We ship from here.”

Salamido pointed out that it means the world to Burlington to have a Made in America product from their community.

He recently joined state and local officials, along with other dignitaries, for a tour of Atlas Lighting Products.

“Our role is to create a business climate where Atlas can thrive and where the people that work at Atlas can thrive, and Atlas can continue to grow, and suppliers want to come here so that Atlas can continue to provide quality products in a very real, on-time way to people all across our country,” said Salamido.

Horton said the company’s relationship with NC Chamber also gives it a competitive advantage.

“The Chamber enables us to reach out to a lot of other manufacturers that we don’t know quite yet, but we will learn,” he added. “It’s benefitting them, as well as it’s benefitting us.”

Being in Burlington has its advantages, too.

“We’ve got the ports on the coast,” said Horton. “We’ve got the ability for 40 and 85 here in Burlington to ship out to the rest of the country whether it’s north or west. It allows us to reach the entire country.”

Those attributes, coupled with employees who view their company as a family, make for a bright future for Atlas Lighting Products.

“I hope to be here for a long, long time,” said Williams, enthusiastically. “As long as they’re here, I hope to be here.”

Learn more about the NC Manufacturing Tour