Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf

Truck-Lite moving to Penn State Behrend’s Knowledge Park

June 1, 2021
New headquarters anticipates new capabilities required for EVs, bolsters talent pipeline to support future customers

Truck-Lite is relocating its headquarters to Knowledge Park at Penn State Behrend in Erie, Penn.

The commercial vehicle lighting manufacturer said the move will improve future access to engineering and technology talent as the company prepares for the transportation industry’s shift to electric vehicles in the years to come.

“As the transportation industry shifts toward electric vehicles, developing new innovations for customers relies on our ability to attract, develop and retain qualified talent,” said Brian Kupchella, CEO of Clarience Technologies, parent company of Truck-Lite. “Relocating our headquarters to Knowledge Park and expanding our association with Penn State Behrend—a major college of one of the country’s top universities and a long-standing Truck-Lite partner—creates a strong pipeline of future electrical engineers, data scientists and business leaders in the years to come.”

Truck-Lite will lease nearly 30,000 square feet from Penn State Behrend, a longtime partner, for its back-office operations. Meanwhile, Penn State Behrend will invest in enhancements to its Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center (AMIC), which will contain Truck-Lite’s laboratory and test space.

“Truck-Lite is a manufacturer renowned for innovation in its field with an established Pennsylvania footprint, and with its new proximity to and support from the talent pool at Penn State Behrend, the possibilities for continued growth and product development are endless,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. “My administration is pleased to welcome another Truck-Lite site to the commonwealth and eager to witness the collaborative work that will result from its longtime partnership with one of the state’s top higher education facilities.”

Approximately 90 Truck-Lite employees, including engineering, planning, product testing, finance, marketing and customer service, will work at the new location, which is targeted to open late 2021.

With truck manufacturers shifting significant resources toward development of electric powertrains and with full-scale production of electric vehicles on the near horizon, Truck-Lite said it is working to align its research and development capabilities with the evolving technology requirements being set by vehicle manufacturers.

“Future electric vehicle technology is fundamentally different than what’s offered in vehicles built today,” said Shane Brown, general manager of Truck-Lite. “Future solutions need to do more than lead the way in lighting technology; they also need to seamlessly integrate into electric vehicle hardware and software platforms.”

Truck-Lite believes the future research and development capabilities needed to design components in next-generation electric vehicles will require its workforce to have deeper electrical engineering, software programming and advanced analytics expertise. By locating its new headquarters at Knowledge Park, the company seeks to elevate its viability with future job seekers to unlock access to a larger talent pool. Existing employees also will benefit from the move, as the proximity of subject matter experts at Penn State Behrend means future technology advancements will stay within close reach.

The move to Knowledge Park will increase opportunities for Truck-Lite to engage in Penn State Behrend’s Open Lab environment, which provides access to student and new graduate talent, faculty expertise and facilities, according to the company. Truck-Lite also will build two research labs in the college’s Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Center, a 1,745-square-foot product-modeling lab and a 4,075-square-foot photometric testing facility, which will be used to study the light emitted by LEDs, lamps and other devices.

Truck-Lite and Penn State Behrend have a long history of collaboration, sponsoring student research projects in the School of Engineering since 2006 and later opening its innovation center at Knowledge Park. Last March, Truck-Lite parent company Clarience Technologies announced an Early Career Professorship program at Behrend. The company will work with a faculty member to guide four senior design projects in the field of data analytics.

“We look forward to this new phase in our longstanding partnership with Truck-Lite and Clarience Technologies,” said Ralph Ford, chancellor of Penn State Behrend. “The most valuable resource for any company is its people. By moving to Knowledge Park, Truck-Lite is investing in Erie as both a source of talented employees and a place where the Truck-Lite team can grow and thrive.”

Truck-Lite was established in Jamestown, N.Y., in 1955 and currently is based in Falconer, where it has been located since 1966. The current Falconer headquarters and the new Erie headquarters are separated by only 45 miles.

The Knowledge Park headquarters will be Truck-Lite’s fourth location in Pennsylvania. Truck-Lite has more than 800 employees in manufacturing and distribution hubs in Coudersport, McElhattan and Wellsboro, as well as six additional sites in North America and Europe.

“Truck-Lite headquarters has been in this region for over 65 years,” Brown said. “(Now) we can officially say we will be here for many more.”

About the Author

BT staff