Tanko Streetlighting, Inc. (DBA “Tanko Lighting”) was founded in 2003 with a simple mission – to help reduce the waste stream from street lighting. Originally started as a green manufacturer of refurbished street light fixtures, the company has evolved to a full service, technology-driven business model that incorporates design/build services, product procurement, engineering/technical support, and project management services to provide a tailored, turnkey solution for any outdoor lighting project.
Tanko Streetlighting, Inc. (DBA “Tanko Lighting”) is a privately held corporation based in San Francisco, CA with projects throughout the United States. Tanko Lighting is a licensed electrical contractor in the States of California and Arizona, is a Certified Contractor by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Division of Capital Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), is a Qualified Vendor with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, and is a registered Energy Services Company (ESCO) with the United States Department of Energy. Please click on a section below to learn more about our company.
The early days…
Tanko Lighting was founded in 2003 with a simple mission – to help reduce the waste stream from the street lighting industry. During our initial years, we operated solely as a green manufacturer of refurbished street light fixtures.
At the time, High Pressure Sodium (HPS) was the dominant technology in the market, and there were tremendous environmental and cost benefits resulting from rebuilding the fixtures. Tanko Lighting would routinely disassemble, clean, repaint and install all new components into each fixture, selling them back good as new to its municipal customer base.
As more energy efficient technologies entered the market, we chose to integrate them into our rebuilt products. Fixtures containing high frequency induction and Light Emitting Diode (LED) components were soon introduced into our product line of both rebuilt and new fixtures.
With the advent of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), municipalities began to consider comprehensive investments in the energy efficiency of their street lighting infrastructure. We provided products and professional services for many of these landmark ARRA-funded projects.
Evolving toward a bright future.
When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding started to wane in 2011, Tanko Lighting searched for ways to continue to leverage the success of that model in the absence of the ARRA funding.
We recognized that ARRA funding dramatically shifted the market, in that it provided financing for a comprehensive approach to upgrading street lighting infrastructure – and in effect, created economies of scale for energy efficient technologies. This enabled the price point of LED fixtures in particular to drop dramatically, which meant that municipalities had less of a financial barrier to adopt LED fixtures. Yet, municipalities were still cash-strapped – but also had significant cost savings to reap if they could only convert to energy efficient street lighting.
We began to envision a new model, whereby we would provide turn-key services that would utilize the latest techniques with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data collection and management, coupled with low-interest financing (repaid from the project energy savings, resulting in no out-of-pocket costs to the municipality) – all orchestrated by our team – which was well-versed in the products and processes involved with successfully executing comprehensive street light conversion projects.
The model soon took flight, such that our turn-key services division has developed into our primary business model. We still provide manufacturing services for custom work, but we remain product agnostic when it comes to our turn-key products and routinely source LED products from major manufacturers (based on our customer’s preferences) for these projects.
As a values-based company focused on the triple bottom line (People, Planet, Profit) – as well as a learning organization – we are proud of our evolution as a company and look forward to continuing to expand and develop new opportunities in this market.
Tanko Lighting is led by Founder and President, Jason Tanko. A life-long street light enthusiast, Jason was enamored by street lights at a very young age. As a child, he routinely built model train set cities so that he could design street lights to light them.
Jason’s unusual passion for street lighting led to him become an electrical engineer (Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Seattle University). His early career involved engineering power distribution designs, lighting, building control systems, and electrical control systems for airplane equipment. Additionally, Jason served as a district engineer for a utility company, coordinating outage management, operations and line crews. Jason’s transition into energy efficiency included engineering energy efficient low and medium voltage power and lighting systems and managing the implementation of commercial energy efficiency programs.
Jason emerged as an entrepreneur in 2003, when he decided to utilize a business plan he developed while obtaining his Master of Business Administration (Seattle University) and turned his passion into his livelihood. Tanko Lighting was thus born.
Jason continues to lead the company, providing oversight on engineering, product development, business development, and project management.
To learn more about Jason in the early days of Tanko Lighting (note that the company has significantly evolved since this documentary was made), please view this documentary.
Tanko Lighting is a values-based company. Here are some of our core values:
Tanko Lighting firmly believes that at the core of any successful project or enterprise are relationships. Whether it is with customers, vendors, suppliers or employees, we promote respect, accountability, trust and good communication with all of the people with whom we connect. We are also committed to social entrepreneurship. Based in an Economic Enterprise Zone, we hire the majority of our workforce from surrounding neighborhoods and provide opportunities that support the economic revitalization of these diverse communities. In addition, we support the manufacturing base in San Francisco and are an active member of SFMade.
As the nation’s largest and most successful manufacturer of rebuilt street lights, Tanko Lighting was founded on a core principle of sustainability and reducing the waste stream from the street lighting industry. This has expanded into a deep focus on energy efficient street light conversion projects. In addition to converting municipalities to LED fixtures, and mitigating waste and carbon dioxide emissions through rebuilding fixtures, our commitment to the environment also involves rebuilding parts, sourcing sustainable materials for the production of both our new and rebuilt products, recycling decommissioned parts, and engineering products using the most energy efficient technologies.
Tanko Lighting offers options that solve customers’ needs while staying grounded in reality. We understand that cost, quality, and efficiency are essential concerns for customers. The solutions we offer are workable, cost-effective and bring tremendous value. Our turn-key services creatively provide actionable options for comprehensive conversions, utility buyouts, and custom projects.
Tanko Lighting knows street lighting. It’s our passion. It’s all we do. This specialty has enabled us to develop vast technical skills specific to this market, as well as an unwavering sense of responsibility to improve this market. As a result, we do not see street lighting and outdoor lighting as strictly utilitarian necessities, but rather as highly functional elements that improve public safety, enhance aesthetics, preserve community history, and improve sight. Our interest and experience in this market enable us to provide superior cradle to grave support, including engineering, product manufacturing, technical assistance, project management and administrative support.
In particular, we are passionate about:
- Turn-key street lighting conversion projects with no upfront cost
- Saving taxpayer dollars and the environment through energy efficient street lighting
- Utilizing data to help cities plan and manage their street light systems
- Transparent customer service