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After acquisition, Ruud Lighting rewards employees

After acquisition, Ruud Lighting rewards employees

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STURTEVANT - Two days after an announcement that Ruud Lighting was being acquired for $525 million, all 750-plus employees received the largest bonuses the company had ever handed out.

On Aug. 17, Cree Inc. of Durham, N.C., and Ruud jointly announced an acquisition by Cree for $525 million. They said Ruud Lighting, 9201 Washington Ave., will continue to be based here and will operate as a subsidiary of Cree's lighting business.

Cree makes light-emitting diode, or LED, elements and Ruud Lighting makes LED fixtures. Cree had been Ruud Lighting's main supplier of LEDs.

Ruud Lighting President Chris Ruud on Friday confirmed his family gave the employees bonuses Aug. 19 but declined to provide any dollar figures. He said, however, "They were larger than any of the prior bonus checks."

Executives met with groups of employees all day, and employees received their bonuses at the end of the day, Ruud said.

He explained the decision to give bonuses. "The No. 1 reason was: It was not through the efforts just of my father (Alan Ruud) and I to get the company to the level of success it has today.

"We have always had a culture of everyone being part of the family," Ruud continued. "We wanted to make sure they knew they were appreciated."

Jennifer Pyscher, who joined Ruud Lighting in marketing and communications this year, said she used her bonus for her move from Illinois to this area. She would have moved anyway but said, "It sure came in handy."

With the acquisition, Ruud Lighting moved from private-company status to public; Cree is traded on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange as CREE.

The acquisition was made in part with $372 million in cash, as well as stock in Cree and a large payment to retire debt.

Asked about employees' reactions to the bonuses, Ruud replied, "We got a lot of ‘thank-yous.' Just a lot of heartfelt ‘thank-yous.' "

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Reporter

Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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