The discovery of an abandoned rural west Cobb farm for sale in late 1968 started Kyle Lynn on a path that he would never have imagined. Nearly 50 years later, he is sure that God’s hand was at work in all of the events that led to him starting the small business that grew into Lighting of Georgia, Inc.
Kyle and his wife Mary Alice, along with their young children, had been sharing a home with an elderly lady in north Atlanta since 1964. Although the arrangement was agreeable to all involved, it was only meant to be temporary. They had already been there for three years, and their growing family was beginning to feel cramped. They wanted a place of their own. While Kyle worked days at Lockheed Georgia as a time standards engineer, and spent nights studying at Georgia Tech to earn his Industrial Management degree, Mary Alice poured over newspaper advertisements for homes and land.
An ad for 20 acres in west Cobb caught the eye of Mary Alice. Kyle was reluctant to consider so much property, located on a narrow dirt road, so far from his job. At that time, western Cobb County was extremely rural, and this particular area even more so. However, Kyle and Mary Alice agree that God obviously wanted them to relocate and raise their family there, because He caused the unlikely events to fall into place that enabled them to purchase the property.
A couple of dilapidated barns and a small work shop with tin siding were the only structures on the land, so the next order of business became building a house. Kyle was an indomitable 33-year-old country boy from south Georgia, who had the confidence and self-assurance to try almost anything. Unfazed by his lack of house-building experience, he was certain that his assortment of tools (namely a hammer, handsaw, and a couple of measuring tapes) was enough to make good headway in his latest undertaking. Kyle’s determination and his “above and beyond” methods soon became evident in his homebuilding, when the local hardware store owner could not understand why bridge nails were needed to frame a house. Kyle employs the same traits in the way he runs his business today.
Unfortunately, it became obvious before long that Kyle and Mary Alice did not have the funds to complete the house that they wanted. They decided that a simple solution was to build the basement, finish it out, and live in it until they could save the money to complete the rest of their dream home.
Many late nights and long weekends were spent building their underground home. It became a camping adventure, sleeping on cots under the open sky until the roof was completed. The entire family was involved in the work, with even the youngest doing her best to help.
As the construction progressed, it became apparent that a lack of windows and a lack of good lighting made it difficult to see in some of the basement rooms. Being a solutions-oriented person, Kyle got out the newspaper and began looking for a source for inexpensive light fixtures. He soon found information about a building in Atlanta that was scheduled for demolition. The idea formed that perhaps Kyle could use the old fixtures in the basement. Kyle contacted the man with the proposal to purchase all of the old fixtures and lamps from the building before it was torn down. For the sum of $28.00, Kyle soon had more than enough fixtures to brighten the dreary basement rooms.
Kyle was so pleased with the results of his small investment that he told his friends at work. Many of these coworkers decided that fluorescent light fixtures would be a helpful addition to their basements and workshops. The only readily-available lights at that time were of the incandescent variety, and they were simply not bright enough. Kyle’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited. He would find more light fixtures and sell them to his friends.
Back to the newspaper Kyle went, searching for more buildings listed for tear-down. He soon found a building with hundreds of nice shop-type lighting fixtures. They were dirty, but soapy water and rags could solve that problem. He bargained to purchase the lot. He and his 7-year-old son hooked up the trailer to his 1947 Ford pickup, and they headed to Atlanta to load up the components of his new money-making venture. A small workshop area in their temporary home was set up, and Kyle began cleaning and repairing the light fixtures. Unbelievably, he soon sold out of his inventory. These were the days before large do-it-yourself home renovation and repair stores were in existence. Kyle had found a niche that he could fill. He began negotiating with demolition companies to purchase more light fixtures, and quickly sold them as well.
This new source of income helped with their home-building expenses, and by August of 1970, Kyle and Mary Alice, along with two children and one on the way, moved into their basement home in west Cobb County. They continued to buy, clean, repair, and sell light fixtures. Their small newspaper ad for reconditioned fluorescent fixtures brought people from all over the greater metropolitan Atlanta area. Lynn Lighting Company had begun.
As the United States began its phased withdrawal from Vietnam in the early 1970s, work at Lockheed slowed. In 1972, Kyle was faced with a choice of a downgrade or layoff. He chose layoff, as his used light fixture business was booming. Along this time, Kyle decided that if he was able to fix light fixtures in his shop, he could make the same type of repairs in retail establishments. He soon got many accounts for inside lighting maintenance. It wasn’t long before these same accounts wanted him to repair their road signs, building signs, and pole lights. He would need more than his eight-foot ladder for this, so he purchased a small, used ladder-type sign truck. The 30-foot sign truck was a tremendous improvement to the ladder, but new jobs always seemed to require more reach. Kyle and Mary Alice’s extremely frugal lifestyle enabled them to pour the profits back into the company, and more equipment was purchased. Kyle took correspondence courses in electricity, classes at the local vocational school, and obtained his Master Electrician license in 1976. Lynn Lighting was incorporated in the same year. Business was doing well enough that the family was able to move upstairs into their completed home in 1977.
More and bigger jobs led to the acquisition of more and bigger equipment: bucket trucks with higher reach for taller signs, boom trucks to set poles for ballfield lighting, auger trucks to drill holes, underground electrical line locators, dump trucks, and more. Kyle wondered, why not rent the equipment to other contractors when we’re not using it on our own jobs? Many contractors decided that it was too much headache to purchase, insure, and maintain their own equipment; and their employees didn’t have the skill to operate equipment from other rental companies. Once again, Kyle had found a niche he could fill: provide equipment with the operator. Other businesses began to count on Lynn Lighting for their equipment rental needs. The 1980s brought great growth to the company, both as a provider of sign and lighting service and installation, and a rental specialist for equipment with the operator. However, the large customer base never changed the focus of Kyle. Lynn Lighting was a small, family-owned business. Operations were run out of the back yard of the family home until 2002, all family members had a hand in the work, and employees were very much like extended family.
A 2002 move to Hiram, just off of Highway 278, brought more visibility to the company. A family meeting in 2007 led to the decision for a corporate name change. It was decided that Lighting of Georgia, Inc. would better reflect the expanding area of service. Today Lighting of Georgia is a full-service sign and lighting company that additionally offers bucket and boom truck rentals with the operator.
Lighting of Georgia provides maintenance for interior and exterior signs, lighting, LED, and neon. They offer new installations, change-outs, lighting upgrades, and energy-saving retrofits. From tracing underground electrical problems, to servicing high-rise signs and lighting up to 165 feet, they have the equipment to meet their customers’ needs.
Lighting of Georgia rents bucket trucks from 40 to 85 feet, and stationary man baskets (two-man buckets) from 100 to 165 feet. Their operators have experience picking up HVAC components, roof trusses, metal buildings, signs, poles, steel, boats, dredging equipment, pumps, crematoriums, mausoleums, artwork, and more. They will always be glad to give you a lift! Extreme efficiency frequently allows them to send one truck to several sites on the same day.
Although the income from boom truck rentals typically exceeds that from sign and lighting service, the focus is always on what the customer in front of them needs at the moment. The customer comes first, and the job is done right.
As Kyle recounts the history of his company, starting with the sale of salvaged light fixtures, he declares that he and Mary Alice have been blessed in countless ways. He points to his life as an example of how God’s hand is at work, even when we may not realize it.
Lighting of Georgia is still a small, family-owned and family-operated enterprise in the greatest sense of the word. Although the older son has his own electrical business nearby, the two companies collaborate on several jobs each year. The daughter now CFO of the company, and the younger son is COO. Kyle and Mary Alice still have an active part in the operations as well. The old-fashioned values of honesty, quality, fairness, and determination have served the company well. The customer’s needs have the highest priority, and Kyle and Mary Alice give all the thanks and glory to God for His abundant blessings.
Kyle and Mary Alice Lynn celebrating his 80th birthday in November 2016