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Universal Douglas Ceases Operations

Sources have confirmed to tED magazine and “lightED” that Universal Douglas, formerly known as Universal Lighting Technologies and Douglas Lighting Controls, has stopped operations. While details are still being worked out, the company’s website remained in operation as of Wednesday afternoon, March 22.

Universal Douglas’ website describes the company as having, “125 years of combined experience, the company is recognized for its North American manufacturing and award-winning commitment to quality. An innovator in digital lighting design for the future, Universal Douglas helps customers create an end-to-end vertical lighting ecosystem with efficiency, flexibility, and control.”

The company’s most recent timeline includes the acquisition by Atar Capital, a global private investment firm, two years ago. In January of 2022, Universal Douglas announced its rebranding, saying the new name, logo, and tagline “amplifies the extensive value and solutions we provide to our customers, including smart controls, LED drivers, modules, retrofit systems, complete and integrated fixtures, and more with the personalized approach they’ve come to know for decades.” The rebrand includes the tagline “More than Lighting. Solutions.”

Just a little more than six months ago, on September 14, 2002, Universal Douglas announced that it named Paul Tudor as the new President and CEO, replacing Ty Anderson, who held that position for 14 years.

Just 5 days after that, on September 19, 2022, Universal Douglas announced a strategic partnership with 16500, a leading commercial lighting distributor based in the San Francisco Bay area. 16500 is known for selling high technology and innovative products throughout Northern California, and in the press release to announce the partnership, said it was “thrilled” to partner with Universal Douglas.

In a conversation with tED magazine on March 22, 16500 told us that Universal Douglas did not reach out personally to let them know at any time about a potential cease in operations. In fact, a representative at 16500 told tED the only correspondence the company received from its partner was an e-mail with a copy of a report from an online lighting trade news organization that announced the closure.

One NAED distributor responded to tED magazine that while he did not have much of an alignment with Universal Douglas within his region, the lighting manufacturer did not contact him about ending operations and that our conversation was “fresh news to me”. There are at least four medium- to large-sized NAED-member electrical distributors that carry Universal Douglas products.

However, “customers” received a letter dated March 22 that operations will end and facilities will close by this summer.

The Universal Douglas website refers to the company as “one of the most highly esteemed LED lighting companies in North America, with… a dedication to excellent customer service.” Repeated phone calls from tED magazine to a variety of phone numbers listed on the company website went to voicemail that explained that the company was “currently assisting other customers”. Messages left at three different phone numbers have not yet been returned, but if they are, we will update this story.

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