When I explain the comprehensive brand and marketing systems of our Outdoor Living Brands companies – Archadeck, Mosquito Squad and Outdoor Lighting Perspectives – I also tell the story of our editorial roundtables, conducted at major national magazine publishing houses, where we have the opportunity to serve as a thought leader and subject matter expert in our respective franchise concepts. In February, we travelled to Des Moines, Iowa, in the very dead of winter, to introduce our outdoor living businesses to editors from the Meredith Corporation – primarily Traditional Home magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and the multiple lifestyle/interest specialty books Better Homes and Gardens publishes (Nature’s Garden, etc.).

We found ourselves inside their vast conference room, which had a certain aura of theatricality about it with it’s sweeping round walls and huge circular table (I think it may have been inspired by the movie “Doctor Strangelove” with Peter Sellers).  Winston Edwards, our technical expert, arranged our latest outdoor lighting fixtures along the north curved wall of the room to help illustrate our innovative, superior copper low voltage lighting fixtures, including our copper path light, our half path/half flood copper light and our Lighting Control Automation technology (using a checkerboard-like display board of light bulbs to illustrate our new automatic timing capabilities, which looked like a hi-tech version of “Whack A Mole” from Chucky Cheese – but that’s another story).

Admittedly I was a little nervous as the editors entered the room, meeting these highly respected “rock stars” in the publishing world for the very first time. But within seconds it was apparent that they were truly wonderful people and that the next three hours would be the stuff that career memories are made of.

We began with an introduction of how Outdoor Lighting Perspectives was founded – an exterior lighting company focusing on perfecting the effect of outdoor lighting, and not the fixtures, with a dedication to illuminating surfaces and not spilling light onto unintended areas, while increasing safety, security and the architectural aesthetic of the home.

As we began to discuss the future vision for our business – professionally designed and installed custom outdoor lighting for virtually every home owner – a lovely, impeccably dressed woman entered with little fanfare, taking a seat in a far corner of the room, as not to interrupt the proceedings. I couldn’t help but notice out of the corner of my eye that there was something very special about her. Maybe it was because she reminded me of my godmother Geraldine Bertola and she commanded a sense of significance and grace. I was hoping that she would remain in the room long enough so that I could introduce myself to her, whomever she was.

As we concluded our presentation, she started to leave the room, so I quickly made my way to the door as I figured it was then or never. As she turned to me I was quite taken with her face, brimming with a look of innate kindness and mentor-like wisdom I found very reassuring.

“Great job in there. I’m Ethne Clarke from Traditional Home.” “Say what?! ,” I thought to myself. It turns out that my wife Laurel has read every issue of Traditional Home magazine cover to cover and has archived many of its pages for the past thirty plus years. Here in front of me was the woman who responsible.

We only spoke for a few minutes, but she was so impressed with our outdoor lighting story that she said she would like to feature us in the October issue. She felt the time was right to address the importance of exterior lighting. “Could it get any better than this?,” I thought.

After several weeks of exchanging phone calls and emails, Ethne said she was sorry that the magazine would not be able to feature outdoor lighting in that issue as another editor had a major feature about a Texas home that had just created a major landscape renovation, and was hosting a very important outdoor wedding.

A little disappointed, I knew it was the nature of the publishing beast, and eventually got over the disappointing news. I do remember Ethne mentioning that she would try to mention Outdoor Lighting Perspectives in her online blog, but I never saw anything online, so I assumed it never happened.

Then yesterday while working from home on optimizing our web site www.OutdoorLights.com, there it was on Google:


“Just as indoor lighting extends the enjoyment of the pavilion’s comfortable interior, Alan took great care lighting the outside. As Larry Spada, of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives comments, “garden lighting is about creating atmosphere as well as enhancing safety and not many people consider that when installing fixtures.”


“Outdoor Perspectives lighting specialist Winston Edwards observes, “Typical deck lighting has large spots shining down on the deck from the corners of the house. But a shielded light source under handrails and small low-watt lights along paths can not only light the scene but also provide comfort.”


“Lights should never be placed so that you are looking directly into the bulb. Position lights so that they accent your home and garden rather than light it up like a prison yard. Your neighbors will appreciate it, too, since light pollution from spots can be incredibly intrusive.”

So, a year later, but ever so sincerely, thanks, Ethne Clarke, for keeping your word and for being kind enough to include Outdoor Lighting Perspectives in your online edition. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.