Make us your home page

St. Petersburg College, LED light maker team to train students

ST. PETERSBURG — High-tech manufacturing jobs and a training partnership with St. Petersburg College are coming to Midtown. LumaStream, a maker of energy-efficient LED lighting, will hire about 20 employees, from engineers to assembly workers, by the end of the year at a building it's leasing at 2201 First Ave. S.

LumaStream is also talking with the city about buying land and building a facility in the heart of Midtown within three years.

But long before that, students at SPC can start training on the company's manufacturing machines in the interim 23,000-square-foot building on the north edge of Midtown. LumaStream provides the hands-on classroom and will get a specifically trained pool of potential employees. SPC provides the students who will be certified and possibly hired at the end of the program. SPC is paying a portion of LumaStream's rent and covering instruction and administration costs with part of a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Labor.

"This is first time we have gone into somebody else's facility like this," said SPC spokeswoman Wilma Norton. "It's fairly unique. We are very excited."

The training starts this month and will be completed in three to six months. Participants will earn nationally recognized industry certifications that will also count as college credits toward an associate of science degree.

"We will hire a third to half of the students as we grow and the others will be well prepared with great skills," said LumaStream chief executive officer Eric Higgs. "They will be making real products that will go out into the community. It's not just making stuff that's going into the recycling bin." The students will make lights that will go into SPC's Midtown facility.

The company, which Higgs founded in 2010, produced lights that are installed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Ovation condos, the Tampa Police Department, Yogurtology, the Chihuly Collection gallery, and Courtyard by Marriott in Washington, D.C.

LED stands for light emitting diode. A diode is a device with electrical current flowing through it. The St. Petersburg-based company has operations in Washington, D.C., Seattle, Germany and Canada. About 10 employees from Canada will be moved to the St. Petersburg facility.

Higgs is also a sculptor with works around the country and in Japan and France. In Florida, he created the sundial in North Shore Park as well as sculptures at Whole Foods stores in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach Gardens and Sarasota.

Katherine Snow Smith can be contacted at (727) 893-8785 or

St. Petersburg College, LED light maker team to train students 09/03/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 4:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: For Class of 2016, college debt loads favor Florida graduates


    Florida college graduates saddled with student debt: Take heart. The average debt Class of 2016 Florida grads must bear is less than students in most states.

    University of South Florida undergraduates gather at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa for last fall's commencement ceremony. A new survey finds their average student debt upon graduating was $22,276. Statewide, 2016 Florida grads ranked a relatively unencumbered 45th among states, averaging $24,461 in student debt. [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  2. After Hurricane Irma, many ask: How safe are shelters?


    NAPLES — Residents of the Naples Estates mobile home park beamed and cheered when President Donald Trump and Gov. Rick Scott strolled amid piles of shredded aluminum three days after Hurricane Irma to buck up residents and hail the work of emergency responders. But almost nobody had anything good to say about …

    The Islamic Society of Tampa Bay Area opened its doors to anyone seeking temporary shelter during Hurricane Irma. Evacuees were housed in the Istaba multipurpose building and was quickly at capacity housing over 500 people. [Saturday, September 9, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  3. When elders are in peril, who do you call — 911 or Rick Scott's cell?

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Twelve hours after Irma blasted through South Florida, conditions at Larkin Community Hospital in Hollywood were miserable.

    Police surround the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which had no air conditioning after Hurricane Irma knocked out power, on Sept. 13 in Hollywood. So far, nine deaths have been blamed on the incedent. [John McCall | South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
  4. Report slams Pinellas construction licensing agency and leaders

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board mismanaged its finances, lacked accountability and disregarded its own rules, according to a scathing report released Wednesday by the county's inspector general.

    Rodney Fischer, the executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board, resigned in January.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  5. A meatless burger that tastes like meat? Ciccio Restaurants will serve the Impossible Burger.

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The most red-hot hamburger in the nation right now contains no meat.

    Ciccio executive chef Luis Flores prepares an Impossible Burger Wednesday at the Epicurean Hotel Food Theatre in Tampa.