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 focused on energy-efficient lighting solutions for all types of exterior, interior, and specialty lighting projects. WLS works with you from design through post-installation on both LED upgrades for existing properties and new construction projects. Our goal is to provide you with the finest lighting and controls solutions to meet your design and budgetary needs.
Since 1969, WLS Lighting Systems has been involved in the manufacturing and the design of lighting products. WLS is on the cutting-edge of lighting design and technologies including developing netLiNK, the first site lighting wireless controls system for the shopping center industry in 2010. Collaboration with over 100 manufacturing partners allows WLS high-quality product procurement for projects. WLS is a leader in energy efficient lighting solutions, lighting design, and continues to focus on product development and strategies to meet needs for various industries.
WLS provides the utmost value in design and product choices that are sustainable, aesthetically pleasing, and enhances value in the project/property. With the experience of 7000+ completed projects, WLS knows the importance of staying on budget which meets or exceeds project team member’s expectations. We look forward to collaborating with you!
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