More than three dozen attendees at the NAIOP Rio Rancho Roundtable at Rust Medical Center May 4 probably learned something they hadn’t anticipated.

Although the City of Vision may never be thought of as a manufacturing hub of sorts, they heard the success stories of two local companies that are known throughout the country – and have their distinct marks there.

Think big music festivals in the Midwest and SoFi Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LVI in 2022, for example. Mayor Gregg Hull said the city has “a real great foundation” for companies such as Deluxe Design and Insight Lighting, who have “invested and invested.

“A lot goes on in the City of Vision,” Hull said.

Here are a few of the highlights gleaned from the morning presentation:

Deluxe Design: The firm’s vice president, Norman Ruth, detailed how he had been dealing with the Rio Rancho firm Deluxe Engraving and purchased it for $25,000 from the owner, moving the equipment in that deal into the family’s single-car garage in 1985.

Changing the name to Deluxe Design, the firm had been doing about $2,000 in business monthly, primarily making badges and plaques for local business, of which there weren’t many nearly 40 years ago.

“We added the first computer-designing system – a game-changer,” he said, noting his company does “all types of signage.”

The Ruths built a 10-foot by 10-foot shed on their driveway and have since relocated to larger buildings – and expanded that $2K a month business into more than $4 million annually, with 34 employees.

Thanks to he and wife Sandy’s thinking and analyzing situations, their business “survived and thrived” during the pandemic, except for March-May 2020.

“All types of signage,” is what the firm does, Ruth said, becoming known throughout the country for its signage used at Live Nation, close to 50 music festivals throughout the country, as well as work for nationally known Draft Kings.

Deluxe Design also sends out on-site crews for music festivals.

This year, they’ve made about 300 awards that will be handed out to key folks and performers at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in Queens, New York, celebrating its 100th anniversary. The site opened in 1923 and has played host to Jimmy Connors and John Lennon, again coming alive after decades in obscurity and disrepair.
The company has moved its location several times, landing for good in what was once the J&R Vintage Auto Museum ion northern Rio Rancho. That building has undergone a total revival,

Ruth showed through several slides on screen.

Insight Lighting: Co-President Geoff Patterson said although his family’s firm doesn’t go back as far in the City of Vision – locating in Rio Rancho in about 1991 – his firm now has about 100 employees in its 95,000 square foot facility behind Home Depot near US 550.

“Our first LED offering was in 2005,” Patterson said. “Not a lot of people were doing LED (then).”

Among Insight Lighting’s projects have been at Microsoft’s site in Seattle, a high-rise in Minneapolis, Comcast HQ in Philadelphia, the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, several big-time stadiums and – you may have seen this – the dramatic lighting on the north end of The Pit in and the exterior of the Sunport Albuquerque.

The goal, Patterson said, is “adding value to other people’s designs,” and about 95% of Insight Lighting’s business is out of state – bringing new dollars to the City of Vision.

These “fun applications” have led to what Patterson touted as “double-digit growth the last eight years” for his firm.

“Rio Rancho’s on the right path,” Patterson added. “We go as you go.”

After hearing the two presentations, Fred Shepard, president of the Sandoval Economic Alliance, echoed Patterson: “There are so many hidden gems here in our community.”

The next Rio Rancho Roundtable meeting for NAIOP is set for 7:30 a.m. June 1, also at Rust Medical Center.