DOVER, Del. (Oct. 20, 2009) – A small business manufacturer in Newark is expanding in Delaware with help from the state. The Delaware Economic Development Office awarded SentryLight, Inc. a $300,000 loan to assist the company increase production and assembly at the Opportunity Center, Inc. in Wilmington and acquire critical inventory of its concealed emergency lighting design.
Governor Jack Markell, DEDO Director Alan Levin and Wilmington Mayor James Baker joined company officials to make the announcement today in Wilmington.
“Innovation has always been at the core of our state’s economic success,” said Governor Markell. “Support for small and midsize businesses must be a key to our economic future. SentryLight is a welcome addition to Delaware’s tradition of great new ideas and is the kind of company we are focused on supporting to move our state forward.”
Company President Brian Corbett launched SentryLight after he co-invented a new emergency light, designed to be installed lower to the ground than conventional systems. A volunteer fireman, he knew victims crawl along the floor to escape building fires. Existing emergency lights, located near the ceiling, are insufficient to light smoky hallways. Corbett believed if emergency lighting could be concealed until it’s needed, designers and architects would have the flexibility to place fixtures where they would enhance safety while still maintaining the integrity of the interior design. He was granted a patent for the invention in 2006 and started the company in 2007 with help from friends and family.
In March 2009, Grainger, a leading supplier of facilities maintenance products, launched the Sentry product line across 600 sales offices. Philips Lighting, the world’s largest lighting manufacturer, launched a co-branded product in August. Corbett turned to the state for assistance when the company began to experience a strain on its working capital as a result of its dramatic growth, and new and developing distribution channels.
“As a result of Brian’s innovative idea, entrepreneurial spirit and hard work, SentryLight is poised for tremendous success with its patent-protected life safety products,” said DEDO Director Alan Levin. “Entrepreneurs like Brian will lead our state to economic prosperity and it’s our job to support their efforts.”
“We knew Delaware was the best place to launch our business because we found everything we needed here,” said Brian Corbett, president of SentryLight. “We found government officials who understand and value small business and a collegial environment where state, local and community leaders work together. As a life-long volunteer firefighter, the very heart of this business is about saving lives and making the world a better place. The state of Delaware, city of Wilmington and the Opportunity Center share our core mission.”
The company is also partnering with OCI, a provider of employment/ vocational services for people with disabilities, to provide quality control, assembly and logistic services. Today, SentryLight employs about five people, but the expansion will create eight to ten jobs for people with disabilities in Delaware.
“We are extremely pleased that the assembly work for the product will be accomplished in the City, thus providing jobs and additional opportunities for persons with disabilities,” said Mayor Baker. “We are hopeful that SentryLight’s success will result in an expanded presence in our City and look forward to working with Brian and his staff to achieve that success.”
“This is a fantastic partnership for OCI,” said Dennis Dapolito, Executive Director of OCI. “It is a great example of what is possible when organizations work together towards a common goal. Together, DEDO, SentryLight and OCI have made a real impact on the lives of people with disabilities in the State of Delaware. We appreciate SentryLight’s commitment to the local community.”