GE’s Brilliant lighting plant in Hendersonville, NC was almost shuttered less
than decade ago. Now it’s one of the company’s top facilities.
By Mike Hockett
A Brilliant Factory
Western North Carolina is essentially a hipster’s paradise. The city of Asheville alone has 26 craft breweries — giving it the most per capita in 2017
according to Forbes magazine — while three national forests
and rolling Appalachian hills throughout the topography give
it a picturesque outdoor scene.
But traditionally, the region is home to a rich history of
manufacturing that remains strong today. General Electric
has two GE Aviation Plants in the area — Asheville and West
Jefferson — with the Asheville plant home to the world’s
largest jet engine.
Thirty miles south of Asheville, just outside of
Hendersonville, resides a GE Brilliant Lighting factory,
where the company produces its commercial outdoor lighting
products under the “Current, Powered by GE” division.
Coming out of the Great Recession, the factory was almost
shut down. At the time, the company rated it in the lower half
of its nearly 500 plants globally.
Today, GE rates the same Hendersonville plant among its
I recently visited that GE plant, where its state-of-the-art
equipment and cutting edge lean operations made it hard to
GE's outdoor lighting plant in Hendersonville, NC opened
in 1955, but looks far more modern inside.
A 1958 GE Outdoor Lighting ad
All plant photos by IMPO