This year McKay Landscape Lighting celebrates 25 years in business! What started as an interesting add-on to McKay Lawn Service has grown into a whole team of people passionate about outdoor lighting, all working together to create the best experience for our customers and partners.
To celebrate the big 2-5, we're going to take a quick stroll down memory lane to share a few milestones we've hit along the way.
1987: Where It All Began
In high school, Jerry McKay worked in the green industry. Jerry founded McKay Lawn Service after graduating college and moving back to Omaha in 1987.
One day during lunch with a friend, Jerry mentioned the need to "sell something else." His friend mentioned a outdoor lighting product might be an interesting add-on.
After doing his research, Jerry attended "Nightscaping University", taught by the founder and "pioneer" of landscape lighting, Bill Locklin, in Redlands, California. Bill became a close friend and mentor to Jerry.
1992: McKay Landscape Lighting
Shortly after returning home, McKay Landscape Lighting was founded. Our first low-voltage lighting systems were designed and installed at Jerry's home, his parents' home, and his best friend's parents' home. We completed another eight jobs during that first fall.
The two companies remained separate, sharing the same space and McKay name.
"My hope was sooner than later I'd sell the lawn service," says Jerry. "I'd done it in high school and college and it had run it's course. It was three years into lighting that I knew it had potential. I didn't want to manage two businesses, I wanted to focus on lighting."
The lawn business was sold in 1998. The next 20 years were spent building the business from one designer and one installer to teams of installers, designers, and service personnel.
2014: The Lighting Summit
Jerry founded and hosted The Lighting Summit, an annual two-day event geared towards helping lighting professionals grow their business, meet other like-minded business owners, and share ideas and best practices. The inaugural event took place in January of 2014.
“When we first started The Lighting Summit concept, it was daunting to rent out hotel space and order food for people not knowing if anyone would show up,” says Jerry. “It’s grown into this top-notch group of lighting professionals that seem to very much look forward to attending each year, not only to learn, but to spend time with each other. We look forward to it as well; it motivates us to make each year better than the last and continue to provide valid content. It’s a lot of work but rewarding to hear how attendees have grown and what they’ve done to improve their business.”
Where We're at Today
Over the years the company has continued to grow. We now have a total of 13 employees, including two full-time designers, two full-time service technicians, three installation crews, and four office personnel handling important day-to-day administrative tasks that range from customer service, finance, marketing, and operations.
As the company has grown internally, we've also expanded our reach. Our team continues to install a range of jobs all across the country. Besides Nebraska, we have completed projects in 10 states including Arizona, California, and Hawaii.
The scope of our work has expanded as well to include more commercial projects. While residential lighting will always be at the core of what we do, we've enjoyed adding beauty and security to school campuses, businesses, restaurants, and more.
Our hope is that keeping up with internal growth as our customer base continues to grow, creates a better overall experience for our customers, partners, and employees. We're committed to providing innovative designs, professional installations, and hassle-free maintenance services while using the highest quality products to homes and businesses across the nation.
"Reflecting back on the past 25 years, I cherish all the friendships that I've made with customers, strategic partners, employees, lighting professionals, and suppliers along the way. At the end of the day, that's what I'm most grateful for." - Jerry McKay
We sincerely appreciate everyone that's been a part of these past 25 years. All of this could not have been accomplished without you! We look forward to seeing what the next 25 years and beyond will bring.
Looking to Enhance Your Property?
Our dedicated team at McKay Landscape Lighting works with you to create a custom landscape lighting design that's unique to your property. From design to installation to service, you can count on our team of experts to make sure you are happy with your lighting system for years to come.