Five questions: Matt Nicol

February 20, 2019 -  By
Matt Nicol (Photo: Seth Jones)

Photo: Seth Jones

Matt Nicol

Owner + Founder
Lightscape Outdoor Lighting, Columbus, Ohio

1. Why did you start your company?

I was passionate about landscaping, and was an artist, but I could never find a way to make a living with my art. I thought about doing landscape architecture because I could combine landscaping and artwork. Well, I went into the military and wasn’t able to follow that (path) and ended up in the corporate world. I wanted to get back into landscaping and doing something creative. The corporate world was sucking the life out of me. I met Joel Mayor with Texas Outdoor Lighting … He told me what he did and I said, “That’s it!” I love lighting, I love landscaping, I have an artistic eye, so I started on that journey to start my own landscape lighting company.

2. What can you tell me about your military career and your connection to the movie “Lone Survivor?”

I enlisted in the Army Reserves when I was 17, a junior in high school. I followed my dream and became an Army helicopter pilot at age 21 — I did that for about 12 years — then I wanted to go see the world and do more, so I applied for the Air Force’s pilot training program. I happened to be deployed during a specific time when we lost a high-value Navy SEAL team. The date was June 29, 2005. Some people may recall the date and Operation Red Wing. The movie “Lone Survivor” was created from that incident. I didn’t remember until the movie came out and the date and incident were detailed in the movie — we were assigned one support mission to drop water, ammo and MREs to a company of Marines in the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan that was looking for Marcus Luttrell, the “Lone Survivor.”

3. What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love working with people. I cater to a high-end clientele, and you meet some really fascinating people, some really successful people, and tackle some very complex lighting jobs on large homes. To be out there that first time, do the reveal with these clients and see their faces when we light up their homes — it is amazing.

4. How far and wide will you travel for a lighting job?

I’ll travel anywhere; it just depends on the job. I’m currently working with a client in Blacksburg, Va. They have a 400-acre farm and very historical home from the Civil War in the mountains of Virginia. (The owner is) a retired Air Force general, so with my military/Air Force background and the historical significance of the home, it really fascinated me. One of the nice things about being an entrepreneur is that you can make those decisions. If I didn’t want to do that job, I wouldn’t go do it.

5. Tell me about the book you’ve written.

My book “Seize the Night” is an autobiography. It’s subtitled, “One veteran’s guide to overcoming darkness and finding a life of purpose.” Writing a book was something I always wanted and had been encouraged to do. The book is aimed at helping those struggling to find themselves and their life’s purpose — perhaps as a result of a failed career, marriage or other setbacks in life — and find their light in times of darkness and “seize the night” once and for all.

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Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist of 2014 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 18 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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