WLS Lighting Systems was founded in 1969 by Jim Pritchard. The company began as a family owned and operated steel pole manufacturer in the mid-60’s. At the time, Jim began working with WLS Lighting’s first major client, a large development company who built over 200 Kmart shopping centers. WLS provided all the exterior and interior lighting for the projects.
WLS Lighting Systems is a full-service commercial lighting company providing turnkey, energy-efficient, sustainable lighting solutions for both exterior and interior lighting projects. Our goal is to provide our customers with the highest quality lighting and controls solutions to meet their lighting design specifications and budgetary needs.
We provide LED lighting upgrades for existing properties as well as new construction projects. WLS partners with every customer to gain a thorough understanding of their objectives and challenges, and identifies an intelligent, cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable solution for achieving those goals. We provide turnkey service, from initial assessment and design through post-installation monitoring and maintenance of your lighting systems.
WLS developed the first site lighting wireless controls system for the shopping center industry, netLiNK Controls, in 2010. Since that time, netLiNK Controls has evolved to include both advanced lighting controls and mission-critical data for property managers and corporate ESG teams.
With more than 7,000 completed projects since 1969, WLS knows the importance of exceeding our customers’ expectations. We look forward to collaborating with you!
Our Core Values
Gain an understanding of our clients’ challenges to provide them with the most value possible.
We reply to customers and employees within 2 business hours, whether we know the solution yet or not.
We are educators, not salesmen. We educate our customers so they can make the best business decision.
We build relationships internally and externally through honesty, integrity, and thoughtful consideration.
Each of us is responsible for our words, our actions, and our results.
Don’t wait for others to act, care about the outcome as if you owned the company.
1969: The Beginning
- 1969 – WLS is founded - Fort Worth, TX
1970-1979: Steel Pole Manufacturing
In the early 1970’s, WLS was manufacturing steel poles and began providing lighting direct to auto dealers and shopping center developers. At the time, High Intensity Discharge lamps (like mercury vapor lamps) were much more energy efficient than all else. It was during that time that mercury vapor lamps begin their rise in popularity.
1980-1989: Road Trip to Vegas
In the 1980’s lighting technology moved forward to Metal Halide lamps, which were a type of HID lighting with an increased efficiency. WLS Lighting’s projects included replacing mercury vapor with metal halide. Metal Halide (MH) lamps were very similar to mercury vapor but were able to produce a much better quality and higher output of white light.
In 1981, Dean Pritchard became a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Organization. Later that year, WLS would be exhibiting at the very first ICSC RECon Convention. Dean and a few colleagues dressed up in their best Western attire, cowboy hats and all, to bring the best of Texas to Las Vegas, Nevada. WLS Lighting’s first trip to Vegas was taken by car with everything for the booth packed up in tow.
Today, WLS Lighting will be exhibiting for the 38th year at ICSC RECon in Las Vegas. Needless to say, the convention is now one of the largest hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Center and sees over 35,000 attendees. After 38 years of exhibiting in Vegas, there are thousands of stories to tell, but what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!
- 1981 – WLS Lighting becomes member of ICSC – International Council of Shopping Centers
- 1981 – First year at ICSC RECon in Las Vegas
1990-1999: Rebranding WLS
In 1993, Dean officially rebranded WLS as a full-service commercial lighting systems manufacturer and designer. It was the beginning of introducing new technologies and a new way to do business. WLS was the first company to work closely with developers designing and selling lighting direct.
- 1993 – WLS Lighting is established as full-service commercial lighting company
- 1994 – 25th Anniversary
- 1999 – 1000W Metal Halide Introduced
2000-2009: Perseverance & Innovation
At this time, Metal Halide lamps still dominated the market and peaked in growth in 2005. In 2009, WLS created the first wireless controller and remote monitoring system for shopping centers called netLiNK Controls.
- 2007 – Natural White Introduced
- 2009 – netLiNK Controls introduced to shopping centers
2010-2019: 50 Years in Business
LED lighting technology had been around for decades, but LED Lighting was not yet widely accepted nor was it perfected for commercial uses. It wasn’t until 2010 when WLS would begin work on LED upgrades for the commercial real estate and shopping center industry. WLS finally saw the industry wide switch and acceptance to LED lighting in 2015.
- 2010 – LED Lighting for commercial projects begins
- 2016 – LED Dimming by netLiNK Controls Introduced
- 2019 – 50th Anniversary
2020-Present: WLS Lighting Today
Today, WLS works and designs almost exclusively with LED lighting products and systems. Over 6,500 shopping centers later, WLS is still family owned and growing every day. WLS Lighting Systems has been in the lighting industry for over 50 years and continues to be a leader in lighting and site lighting controls. netLiNK Controls now has over 500 installations nationwide.
- 2020 – UV Disinfection Lighting Trends
- 2021 – WLS Headquarters & Warehouse Moves to West Fort Worth