I remember the night that the city of Chattanooga wisely chose to invest in Global Green Lighting’s state-of-the-art lighting technology after a fair, public and merit-based selection process. Councilwoman Deborah Scott came off the City Council platform, congratulated us and said that she hoped that we and the city would be successful in our partnership. I have no doubt that we will succeed and believe that Mrs. Scott would share our confidence in the success of the project if she understood the facts.
I certainly respect Mrs. Scott’s right to offer the views she expressed in the Chattanoogan on August 22, but her commentary shows that she does not fully understand GGL’s lighting technology or the status of the project. I invite former Councilwoman Scott to come to our manufacturing facility to see what Governor Haslam, Congressman Fleischmann, Mayor Berke, five City Council members, three County Commissioners and more than 100 invited guests were able to see at our grand opening on Friday, August 16.
She will see 40 workers producing the city’s lights here in Chattanooga instead of in China. Moving jobs from China to Chattanooga was never a part of GGL’s contract with the city, but it was my passion. I want former Councilwoman Scott to speak with the war heroes who are now working at our plant and the employees who used to work at our facility before they were laid off because their jobs were shipped to Mexico by their former employer.
Mrs. Scott will learn that we have built 5,000 of the 6,000 lights ordered with the final 1,000 to be finished this month. About 2,000 lights have been installed by the EPB contractor, 2,000 are stored in a city warehouse waiting to be installed by the EPB contractor and 1,000 are at our facility. She will see our lights with the only cloud-based smart grid metering, monitoring and management technology in the world that has been approved by an electric utility to measure the power consumption of street lighting. She will see computer screens that show in real time the energy savings being realized by the city through GGL’s technology. This documentation is reported to the EPB at the end of each month so that the city can realize the energy savings immediately.
She can see for herself the collateral features that come from the smart grid networking of GGL’s lights that city police officers say are critical to their efforts to fight crime in our city. She will see a manufacturing facility that has received no public money from the state or federal government and more than $2 million invested with private funding for the equipment and the building. We invested this money based on a purchase order for only one-third of the city’s commitment to fund the entire project and to build the lights for Chattanooga in Chattanooga. No public relations spin, just the facts.
When she comes to our factory, Mrs. Scott will learn that GGL’s lighting control technology has not been integrated into GGL’s lights to make them perform “tricks.” She will learn that the lighting control system now in place allows the city to constantly monitor and control every light in its system and further increase its energy savings by managing the amount of electricity the lights use. The bottom line is that GGL’s lighting system is not about “tricks;” it’s about cutting-edge technology which GGL developed with Sensus, a well-established automated metering company. This technology is now delivering superior lighting to the city at a reduced cost. It’s the same cutting edge technology that has spurred a whole new generation of municipal lighting, and it happened here in Chattanooga first.
I welcome the opportunity to meet with Mrs. Scott at our plant and further address every issue she raises. Certainly, an innovative technology like GGL’s can be expected to encounter delays, but progress is being made each week thanks to our partners at the EPB, Sensus and the city. However, it is indisputable that GGL’s lighting system works. The facts are that GGL is creating jobs in Chattanooga to build an energy-saving technology that will pay for itself while making the city’s streets safer for every Chattanoogan. I look forward to Mrs. Scott’s visit to our facility.
Global Green Lighting
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I applaud the writing ability of Mr. Don Lepard, CEO of Global Green Lighting. However, he failed to answer any question posed by former Councilwoman Deborah Scott. The simple truth is obvious, Mr. Lepard. Councilwoman Scott spoke the truth - you made a promise, signed a contract, but have yet to deliver.
Phase One of your multi-phased project was to be completed in June 2013. The cost of the project, $6 million, was paid fully expecting you to complete the project as agreed. Now, nearly 90 days past your completion date, what fees are you paying to the city of Chattanooga for this failure. Any other contractor would be subject to some type of penalty I would think. I truly hope that the current City Council keeps all this in mind before agreeing to any other commitments.
While it might be good press to invite Councilwoman Scott to tour your facility. It bothers me that you seem to be bragging about being 80 percent complete of a project over two months past its completion date. If is all the same to you, Mr. Lepard; as a citizen, I would prefer that you just keep your word, your promise, make good on your contract, and then we all may have a reason to go on a tour.
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Yes, I noticed a lack of straightforward answers as well.
And here is a question that I would like answered. How much of that $6 million is Zach Wamp getting out of the deal? Seems like every time Global Green comes up on Talk Radio, Wamp "just happens" to call in espousing the virtues of the company and the owners. Just doing it out of the goodness of his now green heart? I doubt it. But I suspect there is a good bit of taxpayer "green" in it for him in his consulting and lobbying position, groomed for such by past taxpayer monies.
Please do respond, Mr. Lepard. These lights might be the best ever but there are real questions that need real answers.