Big Ass Solutions
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Big Ass Solutions
Big Ass Solutions
Industry Manufacturing
Founded 1999
Headquarters Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Number of locations
Area served
Key people
Lennie Rhoades, CEO
Products Industrial, commercial, agricultural, residential fans and lighting
Number of employees
Parent Delta T. Corporation[1]

Big Ass Solutions manufactures fans, lights and controls for industrial, agricultural, commercial and residential use, including the Big Ass Fans, Big Ass Light, and Haiku fan product lines. The company's headquarters are in Lexington, Kentucky, with additional offices in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Canada.


After designing a new type of cooling system for industrial spaces and warehouses with his father, Carey Smith incorporated the Delta T. Corporation in Lexington, Kentucky, to manufacture and install the systems in 1994.[2] In 1999, Smith saw an advertisement for a "high-volume, low-speed" (HVLS) ceiling fan made by a company owned by Walt Boyd in California.[2] Believing he could sell the fans to many of his existing customers, Smith signed an exclusive distribution agreement with the company in 1999.[2] He changed the name of his company to HVLS Fan Company and shifted the company's focus almost exclusively to fan sales.[2] Boyd's company secured a patent for the fans in 2002; later that year, Smith bought the intellectual property rights to the fans from Boyd.[2][3]

By 2006, Big Ass Fans had outgrown its original location and moved its headquarters to a larger facility on Merchant Street in Lexington.[4] During the Great Recession, Smith refused to lay off workers and still gave bonuses, albeit smaller than in previous years; the company augmented revenue by offering installation services for their products.[5] By 2010, the company was forced to re-occupy its Winchester Street location in addition to the Merchant Street location and its research and development facility on Lexington's Jaggie Fox Way in order to accommodate its continued growth.[6]

In 2014, the company opened a new division called Big Ass Light to sell LED fixtures. Big Ass Light and Big Ass Fans both fall under the corporate brand Big Ass Solutions. As of December 2015, the company occupied six buildings in Lexington: an 88,000-square-foot (8,200 m2) office building; a 44,000-square-foot (4,100 m2) research and development lab that is certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council; a 165,000-square-foot (15,300 m2) manufacturing facility; a 98,000-square-foot (9,100 m2) manufacturing facility; a 44,000-square-foot (4,100 m2) manufacturing facility; and a 33,000-square-foot (3,100 m2) service center.

In 2017 the company shut down its facility on Winchester Road. [7] In 2003, the 40-foot wide mural depicting Fanny, the donkey mascot of the Big Ass Fan Co., annoyed a Lexington council member so much that he wanted the Winchester Road sign outlawed. A city attorney opined that the government is limited in its power to legislate taste, and the mural stayed put on the bricks of 800 Winchester Road, even after Big Ass Fans, now Big Ass Solutions, moved to another building. The building was the headquarters for Big Ass Fans from 2003 to 2006, according to Big Ass Solutions spokesman Scott Sloan, and it had been vacant for "a number of years leading up to its sale." Since 2006, the company has used two other Lexington buildings, with the current company headquarters located on Innovation Drive.

In 2017, Smith sold the company to private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg[8]. In February 2018, Lennie Rhoades, a senior vice president at JELD-WEN, became CEO.[9]

Business Model

Big Ass Fans sells its products directly to customers.[10] Since the Great Recession of the late 2000s, Big Ass Fans has averaged 30% annual growth,[11] with revenues climbing from $34 million in 2009 to $240 million in 2016.[12] Part of that growth is attributed to the higher-than-average salaries the company pays its employees, which are 30% more than the U.S. median of $45,790 and 50% more than the Kentucky median of $38,940.[13] The company has been named to the Inc. 5000[14] list of the fastest-growing private companies 11 consecutive times from 2007 to 2017. [15]


In 2000, the company then known as HVLS Fan Company initiated a marketing campaign with mailers depicting the rear of a donkey, a fan with a 20-foot (6.1 m) blade span, and the caption "Big Ass Fan".[16] Although some postmasters in Georgia, Mississippi, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, California and Louisville returned the cards to HVLS as inappropriate, the campaign generated interest in the product.[16] After numerous customers called the company asking if it made "those big-ass fans", Smith changed the company name to Big Ass Fans.[17] Fanny, the donkey used in the ad campaign, became the company's mascot, and Smith changed his job title to "Chief Big Ass".[17] The company's web site sells promotional merchandise with the company name and logo; profits benefit Colorado's Longhopes Donkey Rescue Shelter.[18]

When the company relocated to Lexington's Winchester Road, residents staged protests of a 10-foot (3 m) mural depicting the company's name and mascot on the side of its building.[19] Because of the name, Lexington's Blue Grass Airport declined to display advertising from the company in its baggage claim area.[20] The airport later relented and hung a Big Ass Fan and a plaque near the security checkpoint. The Big Ass Fans Facebook page includes a gallery of letters complaining about the company's name, and in 2012, it began a YouTube channel featuring customer voicemail complaints styled as music videos.[21] For schools and religious institutions, however, the company maintains an advertising package that does not include the company name alongside the famous logo.[21]

Awards and recognition

Example of industrial fan: Powerfoil X2.0 Plus
Example of residential fan: Haiku
Big Ass Fans employees accepting the 2012 Best Places to Work in Kentucky award

In 2016

  • EPA honors Big Ass Solutions with 2016 ENERGY STAR® AWARD for Excellence in Energy-Efficient Product Design[22]
  • 2016 Top Green Providers[23]
  • World Architecture News honored Haiku with SenseME with a Product Innovation Award.[24]

In 2012

  • Popular Science Best of What's New for Haiku[25]


  1. ^ This is the legal name per the Terms of Use
  2. ^ a b c d e Dooley, Karla (August 13, 2002). "Business is a Breeze". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  3. ^ Pullen, John Patrick (August 19, 2015). "How This Fan Company Is Proving It Has More Than Just a Good Name". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 2016. 
  4. ^ Sloan, Scott (October 26, 2007). "Local fan maker's campus to double in size". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  5. ^ Sloan, Scott (June 3, 2012). "Bucking the trend comes naturally to 'Chief Big Ass'". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  6. ^ Sloan, Scott (August 12, 2010). "Too Big for its Niches". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Staff, WKYT News. "Sale of Lexington-based "Big Ass Solutions" is official". Retrieved . 
  9. ^ "Working at Big Ass Fans". Glassdoor. Retrieved . 
  10. ^ "Big asspirations". The Economist. Retrieved . 
  11. ^ Strauss, Karsten. "'Big Ass Fans' Getting Bigger". Forbes. Retrieved . 
  12. ^ Goodman, Peter S. (2017-08-15). "One U.S. Factory Goes Global, While Trump Shrinks the World". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved . 
  13. ^ Fisher, Anne. "Why Big Ass Fans pays 30% above national average". CNNMoney. Retrieved . 
  14. ^ "Inc. (magazine)". Wikipedia. 2018-02-23. 
  15. ^ "Spread the Word: Big Ass Solutions Is No. 3096 on the Inc. 5000 This Year!". Retrieved . 
  16. ^ a b Jordan, Jim (July 10, 2000). "Postmasters Butt in Over Fan Firm's Cards". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  17. ^ a b "The Economist, April 1, 2014: Big Asspirations". Retrieved 2015. 
  18. ^ Jordan, Jim (November 27, 2006). "Fun with Fans". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  19. ^ "Reliable Plant", April 20, 2014: Big Ass Fans Moves Into New Facility". Retrieved 2015. 
  20. ^ "Lexington Herald-Leader", January 18, 2010: Big Ass Fans Comes to Airport". Retrieved 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Truman, Cheryl (September 5, 2012). "Fanny mail: Complaints find way into video". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  22. ^ "EPA honors Big Ass Solutions with 2016 ENERGY STAR® AWARD for Excellence in Energy-Efficient Product Design >> Big Ass Fans". 
  23. ^ "2016 Top Green Providers >> Big Ass Fans". 
  24. ^ "World Architecture News Honors Haiku with SenseME » Big Ass Fans". World Architecture News Honors Haiku with SenseME » Big Ass Fans. Retrieved 2015. 
  25. ^ "Popular Science", 19 January, 2012: Best of What's New". Retrieved 2015. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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