This Week On Making It In America
We shed some light on the importance of American manufacturing with Mr. Dylan Sievers of Bulldog Lighting
Please tell us a about yourself.
Well, I was born and raised in San Carlos, California in Northern California. My parents however are from San Francisco and Arkansas. So, I have some city and country influence. I have a sister who is two years older than me as well. I have always been into cars and trucks and enjoyed working on Jeeps or Dirt bikes with my dad as a kid. I was actually lucky enough to be a co-driver for a team racing in the Best in the Desert Series when I was 17 and a senior in high school. The team couldn’t afford the $2000 for LED Light Bars from the companies in the industry at the time so with the support and help of my family and their over 25 years of experience in the electrical industry, I started Bulldog Lighting.
Why is making it in America (manufacturing) important to you?
We first started Bulldog Lighting by designing our led light bar and having China manufacture it. As time went on, we decided to begin assembling the fixtures in the United States much like some of our competitors. Manufacturing here became important to us as we found that the overseas manufacturer was giving our ideas and designs to anyone who asked for them. We quickly determined that making it here was the only way to protect our designs and patents pending at the time. With the constant job losses that were being shown on the news as well as seeing them locally, it was obvious that we needed to help in any way that we could. Even if it was a small part at the time, we knew that every little bit helps.
In what ways have you and/or your company made it in America?
Well, it hasn't been easy. But that is with anything, you have to put forth the effort in order to get a result, and if that isn't what you want then you keep pushing forward. Through all of the research that we have done in order to find exactly what we need to do in order to make it here in America it proved to be a much more difficult task than we had originally thought. Maybe that was why no one else in the industry had tried as hard as we did. It has taken almost 2 years to iron out the technical specifications, the logistics of where the factories are, and to perfect the parts that go into the actual finished fixture. You wouldn't believe the detail but it even came down to finding the right texture or type of powder coat that we were going to use. We have been certified by Made in USA Certified®, the nation’s leading 3rd party auditor for Made in USA Origin claims. We are very proud to have it all made here in America, all the way down to screws, pcb’s (printed circuit boards), housings, end caps, wire, lenses, and much more. Of course there are some components on the PCB that are not made here which include capacitors and resistors which are not even available from any U.S. source since they were never made here and have no inclination to ever be made here (or else we would use those!). Even the CREE LED starts here and is then sent overseas to get cut and packaged. It is then sent back on a reel, as are the other components and the final production of the PCB is done in Texas and California. According to the Federal Trade Commission standards, final and most transformation completed in the USA warrants a Made In USA badge. Since those components are the only pieces not made here, we are well above the standard.
What are the toughest challenges to make Bulldog-Lighting in the USA?
The toughest challenges we face is the misconception other companies imply that they are Made in USA but don't actually source all of their materials from within the states. Since we started Bulldog Lighting, the entire industry has seen an insurgence of imported LED Light bars which are lowering the value of the LED light bar as a product. We combat these challenges by providing the strongest and most durable light bar as well as making it right here in America. The garage sellers that import overseas light bars don’t pay a tax for labor, or a city or county tax or anything. We are working with various foundations to bring awareness to American Made Matters, Made in USA Foundation and more that support US Companies and manufacturing in America.
What is your favorite quote? How does it affect you in your efforts to support manufacturing in the USA?
A favorite quote of my mom’s is; Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like hard work. Thomas Edison. I think for me that quote simply means you have to work to succeed. Nothing is easy or everyone would be doing it. I used to work in my mom’s business, Coolballs®, she made antenna balls. I was 6 years old (lol, it wasn’t that kind of child labor. I had to have my homework done first. I loved it. It made me feel big.) I have always worked hard. My mom was the only mom who would give us summer homework! I would package Coolballs® in plastic bags, print them, or ship them out to customers. Bringing back manufacturing to the United States is important. We manufacture a high quality, American Made product. The United States fought for labor rights, fought to make this the country the land of opportunity, THE AMERICAN DREAM, but if we don’t manufacture anything anymore, what else will we do? We can't all be in the customer service industry, can we? Bulldog Lighting is affordable, because we are for the working man or woman. This quote means to me that opportunity isn't easy to grab but that it takes hard work in order to get the results that you want. Made In America doesn't have to cost you.