Patience, perseverance, and innovation: Leadsun Managing Director Matt Pollard wins National Award for Excellence from Lighting Council Australia
Leadsun’s Managing Director Matt Pollard was recently presented with the top award for public and street lighting at Lighting Council Australia’s 2021 National Awards for Excellence in Lighting.
We caught up with Matt to hear about how he came to found Leadsun, an Australian company at the forefront of solar lighting design – and what the journey has been like. Under Matt’s leadership, Leadsun is on a mission to light up public spaces all over Australia and New Zealand with their innovative, environmentally friendly solar lights.
Congratulations Matt on such a prestigious award. How did you come to receive it?
I was honoured to be nominated for the award by my lighting industry peers. I’m so passionate about what we do at Leadsun, so it’s very rewarding to know I have people around me who respect what we do enough to nominate me.
You really are an industry pioneer when it comes to solar street lighting. Could you tell us a little about what is so innovative about Leadsun lights?
Thank you – but I also have a fantastic team behind me, who are continuously working to keep innovating in the field. But how we began was looking at how the idea of combining the latest technological innovations in solar panels, LED lights, lithium batteries and adaptive, smart controls into one product – creating all-in-one solar lighting system that was unique in the market. Today, I am proud to say I think we have reached a position where we have redefined public lighting.
Who are Leadsun’s main clients?
When we began, we were really offering something very new to the market. Those first few clients included local councils who really wanted to do something different for the future of their communities. They included the City of Casey and City of Kingston in Melbourne. Nowadays, I’m proud to say we’ve gone on to distribute more than 300,000 lighting systems and have loyal customers in local councils all over Australia and New Zealand, as well as developers, consultants, planners, designers and architects both in Australia and internationally.
I get the sense it was quite tricky to break into the industry. Can you elaborate on that?
Well, any innovation has to break into an industry, so it definitely wasn’t always easy. I guess we just persevered, because we have always truly believed in what we’re doing – that these days there really is no excuse not to utilise solar energy in public lighting. Along the way, we were able to take some big steps and demonstrate the benefits of our solution through some large Australian projects like the Wollondily River Walkway lighting project for Goulburn Mulwaree Council as well as projects to light up residential communities in the United States. These are some really big steps that have helped further boost our profile.
What do you think the Lighting Council appreciated specifically when considering your award?
I believe they really valued Leadsun’s contribution to their Commercial Solar Lighting Guide. Leadsun contributed towards it and that was done back in 2000.
Who has encouraged you over the years?
Our clients, of course, but also our brilliant team, who has provided constant encouragement over the last 15 years. Some of them do not work with us anymore and some are the partners in the business, such as Jeoff Cuberes from EZYpole. Generally, all the team members have given their support and encouragement, and for that I’m truly grateful. And of course, my peers in the industry, such as the Lighting Council itself.
What have you learned about launching and growing such an innovative product?
We have learnt to be patient, to persevere, to always believe and to stick to our vision. Our vision has always been that one day our lights will have a firm place in the public street lighting sector – it’s a vision that has very much been our guiding light, if you’ll pardon the pun.
How does receiving such a prestigious award make you feel?
I’m feeling very humbled. The awards for excellence cover many different sectors, with public street lighting one of those – and quite a huge one. I’m proud and humbled that Leadsun has been recognised as a significant contributor.
How was the awards night itself? It must have been lovely to participate in an in-person event after so long?
The night was great. It really was almost the first time we all had to get out since lockdown and other COVID restrictions, so we were all very excited to get together and celebrate the industry amongst peers. I truly felt a combination of feelings – excitement, but also surprise at actually receiving the award amongst so many other very worthy nominees. I was really blown away but so grateful. The Lighting Council Australia does an amazing job of representing our industry and has provided such a great amount of support, especially as we have all navigated the pandemic. Now I’m more inspired than ever to continue on our mission at Leadsun.
15+ years strong
The Leadsun Australia story began in 2005 when Matt was inspired by a vision to revolutionise the public lighting industry by combining four emerging technologies – solar PV, LED lights, lithium batteries and adaptive lighting controls – into an all-in-one solar lighting system. With substantial research, development and testing, Leadsun then created the world’s first compact solar lighting system. Leadsun has now distributed over 300,000 lighting systems across the world, providing consulting, solutions and guidance that local authorities can count on.
Leadsun offers obligation-free consultations to organisations interested in improving safety and security in their local communities through solar lighting. For more information click the links for Leadsun’s products, projects and capabilities or simply click here to book a free consultation.