Tag Archives: grow your own

NextLight: The Rest of the Story

nextlightMany of you met and had the opportunity to chat with the guys from NextLight, when they came to Louisville to hang out during our Customer Appreciation Day. They educated over 30 folk with a workshop on PAR and LED lighting, spoke with another 200 on their company specifics, and GAVE AWAY one of their incredible NextLight LED grow lights to a very fortunate customer. He was understandably thrilled, and reported just days later that, “I love the light!! I can already see a major difference.” We have had so many questions about NextLights since November 7th, we thought we would share the story behind the NextLight.

If you missed Rand’s NextLight workshop, you can catch him on this quick YouTube video sharing the highlights of the NextLight LED grow light system.

Now, on to the rest of the NextLight story (thanks to Nick and the NextLight team for providing us with this):

The germ of an idea

In 1997, Nick Brumm, the founder of NextLight was living in San Rafael, CA and happily working for Diamond Lights in sales and product development. One day, Nick visited a commercial tomato greenhouse in Sonoma, CA and everything changed. He saw his future in the commercial greenhouse industry and resolved to get an engineering degree to make it happen.

In 1999 Nick began his Mechanical Engineering degree at UC College of Engineering. Throughout this time he took on several co-op rotations at GE Aviation doing: Advanced Controls, Secondary Flows (turbine cooling airflow simulations), Product Support Engineering with M&I Aeroderivatives, and Controls Fuel Systems. He graduated in 2005 with 3.5 GPA and went to work for architectural and engineering firm doing HVAC design and controls for commercial food production facilities.  He also began taking all of his combined knowledge and using it to develop a business plan for a commercial greenhouse of his own. Nick quickly found investors and started work on the design.

By the end of 2006, however,  it was clear the economy was taking a turn and the greenhouse plan was shelved.  Nick knew first hand that the costs to run a greenhouse were too risky in this climate. However, every few weeks or so, his mind would drift back to his dream and he would challenge himself to find ways to reduce cost.

 

Product launch training

While the economy recovered, Nick went to work at Belcan as a contractor for GE Aviation. He held positions in Mechanical Systems, Controls Systems and finally Systems Engineering. The Systems Engineering position led to a direct hire at GE Aviation in Engine Systems as the Model Owner of the LEAP-1B Externals Integration.  The LEAP-1B program is part of the GE Aviation New Product Integration group which is the heart of future growth and revenue. Basically, it is the ideal group to work in when seeking to gain knowledge around: integration, production schedules, manufacturing & testing of new engines and design development.

 

The Light bulb goes on

In 2010 amidst this rapid career growth, Nick had a lightbulb moment. While looking at a Reef Tank forum, he noticed a few members building custom LED systems to light their coral reefs. They sought to reduce power consumption as well as heat, that were both issues with the metal halides that were typically run on large reef systems. Excited, Nick started doing research and ordered some LEDs to begin his own experiment. Nick discovered that he could in fact cut the cost of electricity. In fact, the power it would take to run the lights in his greenhouse could be cut in half. Labor and the cost of running lights were the two biggest expenses in the plan. With LEDs he could effectively reduce the overall cost of each plant by 25%.

 

Finding the right LED

Nick began looking for an LED grow light that could do exactly what he needed, but all he found were purple lights. It was then that he backtracked the development of the purple lights and found they were all making the same assumption about plant growth. They assume that you can target certain colors to power the photosynthetic response curve. Nick saw this as a poor assumption — the entire commercial greenhouse industry and every hobby grower alike have been using Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium lights for 30+ years with fantastic results. These same white lights do not match the “ideal” curve claims of the purple LED makers.  Having worked in the grow light industry a decade ago, Nick had already seen the quest for the “perfect spectrum” and found it to be a gimmick rather than a scientific pursuit. With all of this in mind, Nick went in a completely different direction, seeking to make his lights as close to HPS as possible.

 NextLight turns on

Nick started the NextLight in 2011 and has compiled years of development — all the while being trained to launch a complex high tech new product by one of the largest corporations in America.

The light that Nick has created took design and development to the next level. And it was accomplished from a clean sheet of paper.

Customer Appreciation Day November 7th

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Save the date, you don’t want to miss this event! We will be here from 10-6 on Saturday, November 7th, with visiting industry experts from HORTILUX, SUNLIGHT SUPPLY, HYDROFARM, CUTTING EDGE SOLUTIONS, SUNLEAVES, FOXFARM, BOTANICARE,  HYDRODYNAMICS INTL and NEXTLIGHT. What a great opportunity to attend their FREE workshops, hang out and ask questions, pick up lots of samples, and hopefully get in on the $3500 in raffle items we will be giving away that day.

WOW! Our vendors ROCK! Here is our raffle list so far:

A NextLight 525 watt LED grow light valued at $1295, a sweet HPS 1000 Grow Light from our friends at Sunlight Supply, retail $300, a Secret Jardin Grow Tent from Sunleaves and Partner Brands, two hydroponic systems from Hydrofarm, the Emily’s Garden and the Mega Garden, 2 sets of Power Veg lamps from Hortilux, a Super Sprouter Kit from Sunlight Supply, Lots of Cutting Edge Solutions and Fox Farm products, Grodan Rockwool, and plenty of Tshirts and surprises. You get a raffle ticket just for coming, and raffles will be going on all day.

LOTS of fertilizers, soil, T-Shirts and surprises still coming in!   

We are excited about our extensive workshop schedule. This is the biggest educational event for indoor gardening and hydroponics in the southeast. People talked about last years’ educational workshops all year…and this year we have more, with several new topics. Check back for workshop updates.

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE  as of 10/21/15

11:00 Cutting Edge Nutrients
Optimum Plant Nutrition through Foliar Feeding
11:45  NextLight                                                                                                                                        LED and light spectrum
12:30  Botanicare
Nutrients are NOT Equal! / The importance of calcium and magnesium in plant growth
1:00  Hydrofarm
Home Hydroponics with Emily’s Garden and Mega Garden
1:45 Foxfarm
Soil and Organics, Maximize Success in your Grow Room
2:30  Hortilux
PAR, Light Spectrum, Lumens
3:15  Sunleaves and New Earth
CO2 and Environmental Controls to Increase Yields
4:00  Sunlight Supply
Game Changing DE and LEC Grow Lights

We will have free beer and other beverages, 21 and over. Plenty of non-alcoholic drinks for BBQ cowboyyou, too. This is a family friendly event. Holy Smokes, the BBQ Cowboy, who was featured in Louisville magazine will be here with his smoker cooking up some incredible, smokey, deliciousness. He will be selling (huge) plates for $8.00. We will be giving BBQ credits away with all purchases over $50 so you can eat on us when you make a purchase on the 7th!