Denver, Colorado

The longstanding manufacturer of daylighting solutions is on a brilliant trajectory with marquee projects in Colorado and beyond.

Photos Jonathan Castner

Skylight manufacturer DĀLYTE has brightened up projects ranging from the Colorado State Capital and the Greenwood Village Public Works facility to the ViewHouse restaurant and the University of Denver’s engineering school.

DĀLYTE (pronounced like the word daylight) is currently working on manufacturing and installing the multicolored glass canopies over National Jewish Health’s patient pickup and drop-off area.

It also won the $1.6 million contract to manufacture and install the daylighting system in the canopies on the $360 million South Dade TransitWay Corridor project in Miami. The systems are translucent multiwall polycarbonate panels attached to the structures with DĀLYTE’s proprietary aluminum frame.

“Our industry has stayed strong,” says Travis Smith, the company’s chief financial officer. “Construction never dipped off during COVID, so we didn’t see much of a lag from that standpoint.”

Founded by Jim Donaldson in 1977 as Applied Industrial & Architectural Plastics (AiAP), DĀLYTE steadily. By 1987, it expanded into a 10,000-square-foot building at its current location and in 1998, it added another 10,000-square feet to the building. Continued growth led the company to lease a 12,000-square-foot building for fabrication.

Acquisitions fueled much of that growth, starting in 1987 with the addition of Sunlight Systems and Solar Skylights. Since then, DĀLYTE acquired Arcturus Skylights and CA Supply. In 1999, AIA Industries Inc., the architectural skylight arm of AIAP, split off as a separate entity and was incorporated as a sister company to AiAP.

In 2018, Donaldson retired and private equity firm Dry Fly Capital bought both companies as a combined entity, AiA Industries LLC, which it rebranded to DĀLYTE, an AiA Industries Company in 2019. Dry Fly sold the plastics division of the company to focus on skylights and daylighting systems.

The company’s most popular products are its Infinite Sky Structural Skylights. The modular skylight systems are designed to create unlimited varieties of skylight configurations for both residential and commercial projects. The skylights can be customized to cover vast spans and can be applied to many types of substructures.

DĀLYTE was an awarded winner for the 2021 Colorado Companies to Watch, the annual program launched in 2009 by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade that recognizes Colorado-based companies that are in their growth stage and making an impact on the economy in terms of job creation and revenue.

Challenges: Like just about any company around the world, DĀLYTE is facing supply chain challenges. It’s currently taking up to a year for the company to get the aluminum extrusions that are unique to its systems. It’s also taking as long as 12 weeks, rather than the usual four, to get the glass it uses to glaze its units. “We’re trying to keep up with price increases from our vendors,” Gill says. “It’s not as bad as lumber, but they’re 10 to 25 percent higher.”

DĀLYTE also is constantly fighting to hire and retain talented employees.

Opportunities: Under the new ownership, the potential for growth is tremendous. “In the past, it’s been a mom-and-pop company that was satisfied with the revenue they were doing and never went into other facets of the industry to broaden our product offering,” says Jarrett Gill, DĀLYTE’s vice president of sales. “Over the past two and a half years, we’ve been doing that.”

Needs: DĀLYTE would like to meet with more architects, homebuilders, commercial roofers and property managers to introduce its products to them. “We want them to understand that we are a one-stop shop for them,” Smith says.