The road to establishing Bluegrass Evergreen LLC started a number of years ago when Raymond Cheng, our CEO, developed a business relationship with SYLVANIA Lighting. In 2000 Mr. Cheng’s Bluegrass Pressware LLC (another of Mr. Cheng’s companies) started supplying SYLVANIA with pressware glass for its Halogen Lighting Business Unit, a relationship that still exists today.
From 2000 through 2008 Mr. Cheng established a number of business relationships at SYLVANIA. Two of the key individuals Mr. Cheng worked with were Kevin McGarry (formerly the General Manager of SYLVANIA’s North American Halogen Strategic Business Unit (SBU) and Jim Oetken (Manager of Research & Development for the North American Halogen SBU). Both Mr. McGarry and Mr. Oetken traveled extensively to China over these years to fine tune the technical and quality assurance capabilities of Bluegrass Evergreen’s pressware products.
Finally, both of these SYLVANIA managers decided several years ago to take advantage of early out packages from SYLVANIA. However, the three business colleagues remained close and contemplated starting a business together. After some initial discussions and business investigations Mr. Cheng proposed to Mr. McGarry and Mr. Oetken to join him on the executive management staff of Bluegrass Evergreen LLC, a company that would develop state of the art LED bulbs using glass while maintaining a traditional look.
It should be noted at this time that both Mr. McGarry and Mr. Oetken were quite familiar with LED lighting technologies, halogen and incandescent lighting, and sales and marketing.
Specifically, after Mr. McGarry’s departure from SYLVANIA in 2008 he started a Landscape Lighting Business in Lexington, KY (that remains in operation today) that focuses on low voltage LED products. Earlier in his career with SYLVANIA he had been the Director of Marketing and Sales for SYLVANIA’s Glass Division.
Mr. Oetken had been a key member of SYLVANIA’s team to put LED light sources into halogen envelopes prior to departing SYLVANIA. Earlier in his career he had also driven the engineering side of SYLVANIA’s incandescent lighting products.
So, the group of Mr. Cheng, Mr. McGarry, and Mr. Oetken became a strategic merger of LED technology, world class pressware, and sales/marketing.