LAKEWOOD RANCH — Mel Interiano has worldwide ambitions, but he wants the lights to shine the brightest — and the longest — back home.
Interiano, CEO of Evolucia, an LED-lighting company, will move the business into a 61,000-square-foot building in Lakewood Ranch Corporate Park, in the building that formerly housed Gemesis.
The company, which expects to move into its new facility by the end of August, has undergone multiple changes in leadership and a name change since a team of electronics engineers, lighting designers and entrepreneurs founded it in 2005.
Interiano, who took over for Arthur Buckland in March 2012 — when the company was called Sunovia Energy Technologies — is the company’s third CEO since August 2010. Evolucia also has had three chief financial officers since May 2011.
Evolucia moves from an 18,000-square-foot building off Fruitville Road to its new corporate headquarters in Lakewood Ranch, where it will house a manufacturing facility for its signature Aimed Optics LED fixtures.
The lights reduce energy, last three times longer than traditional lights and shine light on a precise, specific location, the company says.
In Lakewood Ranch, Evolucia found a larger space to fit its growing ambitions.
The facility also will focus on research, development and testing, a move that centralizes the company’s operations. To that end, Evolucia also acquired new manufacturing and optical-testing equipment for the facility.
A wave of interest in converting to the more efficient light-emitting diodes — or LEDs — has also sparked a rush of start-up companies seeking to compete.
Evolucia hopes to keep them at bay.
“My goal is to create this into a North American hub,” Interiano said. “We will have our engineering, laboratory, showroom and manufacturing in the same building so we can bring our customers to our facility to show off our American capabilities.”
Interiano, who was born in Guatemala, wants to extend those American capabilities internationally.
Late last month, Evolucia announced a partnership with Solarmax International S.A. to help distribute its bulbs to Colombia.
Evolucia and Solarmax, which has a customer base that includes medical, pharmaceutical, military, universities and businesses, entered into a one-year exclusive distribution agreement. Solarmax already sells a number of interior LED-lighting products, but the Evolucia agreement helps it offer exterior lighting, as well.
Evolucia also has recently completed partnership deals to bring its LEDs to Asia, Europe and Australia. It signed a joint marketing agreement with Osram Mexico to bring in its LED Cobrahead.
“We want to grow our brand in the global marketplace while still remembering where we’re from,” said Interiano, the former head of international sales for Osram Sylvania, the lighting division of Siemens.
In April, Evolucia announced it acquired all the assets of Affineon Digital Lighting, a private LED fixture-and-control system company in Coral Springs that generated $4 million in 2012.
The acquisition allows Evolucia to expand its catalog of LED lighting products to include parking and large-area lighting. The growth strategy is part of a plan to make the company durable enough to support at least $200 million in annual sales.
Formerly focused on solar light, Evolucia has lost more than $40 million since 2009.
After moving into the high-efficiency LED lighting market, it now offers more products.
Interiano wants to hire local talent for jobs such as purchasing, finance, manufacturing, customer service and administration at the new facility.
“I have changed the company completely,” Interiano said. “I want to make it a community and a company.”
With home in mind, one of Evolucia’s major projects in the pipeline doesn’t shine too far away.
Interiano wants to make Sarasota the first city in the southeastern United States to be 100% lighted by LED street lights.
Contact Josh Siegel at [email protected].