My Library and Courses
Last Update: Friday December 15, 2017

Theatrical Lighting Systems Creates Events

Think About Creating a New Industry

Huntsville, Alabama: Meet David Milly. He started in the lighting business when there was almost no equipment. As he said, entertainers would just walk in a room and put on a show using available light. David is proof that you can grow your business by growing your industry.

Roll the clocks back. When he was a student at University of Alabama at Huntsville, he earned money booking entertainment and dances for his school. From his first booking, Earl Scruggs Review, a country-bluegrass band (of Deliverance fame), he knew this was what he wanted to do.

To book the lighting package for the show, he engaged Luna Tech, a sole proprietor, and they struck up a friendship. By the time he graduated in 1975 they had a partnership and then they formed a corporation to protect themselves from the liability involved with manufacturing and creating pyrotechnic special effects. David was initially a 25% stockholder in the business, yet by 1981 he negotiated a buyout of just the lighting division to be on his own.  That's a story, but this one just gets better.

At that time there was no trade association for the lighting industry. In 1987 a few of the fellows started one, Theatrical Dealers Association, and David was quick to join and serve on the board. He initiated a Small Business Development Committee. Today this national association is known as ESTA or the Entertainment Services and Technology Association. 

David has also been an active member of the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau for three decades. In this episode of the show you will meet all kinds of people who love Huntsville, who love Janet and David Milly, and love the stuff of making their community a great place to live.

Go to the homepage for this episode...


Other People Who Created New Industries

Biosite: On-location, highly-advanced medical diagnostics

NoUVIR: Lighting without any infrared or ultraviolet light.

FastSigns: Large-scale, large-format computerized sign making

Treat Service Business As Asset Management

1:07 | Play Now |  Being at Theatrical Lighting was fun. We saw the equipment stacked and repairs being made. We saw David's crew set up for a big show and we attended the show. We were thinking, "Wow. There's no business like show business."

Do One Thing Well

2:55 | Play Now |  Being the best at one thing is a branding strategy and more. Founder of Theatrical Lighting, David Milly, has never been tempted to veer from his mission which is, "We Light The Stars."

Hire Good People

1:30 | Play Now |  Sounds so simple. If someone new in business had told us this we would have thought, "how sweet and how naive." But when a person who has been building a strong company for over three decades says it, we listen.

Face The Facts

2:08 | Play Now |  Janet Milly, CFO at Theatrical Lighting, is responsible for the banking relationships and cash flow. Key indicators reports also known as flash reports, are required by everyone. More...

Hire Slow Fire Fast

3:16 | Play Now |  It is always better to take time to find the right people than waste energy on the wrong people.

Turn Stress Into Strength

0:48 | Play Now |  Janet and David Milly suggest that working together is not for married couples who do not already have a strong marriage.

Reach Customers In Multiple Ways

1:53 | Play Now |   You have to reach customers in the ways that they want to be reached. Before fax or email, Johnny Cash just called up David on the telephone. Those were the good old days.

Shift From Doing To Leading

1:40 | Play Now |  To grow, the founder has to let others take responsibility. David Milly is a great leader because he respects the people he has hired and he gives them the tools they need to succeed.

Go Outside For Insight

1:00 | Play Now |  Host Hattie Bryant tells us that a turning point for David Milly came when he invited a consultant to study the company and offer suggestions for improvement.

Give Back

1:30 | Play Now |   David Milly gives Hattie a tour of his beloved hometown, Huntsville, Alabama. Both of his parents were scientists who helped send the USA to the moon.

Have Fun, It's Only A Game

2:12 | Play Now |  David said, "at Theatrical Lighting, we make money doing lights." The reason this is so powerful to him and everyone in the company is, just doing lights is fun!

Keep Paper On Your Shelves

2:02 | Play Now |  Some customers still want paper copies of marketing and communication materials from you.