By Jim Stafford
Copyright © 2017, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
OWASSO — Buddy Stefanoff touched the screen on his cellphone, and a bright LED light instantly shone in a streetlight fixture atop a stand across the room.
Stefanoff was demonstrating technology that his firm, Crossroads LED, uses that allows road crews to remotely switch on or off groups of streetlights with a mobile app.
“How many people have an app that can turn on and dim a streetlight?” Stefanoff asked as I watched the demonstration at Crossroads LED’s electronics laboratory in Owasso.
Buddy Stefanoff is vice president and senior design engineer of Crossroads LED, a 7-year-old company that is developing high-output LED technology. LED lighting can replace incandescent, florescent and high-intensity discharge lighting for virtually any lighting application.
“We started with multicolored lighting for the amusement and entertainment industries, but as the company grew we diversified into the commercial and industrial white lighting markets,” said Dana Stefanoff, the company’s president.
Crossroads designs and manufactures multicolor and white LED lighting systems for museums, theaters, city civic centers and arenas, cities and municipalities, and other large venues. Its technology allows customers to retrofit light fixtures with more efficient LED lighting that provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy and maintenance savings.
“Santa Fe, New Mexico, is one of the many projects that we are really excited about,” Dana said. “We’ve been able to provide retrofit solutions for their decorative and historical fixtures, converting the 250-watt metal halide fixtures into a 70-watt LED lighting platform. This conversation saves the City of Santa Fe over 100,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.”
‘It’s his art’
Other notable projects completed by Crossroads LED include the advanced caution lighting system along the catch-fence at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas; the installation of their patented, Infinity multicolor lighting system for the Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta; retrofitting all of the high-wattage house lights at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, California; illuminated scholarship plaques for the Folds of Honor facility in Owasso; and the ongoing retrofit of all 175-watt acorn-style post top lights in downtown Tulsa with 70-watt LED retrofit luminaires.
Crossroads LED has been awarded four patents for its technology designs covering circuit board, LED luminaires, power supplies and an address-free LED lighting control system. A fifth patent is expected to be issued any day.
As a self-funded company, Crossroads operates under strict lean manufacturing principles with two full-time employees, contract engineers and contract manufacturers in Kansas and New Mexico to assemble all of its mass-production work. Their goal is to eventually bring this manufacturing in-house as growth funding is obtained.
“This is our R&D lab here in Owasso,” Dana said. “This is where we put our ideas together and do our initial testing. We then send our products to accredited photometric laboratories for verification.”
Crossroads LED operates in a competitive market with some very large players. The company routinely wins contracts over industry giants, such as when it was selected over Phillips Lighting for the Coca-Cola Museum project.
“What that told us was that there is a shift from people simply wanting to buy based on a brand name,” Dana said. “We won the Coca-Cola Museum project because our lights were brighter, more reliable and worked better in dimmed environments. And, as we saw with the city of Tulsa Acorn project, municipalities and corporations are discovering that the cost is higher by going simply by the lowest bidder and the cheapest product.”
Buddy Stefanoff demonstrated nearly a dozen examples of LED lighting displays Crossroads LED has created, from stage retrofits and a multicolored lighting system that dances to the beat of music to outdoor lighting fixtures with an output of over 200,000 lumens, and an incredibly bright handheld spotlight.
Dana Stefanof looked at Buddy as he enthusiastically showcased Crossroads’ innovations.
“It’s not just what he does for a living,” she said. “It’s his art.”
Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology.