- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 16, 2004

Andre Kaminski can see the light. The local franchisee for Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, an outdoor lighting company, is busy these days with a nonstop workload installing lights that illuminate some of the most upscale homes in the D.C. suburbs.

“You have this beautiful house and more often than not it looks better at night,” Mr. Kaminski said with a Polish accent.

Customers are looking to beautify their homes, but also have the lights installed for safety and security.

The lights aren’t the run-of-the-mill spotlights that shine on the front of a house or highlight a wreath on a door at Christmas.

They are specially designed, low-voltage lights made for Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and are strategically placed to maximize the light and what it illuminates.

Mr. Kaminski’s clients are in Montgomery, Prince George’s and Frederick counties and the District. The average job is about $5,000 and $10,000. But one client paid as much as $30,000 for lights in which everything from the driveway and trees to the swimming pool and statues were illuminated.

On this day, Mr. Kaminski, 47, and his team arrive at Jim and Kerry Foley’s home in North Potomac to install more than 30 lights in the front of their home, including one that will spotlight their chimney, and backyard lights.

It’s a two-day job.

Designer Lukasz Jozwiak visited the Foleys’ house at night last week to demonstrate what the lights would look like. He put out temporary lights accenting parts of the house and the landscape.

Mrs. Foley said that demonstration helped them decide to go with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives because they didn’t have to imagine what the results would look like.

In the morning, the crew positioned each light around the driveway and path to the front door based on Mr. Jozwiak’s designs. They were careful not to disrupt the Foleys’ landscaping.

Mr. Kaminski, speaking in both Polish and Spanish to his workers, directed them and helped place some of the lights around the lawn.

To get the lights to work, they all must be connected to a transformer. The connecting wires are hidden underground in tiny trenches. Even the wires that are positioned on the other side of the driveway will be connected to the transformer without any wires showing.

Instead of cutting an opening in the driveway, they dig under it.”When we leave, we want to make sure it looks like we were never here,” Mr. Kaminski said.

They use a special drill that connects to a pipe. The driveway, however, is so wide that two pipes have to be put together to drill across.

Mr. Kaminski has to go to the nearest Home Depot to buy a piece of hardware that will fasten the two pipes together. All of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives’ inventory, such as the bulbs, fixtures and transformers, are made by B&B; Manufacturing in Memphis, Tenn., but Mr. Kaminski said he often visits Home Depot to pick up some necessary, last-minute materials.

It’s a quick trip. Mr. Kaminski knew exactly where to go and what to buy and checked out within minutes.

When he returned, a patch of grass on either side of the driveway had been removed and a hole had been partly dug.

Mr. Kaminski assembled the drill, fastening the pipes with the metal piece he just bought and connected the drill to a hose. Water shot through a special device at the top of the pipe, which helps clear away dirt and rocks.

Drilling the hole was not easy. Mr. Kaminski got help from worker Jacob Bysicki. Both men pushed the drill, trying to dig deeper into the ground and farther across the driveway.

“This is not the easiest job in town,” Mr. Kaminski said. “You have to have a passion for it.”

After about 50 minutes the pipe made its way to the other side.

They removed it and Mr. Bysicki tried threading a stiff wire, used to pull the electrical wire underground, through the newly made tunnel. Mr. Kaminski, elbow deep in muddy water, helped to thread the wire in the hole until it came through the other side.

“Ahh, the things we do for love,” joked a dirty Mr. Kaminski.

Mr. Kaminski, born to Polish parents in Argentina, has been in the United States for 20 years. During that time he has always worked with some form of electronics, from selling stereos and cell phones to fixing televisions and refrigerators and doing other electrical contract work.

Mr. Kaminski and his wife, Kerri, a former flight attendant, bought the Outdoor Lighting Perspective franchise in January 2003. Mrs. Kaminski works in their home office in Gaithersburg, answering the phone, screening clients and setting up appointments.

“Andre loves doing lights and I love talking to people,” said Mrs. Kaminski, 40. “Those are our gifts.”

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