Project Lighting has helped light the homes of thousands of Canberra families. The company was founded in the national capital in 1972 by Mick Hogg, who has retired at the age of 85 to continue enjoying life with his wife Eileen on the South Coast.
Project Lighting was also responsible for lighting the streets in some Canberra suburbs as well as within institutions such as the CSIRO, Australian National University, the Snowy-Mountains Hydro-electricity Authority and the National Arboretum.
And when Black Mountain Tower was opened in 1980 by prime minister Malcolm Fraser, Mr Hogg was chosen to light the new landmark for the opening ceremony.
Mr Hogg started Project Lighting in Altree Court in Phillip in 1972 "with a small amount of superannuation and an even smaller bank loan". The business went on to expand to seven stores: in Phillip, Belconnen, Tuggeranong, Queanbeyan, Batemans Bay, Ulladulla, and, most recently, Orange only last year.
To mark Mr Hogg's retirement, Project Lighting commissioned a short documentary video by Josh Mulrine from Digital Content Studios. It includes both the business' history and its founder's life called A Legacy of Light, which can be viewed on YouTube.
"I'm pleased to be able to leave a legacy that will inspire others, both for my family and for other businesses," he said.
"It hasn't always been easy, but with persistence, and by taking care of others, we can succeed at whatever worthwhile endeavours we undertake."
Mr Hogg officially retired from the business on his 85th birthday on April 5. He passed on the running of Project Lighting to his hand-picked leadership team, headed up by general manager Steve Ross.
His father chose to migrate to Australia and on the ship over, a 13-year-old Mick distinctly remembered a fellow passenger telling him "when you get to Australia, you'll be a success".
He trained as a radar technician in the Royal Australian Navy and later worked for Philips, "taking TV to the bush", selling TVs to country stores and showing how to fix them.
Mr Hogg founded Project Lighting on three pillars: specialty lighting, domestic lighting and contractor supplies. No other supplier served all three markets.
His daughter Maryanne Gore was also recognised for her role as a director of the company, named the ACT Business Woman of the Year in 2016, described as a quiet achiever and pillar of the community. Mr Hogg's grandson Tom Gore represents the third generation of the family to work for the company.
Mr Hogg's description of lighting up Black Tower for its official opening on May 15, 1980 - creating "a dramatic stab of light into the night sky" - is fascinating.
"The entire south face had to be lit up because that's what the dignitaries saw when the prime minister pressed the button two kilometres away," he said.
"The light had to be instantaneous and the tower lit evenly. The result had to be a dramatic stab of light into the night sky. To get the safety harnesses, which were essential because of the high winds and working at that height, I had to scale a nine-metre-high fence and throw over the harnesses, that were blocked away behind it.
"We had to climb by carrying all our gear up a vertical 20-metre-high ladder because it was the only way to reach the tower's top platform. Because the lights for the tower's three sections were each separately wired, the button that the prime minister pressed did nothing but ring a buzzer. I had three people with headphones listen for that buzzer and then switch on the lights so the tower lit instantly. It worked perfectly."
With qualifications in accounting and marketing, Mr Hogg had a great love of education. He would send his staff to international conferences so they could keep up with the latest information in the industry. He donated electronic whiteboards to schools.
He was also known to be kind and generous to staff and clients. Steve Ross said the company's philosophy was to help customers who sometimes had trouble paying because "we'd rather help them trade out of the problem. Closing them down helped nobody".
Project Light's business development manager Ian Kelly said: "I could probably rattle off 40 or 50 names that Mick would have helped over say a one- to two-year period to pay a debt back."
Mr Hogg's daughter Maryanne said the business had been her father's life, except on Wednesdays when he played golf.
She remembered when staff used to be paid in cash, her father would "take around the pay packets himself so he always knew how they were going and they could present him with any problems".
At the end of his career, Mr Hogg was still attending the business every day in Canberra and making weekly visits to the branches to keep in touch with staff.
"Project Lighting has had an exceptional life," Mr Hogg said.
"It's one of the oldest surviving family businesses in Canberra but it has had its challenges ... its longevity is based on the skill and dedication of the people working with me. We have some 55 staff who love working here and mostly only leave when they retire."