The Coastal Source product launch of late February likely will be remembered as one of 2024’s most ambitious. Overhead, inside the Kennedy Space Center near Cape Canaveral, a 363-foot-long, Saturn V rocket stretched its three stages out lengthwise. Below were exhibits demonstrating how technicians designed, built and launched 13 of these behemoths from 1967 to 1973, most bound for the moon.

But on this February evening, the eyes of more than 200 Coastal Source employees, dealers, clients, and the press were riveted not on the rocket above, but on another stage before them, manned by mere mortals. Coastal Source President Jeff Poggi and CEO Franco D’Ascanio were introducing two new outdoor product lines – one for high-end lighting and another for state-of-the art sound.

Coastal Source’s roots reach back to 2009 when two minds merged. “It was founded by Franco D’Ascanio and Harold Zimmermann,” Poggi says. “They came together because they couldn’t find products on the market to stand the harsh environment of the outdoors.”

D’Ascanio was engaged in his family’s design/build firm based in Marathon, Florida. He’d built a home for Zimmermann and his wife, but a year later its outdoor lighting components were degrading. “Franco went to the manufacturer, who said, ‘Sorry – it’s too close to the coast,’” Poggi says.

Frustrated, he developed a white paper on outdoor lighting durability. He shared it with Zimmermann, they shook hands, and Coastal Source was born. “They had the manufacturing experience, logistics and internet software we needed,” D’Ascanio says.

Now he’s engaged in R&D. And he’s effective: In 15 years, Coastal Source has provided lighting and sound systems to about 2,000 private projects across the nation. Durability remains his main driver. “The question is, ‘What does it take to maintain a product for decades?’” he says.

Case in point: The company’s new 1000 series of loudspeakers outperforms everything the it’s produced in eight years. It embraces the next generation of bollards with new cabinet design, acoustic suspension, and casing. “It’s going from closure with an opening to no opening, so there’s no point of ingress below grade,” says Peter Sepesi, director of sales.

For sound quality, clients can create their own speaker. “Think of Legos – you can get both a dispersion pattern and the low frequency output you want,” he says. “You can go from background or entertaining music to digital, multi-channel, outdoor surround sound.”

And clients have options. For a 60-foot-by-40-foot infinity pool, Sepesi sees two ways to provide sound. One is to bury a number of small speakers in the landscape. Another is to place two large speakers at the pool’s far edge. “Some people might not mind the larger, and some might want the smaller – it’s client-dependent,” he says.

For EVO, the company’s new lighting series, Coastal Source designed a new miniaturized LED module with a capability far beyond a larger fixture. “Advancements in technology and thoughtfulness mean bigger output in a smaller device,” Sepesi says.

EVO’s attractive too, a response from architects and interior designers who noted that if it’s visible in the environment, why not make it beautiful? So it’s 100% brass, designed to develop a patina over time.

The fixtures can be hidden in the landscape so the lighting’s impact can be seen, but not its source. For path lighting, EVO offers decorative options. “We make them quiet and elegant, with perforating revolving lines and angles,” D’Ascanio says.

Sure, it took 400,000 technicians to build and launch those Saturn V rockets decades ago. And they were nothing if not ambitious. But now Coastal Source is proving their can-do spirit is alive, well and flourishing today.