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EMI Spotlight reaches steady-growing Rite Lite

by Jeff Rogers


Rite Lite built and installed these custom fabricated panels to decorate a light-rail station parking garage in Charlotte.

One of our special customer stories revolves around two whirlwinds that spun together back in the late 1980s.
 
It's such a touching story of love, family, and hard work that it's an easy call to make Rite Lite Inc. our latest EMI Supply Customer Spotlight.
 
Rite Lite Inc. logoIn 1988, David Catchpole drove his crane truck from a project in New Jersey back to the Carolinas. Literally on the way, rolling down Interstate 85, Tasha Penn caught his eye.
 
After an exchange of hand signals, they pulled over at the next rest stop and exchanged phone numbers. Soon after, they married, and within a year of being married, they started Rite Lite Inc. with a 1972 pickup, a 16-foot ladder, a $2,500 mortgage on their home and a loan from David's grandmother.
 
"I quit my 'real job' and started a sign company because I wanted to be my own boss and I enjoyed what the installation side of the sign business offered, David said.
 
Since this is a story involving whirlwinds and the Carolinas, you may have seen the next chapter coming fast: Hurricane Hugo wiped through in September 1989, and its powerful gales created an extraordinary amount of work.
 
"Tasha was good about finding the work, chatting with the customers while I was fixing the signs that the established sign companies couldn’t handle due to the amount of damage after Hurricane Hugo, David said.
 
As Rite Lite grew, so did David and Tasha expand their family, bearing a boy and a girl. The children inspired the company's logo colors of blue and pink, and the children grew up working with their parents among the cranes and welding.

They still work with the business. Son David Catchpole III is a purchaser (and loves EMI Supply).

Daughter Haley works as an office manager, and her son, Ryker, whom David watches every Tuesday and Thursday since his birth, has such a love of cranes at age 3 that it looks like he'll follow easily into the family business.

Rite Lite has moved three times around the Charlotte area to accommodate its growth, settling in a 55,000 square foot location in Concord, N.C. The company will soon add 15,000 square feet to increase production.
 
Of all the projects over the years, so many stand out, David says, but a few come to top of mind.

One particular challenge was a polished stainless-steel pylon sign for the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. The site, a city sidewalk in Uptown Charlotte, N.C., made for an unusual installation.

One of the more creative was a recent project for the Fury 325 roller coaster at the Carowinds amusement park on the N.C.-S.C. border, south of Charlotte. The sign features metal and acrylic sculpted in Rite Lite's shop.

Another interesting project has expanded Rite Lite's portfolio. The JW Clay parking garage project called for custom-fabricated metal panels that create an artistic pattern that wraps around the garage.

We thank Rite Lite's contribution to the community and for being a great business partner.

This article was published on Tuesday July 30, 2019.